Dover UCC leads interfaith study of Abraham

At a moment when the world is asking, “Can the religions get along?” one figure stands out as the shared ancestor of Jews, Christians and Muslims. One man holds the key to our deepest fears – and our possible reconciliation. Abraham.

Beginning on Feb. 21, three faith traditions will convene to discuss Abraham, the man at the heart of the world’s three monotheistic religions. Members of Beth Israel – The West Temple, Dover Congregational United Church of Christ, and The Islamic Center of Cleveland will meet on four consecutive Sunday evenings to learn what each sacred text says about Abraham and his role in their faith understanding.

“We’ve been thinking seriously about what ecumenism means in our world and how we might be a part of finding a common core of reconciliation,” says R. Keith Stuart, senior minister at Dover UCC. “Our minister of justice, John Rinehart, has done all the background work to make this happen. He arranged our first meeting with Rabbi Enid Lader from Beth Israel – The West Temple and Julia Shearson, executive director of The Council on American Islamic-Relations. We’ve made new friends and we all agreed that our shared study would be a great first step.”
On Feb. 21, the three faith traditions will meet at Dover Congregational UCC (2239 Dover Center Road, Westlake) at 6 p.m. for a light supper, followed by an overview of Bruce Feiler’s book, "Abraham." Rabbi Enid Lader, Shaykh Musa Sugapong and Rev. Keith Stuart will serve as conveners.

“We thought it was important for participants to get a sense of what we hope to accomplish at our first meeting,” says Stuart. “People will be introduced to concepts and issues that they may not be familiar with. We are conscious of the misconceptions that pervade our religious landscape and want to provide a safe place where people can share.”

After the first meeting, there will be an opportunity to continue with a more extensive look into how Abraham has shaped all three traditions. Those interested are asked to read Feiler’s book and bring their questions to each additional meeting. Each session will begin at 7 p.m.

On Feb. 28, Rabbi Lader will offer a Jewish response to Abraham at Beth Israel – The West Temple, located at 14308 Triskett Road, Cleveland. Rev. Jim Edwards will share the Christian response on March 6 at Dover Congregational United Church of Christ. The last session will be held at the Islamic Center of Cleveland, located at 6055 West 130th St., Parma. Shaykh Musa Sugapong will lead the session.

The public is invited at no charge. For additional information, please contact Keith Stuart at 440-871-1050 or

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Volume 8, Issue 4, Posted 9:32 AM, 02.16.2016