In April last year, an interfaith seminar was organized at the Ecumenical Institute Bossey, outside of Geneva. The theme of the workshop was a question: "What difference does religious plurality make?" The point of departure for the workshop was to allow perspectives to blend, opening up for a multifaith and multi-disciplinary way of looking at religious plurality.
The workshop counted among its participants, sociologists, artists, liturgists, ethicists, biblical scholars, missiologists, and historians of religion, to mention but a few of the professions or perspectives present. Although Christians were in the majority, the workshop benefited from the presence and participation of some friends of other faiths, all of them engaged in how the question of religious plurality is interpreted in their own tradition. The discussions were enriched by these perspectives and even more so through the "modus operandi" of the workshop. The participants were asked to share between themselves, in good time before the workshop, some of their thinking in relation to the question posed. We publish here their contributions. As you will see they go in many directions and address the topic in many different ways. Together they form a mosaic of how to look upon the religious plurality in which we live.
On 14-16 October 1999, Muslims and Christian from 15 countries met in Hartford, Connecticut, to discuss religious freedom, community rights and individual rights, all from a Christian-Muslim perspective. The report from this encounter is shared with you in this issue of Current Dialogue. The idea of establishing a permanent Christian-Muslim Forum on Human Rights, Religious Freedom and problems arising out of Mission/Da'wa, gained momentum. The participants in the consultation, as well as another forty of more persons, who have participated in previous meetings of the study and dialogue process, see themselves as constituents of such forum, even if there are obstacles which need to be lifted before it can be formally established.
Finally in this issue of Current Dialogue, a report from a consultation on anti-Semitism in church and society, held in Warsaw 16-19 October. This consultation brought together representatives of churches and theological institutions in the Baltic area for a first and tentative discussion on the re-emergence of anti-Semitism in society. The intention was to have a first and tentative deliberation on how to go from official church documents and statements on anti-Semitism to their practical implementation within churches and within the societies, in which the churches live and witness. The consultation was done in co-operation with the ecumenical network Theobalt, which brings together Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox churches in the Baltic area region for common reflection and sharing of experiences regarding their role in society.
Hans Ucko, Editor
Inside this issue of Current Dialogue . . .