The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago board of directors appointed the Rev. Dr. Michael T. Shelley as director of A Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice (CCME). The Rev. Dr. Mark N. Swanson was appointed associate director of CCME. Both are appointed to five-year renewable terms which begin July 1, 2007.
From 1979 - 2003, Dr. Shelley and his wife, Joanne, were missionaries in Cairo, Egypt. There Shelley served as pastor of two congregations and for the last five years in Egypt was director of graduate studies and taught church history and Christian-Muslim relations at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo. He has also taught at the Dar Comboni Center for Arabic and Islamic Studies, Cairo; the Centre for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, Selly Oak Colleges, Birmingham, England; and Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota. He earned an M.Div. at Trinity Lutheran Seminary, a Th.M. from LSTC, and a Ph.D. in Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations from the University of Birmingham, England. Shelley succeeds Dr. Harold S. Vogelaar, the first director of CCME.
Shelley has also been appointed associate director for advanced studies at LSTC. He will continue to oversee the doctor of ministry programs for the seminary, which he has done as director of the D.Min. program since 2004. Shelley is also visiting professor of Christian-Muslim relations at LSTC.
The Rev. Dr. Mark N. Swanson joined LSTC's faculty in July 2006 as the first Harold S. Vogelaar Professor of Christian-Muslim Studies and Interfaith Relations. Swanson holds a doctorate from the Pontifical Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies in Rome. He earned the master of arts degree in religious studies (Islamic studies) from the Hartford Seminary in Connecticut and the master of divinity degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. From 1984 - 1998, Swanson taught Greek, New Testament exegesis, and Arabic Christian theology at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo, Egypt. He joined the faculty of Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn. in 1998, where he was director of the Islamic Studies Program. With his spouse, the Rev. Rosanne Swanson, he has served parishes in Cairo, Egypt and Rome, Italy.
A Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice at LSTC, inaugurated in September 2006, provides cultural and educational opportunities in which Christians, Muslims and people of other faiths come together for mutual enrichment, understanding, healing and wholeness. It is the outgrowth of LSTC building relationships with the Muslim community in Chicago for over two decades.
CCME's inaugural conference, "Christians and Muslims Together: Owning Our Pasts - Visioning the Future" featured scholars of both faiths and attracted clergy, scholars and lay people to participate in workshops and attend lectures. Other 2006-07 CCME events included lectures, dialogue among leaders of various faiths (Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist), and the second annual Scriptural study among Christian, Muslim and Jewish scholars.
The Rev. Dr. Kathleen D.Billman
Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs
The Lutheran School of Theology (LSTC) is dedicated to bearing witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. Based in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, it is the leading urban Lutheran seminary training students for purposeful vocations in the global community. Aligned with its Lutheran heritage and built on a foundation of intellectual rigor, LSTC’s innovative, nationally recognized curriculum gives students skills for visionary Christian leadership in the public sphere.