Behind the Scenes of the Interfaith Engagement Video
The song, “Harmony,” was composed by DeScribe to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Crown Heights riots, as part of his mission to promote love, respect, and unity in the world. Visit www.describenation.com and get a free album download!
Models of Engaged Religious Leadership
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were friends and partners in bold efforts to advance civil rights and to protest the Vietnam War. Here they lead a march together though Arlington National Cemetery in 1967. They both adorn our “river of justice” in the front foyer. Dr. King also received his first seminary honorary degree from CTS in 1957.
Marching for Justice
A number of students and faculty from CTS were involved in marches for justice following the killing of Trayvon Martin. Here one of our students speaks to the crowd in downtown Chicago.
Interfaith Worker Justice
In fighting for workers’ rights at the Hyatt, members of the CTS community led the way for the Academy of American Religion to withdraw from its contract with the hotel chain and any others that have labor actions against them. Hyatt subsequently settled the long-standing dispute with its housekeeping staff.
Passover Seder for the Children of Abraham, Sarah, & Hagar
Every other year, CTS hosts an interfaith seder with Mishkan, a Jewish renewal congregation, and the Hyde Park Muslim Family Circle. We are “on” for April 17, 2014 if you want to join us!
Holi - Sharing Our Religious Traditions
Holi is a Hindu spring festival of colors, shared with us by a few students who grew up with the tradition in India.
Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN)
Sheikh Muhammed Imam with Rami Nashashibi, Executive Director of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), and other religious leaders as part of the Multifaith Housing Reclamation Campaign to address abusive housing practices in low income communities. IMAN is a community-based organization that fosters wellness in the inner-city through the arts, a holistic health clinic and work for social change. It is a wonderful partner for the work we do at CTS: www.imancentral.org
Gleaning During Sukkot
In celebration of the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot, we partner with a local synagogue to glean in nearby community gardens and contribute the fresh produce to neighborhood soup kitchens and shelters.
The Center for Jewish, Christian, & Islamic Studies
The CTS Center for Jewish, Christian and Islamic Studies (JCIS) is a dynamic engine for interfaith studies and engagement. It supports lectures, symposia, holy day celebrations, worship, workshops, and social justice collaboration among the “peoples of the book.” The logo symbolizes our deep roots in these religious traditions, while also nurturing fresh ways of engaging them as they blossom in a new age.
Chicago - An ECOmmunity
Chicago is a vital center for creative religious exploration, including ground-breaking community organizing and interfaith efforts.
Theological - We're Not Radical, We're Just Early
CTS has been a pioneer in theological education since its establishment in 1885. CTS recognizes that theology is not just ‘talk’, but also action. Affiliated with the United Church of Christ, CTS strives to teach and embody the prophetic traditions within Christianity, Judaism, and Islam through honest engagement with the text and socially conscious interpretation.
Seminary - Sustainability
Our building is a LEED-certified “gold” standard building, just one part of our ongoing commitments to sustainability.
Community Service - The Night Ministry
The Night Ministry is a Chicago-based organization that works to provide housing, health care, and human connection to members of our community struggling with poverty or homelessness. A number of our students participate in their volunteer services, reaching out to adults, teens, LGBTQ individuals, as well as pregnant women on the street and new moms who have no where else to go: www.thenightministry.org
During Ramadan, IMAN’s ‘Refresh the Hood’ Challenge seeks to raise awareness and confront issues around food access in Chicago’s urban communities. This year, IMAN partnered with the Lupe Fiasco Foundation, Soul Vegan, and Al Bawadi to bring subsidized fresh produce to local corner stores. Here, Brother Zarakyah, a Hebrew Israelite from Soul Vegan, serves a nutritious vegan meal to community members at the kick-off event.
Every year, our Heyward-Boswell Society (a student-led organization) participates and walks in Chicago’s annual Pride Parade. Here, the CTS President, Alice Hunt, joins the march. Advocating for and supporting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community is a proud and vibrant tradition at CTS.
Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA)
The Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA) is a quintessential Chicago organization, working with many partners on a range of challenging issues – immigration reform, Muslim-Jewish relations, anti-racism, anti-poverty, etc. Students can arrange field placement with JCUA, or simply participate in their important efforts: www.jcua.org
Global Scholarship - Dr. Ingrid Mattson
Dr. Ingrid Mattson was awarded an honorary degree from CTS in 2012. She delivered a seminal address on Islamic ethics, “Protecting Natural Goodness (fitra): The Collective Obligation.” Recently appointed to an endowed chair in Islamic Studies at Huron University College in Ontario, she has also served as President of the Islamic Society of North America.
Women in Traditional Religion
Jenan Mohajir, Sister Jamie Phelps, and Rachel Finegold joined us for a lively and honest discussion about their experiences as leaders and teachers in relatively traditional Muslim, Catholic, and Jewish communities where the role of women is still very much a contested issue.
CTS Alumni: Leaders for the Next
Dr. Otis Moss, III is a senior minister at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. A renowned Christian activist and prophetic preacher, Moss recently earned his Doctor of Ministry at CTS.
World-class Visiting Faculty
Dr. Umar Abd-Allah is one of the foremost scholars of Islam in the United States today, with both classical religious training and a doctorate from the University of Chicago. Our community has opportunities to learn from him and other exceptional voices in religion today.
Social Activism: Occupy Wall Street
A number of current and former CTS students are engaged in social activism throughout the city of Chicago. Here, our students participate in protesting the injustice of so much wealth and power concentrated in the "1%."
Gimme Shelter I
IMAN, in partnership with the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (JCUA) and the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) is sowing the seeds of a dynamic housing and community development initiative on Chicago’s southwest side, restoring homes that have fallen into foreclosure and been abandoned.
Gimme Shelter II
Our geodesic dome sukkah, built together during the autumn festival of Sukkot, represents a different kind of shelter: temporary, open to the world around us. We gather for meals, study and conversation as we celebrate the themes of gratitude, harvest, hospitality, this beautiful blue planet and its blessings.
While we care deeply about social transformation, we do not neglect the spiritual richness of our traditions. Both separately and together, we nurture lives of prayer and reflection, deepening our relationship with the Most High and with each other, and helping to shape, inform and inspire our work in the world.
Intersections-Race, Class, Gender, Sexuality, & Religion
Our students organized a city-wide student and faculty symposium looking at the ways in which constructs of race, class, gender, sexuality and religion impact, inform, confuse and contribute to each other.
Study Tour in Israel & Palestine
Every other year, we have a two-week intensive study journey in Israel and Palestine, learning about the layered history that lies under every stone, and also meeting partners who work on a range of issues of concern to our community: peaceful coexistence, gender justice, sustainability, LGBTQ rights, etc. Students describe it as one of the most significant experiences of their seminary education.
Leadership Through the Generations & Leaders for the Next
Our faculty, students and honorary degree recipients have been leaders in social transformation through history. We believe the individuals who make up the CTS community in this generation will do the same, so the "historical" windows move to reveal these leaders of the future. Here's the scoop on the older photos:
- Rev. Jesse Jackson, now a well-known civil rights leader, is a CTS alum. He and other CTS students integrated a Selma lunch table in 1965 when they went down to march with Dr. King and the assembly of civil rights leaders.
- Jane Addams worked with CTS faculty member, Graham Taylor, in founding Chicago Commons, a ground-breaking settlement house as part of the “social gospel” movement. Taylor was also instrumental in establishing one of the first graduate programs in social work at the University of Chicago.
- Rev. Abraham Akaka is a CTS alum who felt “called” when encountering WWII in Europe. He helped lead Hawaii through tumultuous times, including its unique civil rights struggles and its journey to statehood.