By Carol Kyber, VTS with additional reporting by ACNS staff
More than 60 Christian and Muslim faith leaders from Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, the United States and Tanzania met in Dodoma June 23 - 27 to explore the theme "Understanding ourselves, our faiths, our world".
The culmination of the four-day conference - facilitated by the Revd Chris Ahrends, diocesan missioner of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa' Saldanha Bay Diocese - was The Dodoma Statement 2014. This document is an historic affirmation of the shared humanity between those who resolve to promote peace and strengthen their commitment to reconciliation.
The statement begins: "We are Muslim and Christian faith leaders, scholars, inter-religious workers and peace-builders. Together as descendants of Abraham we believe in one creator God who has called us to be caretakers of creation, to work for the common good and to promote and practice peace."
The conference was co-hosted by The Center for Anglican Communion Studies (CACS) at Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) and Msalato Theological College, and generously funded by the Luce Foundation.
Participants were welcomed on the first day by Primate of the Anglican Church of Tanzania Archbishop Jacob Chimeledya (VTS ‘03) and by Sheikh Mustapha, Regional Sheikh of the Dodoma Region. Both men were enthusiastic about the potential of this gathering to achieve mutual respect and unconditional compassion between the faiths.
"It is my wish that this conference becomes a vehicle for us as religious leaders to lead us to a deeper understanding of one another," said Archbishop Chimeledya. "So that, as we leave here, we can share the truth with our fellow believers."
Sheikh Mustapha added: "God made humankind so that we may know one another, instead of despising one another."
CACS Director, Dr Robert Heaney said, "I have been struck by the incredible wisdom, experience and expertise present at this conference. We must continue to connect and learn from World Anglicanism and the neighbours of Anglicans throughout the world. We have much to learn from our brothers and sisters living as believers in religiously, culturally, historically and linguistically pluralist contexts."
Created in 1998, The Center for Anglican Communion Studies at VTS seeks to bring community to the Anglican Communion through resourcing congregational community, academic community and cross-cultural community. The Dodoma Statement 2014 is the first such statement issued by Virginia Theological Seminary.
See photos from the event here
TAMKO LA DODOMA (2014) THE DODOMA STATEMENT (2014)
Mwaka 2014 katika kongamano la Waislamu na Wakristo lililodhaminiwa na Center for Anglican Communion Studies (Virginia Theological Seminary) na Msalato Theological College (Tanzania) na kukarimiwa na Luce Foundation lililowaleta pamoja viongozi wa dini kutoka Kenya, Malawi , Afrika kusini, Tanzania na Marekani. Tamko la Dodoma (2014) ni maazimio ya pamoja yatokanayo na mijadala na makubaliano ya washiriki wa kongamano.
The 2014 Dodoma Muslim-Christian Conference hosted by The Center for Anglican Communion Studies (Virginia Theological Seminary) and Msalato Theological College (Tanzania) and funded by a generous grant from the Luce Foundation brought together religious leaders from Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania and the United States of America. The Dodoma Statement (2014) is a shared statement of intent reflecting the work done at the conference and the ongoing commitments made by the participants.
Sisi viongozi wa dini Waislamu na Wakristo, wanazuoni, watumishi viongozi katika mahusiano ya dini na imani mbalimbali na wajenzi wa Amani: Kwa pamoja kama uzao wa Ibrahim tunaamini uwepo wa Mungu mmoja ambaye ametuita kusimamia, kutunza viumbe na kufanya kazi kwa maslahi ya pamoja na kueneza na kuiishi Amani.
We are Muslim and Christian religious leaders, scholars, inter-‐religious workers and peace-‐ builders. Together, as descendants of Abraham, we believe in one creator God who has called us to be caretakers of creation, to work for the common good and to promote and practice peace.
Tumekutana kwa siku nne (Juni 23 – 26) kufikiri kwa pamoja na kujenga uelewa wa kina, kujitambua sisi wenyewe, imani na dini zetu na ulimwengu kwa ujumla. Katika kukaa pamoja tumepata nafasi ya kushauriana na kutanabahishana na kusimuliana juu ya imani zetu kama wawakilishi wa jumuia zetu za dini. Tumeshirikishana kwa kina katika mambo mbalimbali kuhusiana na changamoto zinazoikabili jamii kwa kuzingatia mapokeo na mafundisho ya dini zetu.
We have met for four days (June 23-‐26) seeking a deeper understanding of ourselves, our faith in God and our world. In meeting together we have listened to each other, represented our faith communities to one another and declared our trust in God. We have engaged in deep conversations drawing on our religious heritages towards resourcing the common challenges we face.
Kwa pamoja tunakabiliana na changamoto nyingi kama vile elimu duni, umasikini na ubinafsi, ulimbikizaji wa mali, uharibifu wa mazingira, ufisadi na rushwa, kutoaminiana, kuogopana na kuwa na hofu, mafundisho ya dini yasiyo sahihi, misimamo mikali ya kidini, fujo, vurugu na ugaidi.
Together we face the ongoing challenges of the lack of sufficient educational provision and relevant syllabi; atheism and aggressive secularism; poverty and materialism; environmental degradation; corruption and mistrust; misrepresentation of faith and Holy Scriptures; false teaching and religious extremism; incitement of religious hatred for political ends; violence and terrorism.
Kwa pamoja tunapinga yote yale yanayodhalilisha jamii zetu. Kwa msaada wa Mungu tunadhamiria kuendeleza mijadala, kuanzisha na kuimarisha mitandao ya mahusiano ya dini mbalimbali katika ngazi za kijamii, kitaifa na kimataifa. Tunadhamiria kufanya haya yote kwa lengo la kuimarisha mahusiano, kukuza maelewano na kujenga amani na utulivu katika jamii zetu. Kushawishi maadili katika uandishi, uchapishaji na uenezaji wa habari zinazohusu dini, kukemea matumizi mabaya ya vyombo vya habari na lugha za uchochezi wa ubaguzi wa kidini. Tunaazimia kutumia theolojia, weledi, nafasi zetu, uzoefu, mahusiano na mitandao yetu ili kueneza na kuimarisha mahusiano mema ya kidini na ujenzi wa Amani. Together we reject all that dehumanizes our communities.
With the help of God we commit ourselves to continuous dialogue; to develop and strengthen local and international networks for mutual understanding and mutual resourcing; to advocate for ethical and responsible journalism on the reporting of religious matters; to speak out against inflammatory preaching or the misrepresentation of another faith and to co-‐ordinate our efforts for peace. We commit ourselves to using our theology, expertise, positions, experience, relationships and networks to publicly promote and practice ongoing inter-‐ religious dialogue and peace.