Our ‘Understanding Islam’ course is running again from October, and is open to anyone with an interest in learning to engage well with their Muslim neighbours; both in building genuine relationships, and in learning how to effectively contextualise the good news of Jesus. In this blog article, Kristina, a student last year, shares her experiences of the course:

 

Over the last year I have taken part in a course called Understanding Islam. It has been a privilege to learn and be educated by a great team of diverse speakers, both from Muslim and non-Muslim backgrounds, and including ordinary, everyday people like myself sharing their faith and life experiences. We have also heard from and spent time with a local Imam and others in leadership roles. Our non-Muslim speakers have been a variety of people who have worked closely with Muslim communities both here in the U.K and/or overseas and around the world. Each session has been beneficial to me in a unique way and I feel it has equipped me to love and build better relationships with my Muslim neighbours.

 

Leaning more about the similarities and differences between Christianity and Islam has been so helpful for thinking through how to engage with others. In particular, I have been truly fascinated to learn what the Qur’an teaches about Jesus. The Qur’an refers to Jesus using the terms “the Word of God” (3.45, 4.171) and “the Spirit of God” (4.171). It also describes Him as a sign to all people and a mercy from Us (Q19.21). He is also referred to as “Messiah Jesus son of Mary who will be held in honour in this world and the next” (Q.3:45-46) – though the Islamic meaning of the word Messiah translates as “messenger” rather than the Hebrew meaning of “anointed”. All these provide great openings for discussion and engagement.

 

I have most benefited from and enjoyed going back through the history of the last 100 years and learning about all the events, which I knew very little about, that are still effecting and causing so much disunity in our modern lives and world today. I truly feel my generation has such a lack of understanding of the way in which our leaders and decision-makers in the past have represented our country so poorly and deceptively, and studying the ongoing impact of events such as the Sykes-Picot Agreement was really impactful, if at times quite painful to come to terms with!

 

As human nature goes, we usually fear the unknown and in my experience those who fear people of the Muslim faith have often had very little or no personal contact at all with real people. My encouragement from spending a year on the Understanding Islam course is to step out in faith, build bridges, break down walls. As you do, you will find much more common ground with your Muslim neighbours than you might expect, as well as many more opportunities to reach out and build meaningful relationships.

 

I do believe this amazing course will run again, and I really encourage you to put yourselves forward for it, and to find out the exciting revelations from God that He has in store for you through it!

 

For more information on the Understanding Islam course, take a look here, and to register an interest or ask any question you can email jane@hopechurch.co.uk and we’ll be happy to chat things through with you.

 

Written by Kristina Druce

By Catalyst

Catalyst is a movement of churches raising world-changers in the UK and around the world