A Center of Christian Muslim Engagement (CCME) was founded in 2006 as a result of a generous gift that also established the Harold S. Vogelaar Chair of Christian-Muslim Studies and Interfaith Relations. The Center and the Chair make it possible for seminary students and other religious leaders to strive to understand Islam in its breadth and depth, our Muslim neighbors in their rich diversity, and the history of relations between our faith communities. (News Release and Epistle article about Inauguration event)
The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) has been chosen for this unique interfaith exchange because of its excellent faculty, its diverse urban setting and the resources available through LSTC's relationship with the Hyde Park Cluster Seminaries and the University of Chicago.
For many years LSTC has utilized Chicago's many cultures and various faiths to teach students how to witness to God's love in Jesus Christ while striving to understand and respect the faiths of Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and neighbors of other faith traditions. The seminary has long been teaching courses on Jewish contributions to Christian thought, and since 1991 has offered courses on Islam and Christian-Muslim relations, beginning with team taught courses by Dr. Harold S. Vogelaar (Epistle article) and Dr. Ghulam Haider-Aasi.
In recent years, a number of Muslims (from the USA, Thailand, Indonesia, and Turkey) have come to LSTC to earn degrees.
LSTC is a seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) located in the Hyde Park area of Chicago. Through its several degree programs (M.A.T.S., M.A.M., M.Div., Th.M., D.Min. and Ph.D.), it trains leaders who serve in the ELCA and other churches around the world, and scholars who teach in a variety of academic institutions.