Saint John The Divine Church’s Dialogues On Divinity Speaker Series Announced By The Community At The Crossing

January 10, 2024

With its new series, Dialogues on Divinity, the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in Harlem will host some of the brightest minds in religious thought in 2024.

Building on the successful launch of the program in 2023 with David Ford, Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge, Dialogues on Divinity will welcome Prof. Amy-Jill Levine, Prof. Sarah Coakley, and a panel of interreligious leaders at three events in 2024 presented by the Community at the Crossing.

“By bringing religious and academic leaders from different traditions into conversation with our community, Dialogues on Divinity allows this Cathedral to live into its mission as an instrument of unity and a center of intellectual light in the spirit of Jesus Christ,” said The Very Rev. Patrick Malloy, PhD, Dean of the Cathedral. “We all have been given gifts by God, and Dialogues on Divinity is an opportunity to share those gifts.”

This year’s series starts on January 15, 2024, with Prof. Amy-Jill Levine, a world-renowned scholar of New Testament Studies and Jewish-Christian relations, and recipient of the 2023 Hubert Walter Award for Reconciliation and Interfaith Cooperation from the Archbishop of Canterbury, who joins Cathedral Dean Patrick Malloy for a discussion on the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Together, they will discuss how the parable raises necessary questions about neighbors and strangers, stereotypes and prejudice, complacency and challenge, even questions about history, colonialism and liberation. Amy-Jill Levine is currently the Rabbi Stanley M. Kessler Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Hartford International University for Religion and Peace. She is also University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies Emerita, Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies Emerita, and Professor of New Testament Studies Emerita at Vanderbilt University. 

“I am honored to join the Community at the Crossing and the broader Cathedral Community to discuss Jesus’ parables in the context of Dialogues on Divinity,” said Prof. Amy-Jill Levine. “Understanding the parables in their historical context corrects the antisemitic interpretations that continue to accompany them helps to recover their profundity, and opens new pathways to Jewish-Christian dialogue.”

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On February 5, 2024, The Rev. Sarah Coakley, will lead a discussion on how ‘desire’ in the Bible, and in classic theological and monastic Christian literature, cuts across and challenges the presumptions of the ’sexualization’ of desire in contemporary Western culture. Professor Sarah Coakley is Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity emerita, the University of Cambridge, and a priest in both the Anglican and Episcopal Church.

“One of the Pillars of the Community at the Crossing’s Rule of Life is Unity. Jesus prayed for unity in the Gospel of John, ‘that we all might be one,’ and we try to pattern our life to be an answer to that prayer,” said Neil Reilly, a member of the Community at the Crossing.

“Dialogues on Divinity is another way we strive to answer that prayer. In bringing together people of different faiths and traditions to connect on vital contemporary issues with a theological lens, we hope that we can all draw closer to each other and to God.”

The final event of this series will feature Muslim, Jewish, and Christian faith leaders in interreligious dialogues (details to come). All are welcome to attend the Dialogues on Divinity, which will be held at the Cathedral and are “pay what you can.”  

Tickets are available through the Cathedral website.

The Community at the Crossing

Founded in 2023 at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, The Community at the Crossing is an ecumenical program for spiritual formation in the heart of New York City. It is for any Christian between 21-33 years old, from all church backgrounds, and anywhere in the US. Members spend a year in prayer and discernment, biblical and theological formation, intentional community, service, and mission, and choose as their sisters and brothers people who are radically different from themselves. The Community at the Crossing believes that being ‘interrupted by God’ is the best thing that can happen to anyone, and that, as Christians, there is far more that unites us than divides us and that our world is in desperate need of people who can model true unity, which is born from reconciliation, truth, and the humility of shared life.

The Cathedral

Over one hundred years ago, the trustees of the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine conceived its mission to be a house of prayer for all people, an instrument of church unity, and a center of intellectual light and leading in the spirit of Jesus Christ.

Today, as the mother church of the Episcopal Diocese of New York and the seat of its bishop, the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine serves the many diverse people of our diocese, city, nation and world through the worship of God; pastoral, educational and community outreach activities; cultural and civic events; international ecumenical initiatives; and the preservation of the great architectural and historic site that is its legacy.

Photo credit: HWM.

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