October 13th, 10 AM – 4 PM
Texas State Capitol Building, 1100 Congress Avenue, Austin, TX 78701
Register here. It’s free to attend. Scholarships may be available for travel costs.
Our interfaith networking meeting is only two weeks away. Habitat is determined to revisit the organization’s roots as a vibrant, effective, global Christian organization as we approach our 40th anniversary next year. Being committed to put God’s love into action is part of our mission. Habitat is an all-inclusive organization who understands how other faith traditions have a common call to care about the poor and provide safe, decent housing for all. We are committed to be a global leader toward religious faiths working together toward ending poverty in the world.
On October 13th, Habitat affiliates and other representative will gather together to discuss how to integrate diverse faiths into Habitat’s work. Representatives from Habitat for Humanity International will present on the Argosy Interfaith Initiative. Brenda Shuttlesworth, Executive Director of Waco Habitat, will present on their interfaith work.
We are delighted to introduce you to our final panelists:
Dr. Célestin Musekura is the President and Founder of African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries (ALARM, Inc.). He is an ordained Baptist minister who was born and raised in Rwanda. He received a Bachelor of Theology at Kenya Highlands Evangelical University in Kenya, a Master of Divinity at the Africa International University, formerly Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology in Kenya, a Master of Sacred Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary, a Master of Science in Justice Administration and Leadership at the University of Texas at Dallas, and a Ph.D. in theological studies at Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas. His doctoral research is on Contemporary Models of Forgiveness. His pastoral and Christian leadership ministries include six years of pastoring in Rwanda and serving in administration with the Association des Eglises Baptistes du Rwanda. He served on the international and continental level as the Africa Regional Director for MAP International, the Director for MAP-Reconciliation Ministries, and the Associate Director for SIM-Urban Ministries Support Group. He co-founded the Sudan Evangelical Alliance to help the persecuted churches in the southern Sudan to stand united in their suffering and in their outreach to their nation. Célestin has served as an Adjunct Professor of Systematic Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary and Criswell College in Dallas, Texas. He is an international speaker and author. We look forward to his cross-cultural approach to interfaith on our panel.
Dr. Güner Arslan, co-founder of the Institute for Interfaith Dialogue and board member at the Interfaith Action of Central Texas, is a Systems Design Engineer at NXP Semiconductor based in Austin, Texas.He joined the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in 2005. He received his Ph.D. from the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin in 2000. His MS (1998) degree in Electronics Engineering is from Yildiz Technichal Univeristy, Istanbul, Turkey and his BS (1994) degree is from Yildiz University, Kocaeli, Turkey. Dr. Arslan is a member of IEEE Signal Processing and Communications Societies. Hosting Dr. Arslan is a privilege and his perspective will surely lead to interesting discussion.
Neil Blumofe is the Senior Rabbi of Congregation Agudas Achim in Austin, Texas. He holds Rabbinic Ordinations from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York and the Academy for Jewish Religion in Los Angeles. Rabbi Blumofe also holds the diploma
of Hazzan (Vocal Cantorial Arts) from JTS. His academic interests include researching reactions and responses to post‐modernism and exploration of the writings of SY Agnon and their importance in revealing a sustainable Judaism in the 21st century. In these investigations, questions of worship, ritual performance and spiritual leadership are paramount. Blumofe is on faculty at St. Edwards University in Austin and is a jazz composer and a recording musician. In addition, Neil is active in social justice work in Austin; serving on the Executive Committee of the Texas Freedom Network and the Advisory Board of the NPR affiliate radio station in Austin, KUT. Rabbi Blumofe is on the Board of Directors for the Interfaith Action of Central Texas. His experience with interfaith dialogue, service, and fellowship will contribute to a well-rounded, active panel.
Dr. Whit Bodman is a 1977 MDiv graduate of Duke Divinity School. He was ordained in the United Church of Christ. He pastored churches in Massachusetts for twelve years before returning to graduate school. During his ministry and schooling he has been involved in various interfaith organizations including the Interfaith Relations Commission of the National Council of Churches and the Massachusetts Conference of Churches’ Jewish-Christian and Muslim-Christian dialogues. His current research focuses on the Qur’an, modern Islam in the Middle East, and political theology. He is currently president of Texas Impact and on the board of the related Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy. He was a board member of the Texas Conference of Churches until its demise in 2013. He is currently active in Interfaith Action (iACT) and Austin Interfaith and the NCC Jewish-Christian Dialogue and Local and Regional Ecumenism Committee. Dr. Bodman’s expertise on comparative religious studies will provide for unique take on interfaith relations regarding Habitat.
We look forward to a picnic on the Capitol’s lawn, understanding how to engage diverse faiths with Habitat’s work, and setting goals to further develop on-going interfaith work across Texas.