WCC to co-organise Buddhist-Christian conference

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File photo of Christian-Buddhist Colloqium 2015

WCC to co-organise Buddhist-Christian conference

oikoumene.org

The World Council of Churches (WCC) will partner in organising the 13th annual conference of the European Network of Buddhist-Christian Studies to commemorate the birth centenary of Lynn A De Silva, a pioneering figure in Christian-Buddhist dialogue.

The conference, which is considered one of the most high-profile international conferences on crucial issues within Buddhist-Christian encounter, will take place at the Arch Abbey of St Ottilien, near Munich, Germany from 27 June– 1 July.

De Silva (1919-1982), a Methodist minister from Sri Lanka, was for many years director of the Centre for Religion and Society, Colombo, and a key member of the working group of the WCC Subunit on Dialogue with People of Living Faiths and Ideologies, as the WCC’s office of Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation was then called.

The theme of the conference will be “Buddhist-Christian Encounter: A Visionary Approach”. In her welcome letter, Prof. Elizabeth Harris, president of the European Network of Buddhist-Christian Studies, writes, “The theme of the conference concerns our vision for Buddhist-Christian encounter. The topics that will be addressed by invited speakers are inspired by the work of Rev. Dr Lynn A. de Silva, Sri Lankan Methodist minister, Pāli scholar, artist, philosopher, theologian, and pioneer of Buddhist-Christian dialogue, at the centenary of his birth.”

According to Harris, speakers at the conference “will combine an examination of De Silva’s work with a visionary approach that will look to the future of Buddhist-Christian encounter, and its recent achievements.”

Speaking of the forthcoming conference, Rev. Dr Peniel Rajkumar, programme coordinator of the WCC’s office of Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation, said, “The forthcoming annual conference of the European Network of Buddhist Christian Studies will be an appropriate event to celebrate and commemorate the birth centenary of Rev. Dr Lynn De Silva. De Silva meant much for the World Council of Churches. His compelling theological interventions during the Nairobi assembly of the WCC in 1975, when dialogue proved to be a contentious topic, altered the course of the WCC’s engagement in Interreligious dialogue.”

Though academic in focus, the conference is open to all those who are committed to building understanding between Buddhists and Christians. Past conferences have drawn many participants from outside academia.

Sat, 02/09/2019 - 14:59
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