The Silsilah School of Mercy: A New Beginning
In life, we see beginnings as another opportunity to move forward. For the Silsilah Dialogue Movement, a new beginning is a fresh start to take courage and hope once again. It was but courage to dream that moved this then a small group of people in Zamboanga City to form a movement that sponsored an annual summer course on Muslim-Christian Dialogue – an effort that now has come to its 30th year. It was just a small beginning but a beginning that has spanned three decades of loving mission.
In celebrating the 30th year of the Silsilah Summer Course on Muslim-Christian Dialogue, the movement has launched the program Silsilah School of Mercy. Its theme has captured its very mission: Revisiting the teachings of Christianity and Islam in the Spirit of Mercy. Fr. Sebastiano D’Ambra, PIME, believes that it is a sign of the times for both religious and non-religious leaders particularly in the city of Zamboanga, to come together in the spirit of mercy to look for a common ground of understanding amidst the reality of differences between these two religions.
While divisions are caused by many other factors (societal, economic, political, cultural), religious differences are often seen as the main cause. The Silsilah School of Mercy aims to give light on this issue and extend to the wider public the awareness that we, as a society, can go beyond biases and prejudices.
The rationale of this program says: The Silsilah School of Mercy is designed to help Muslim and Christian leaders as well as leaders of other religious groups and different sectors of society in Zamboanga City to know each other better, respect the differences and rediscover that we have the same spiritual aspirations in the spirit of mercy and compassion. The “revisiting” of the basic elements of our religions together in the spirit of dialogue, will help participants to face the challenges of society as brothers and sisters created by the same God.
The program will run for eight Saturdays in the months of August and September this year. It will be held at 1:30 in the afternoon, Grand Astoria Hotel, Zamboanga City. Given the rationale above, Silsilah targets to invite participants, preferably leaders, from different schools, universities, colleges, government and non-government offices in Zamboanga City. To facilitate an informative and interactive atmosphere, the program has for its objectives the following:
1. To know more and have a better understanding of our own religions and the religions of others in the spirit of dialogue focusing on the teachings of Islam and Christianity.
2. To help leaders, specially faculty members, government and non-government leaders to deepen in Christianity and Islam, to face together the growing materialism and radicalism in society.
3. To offer lessons in modular form based on guidelines and additional research materials.
4. To promote a friendly atmosphere among Christian and Muslim leaders of Zamboanga City.
This program is a work for solidarity among peoples of different belief systems and so, the program has a panel of advisers of which members are respected leaders in the city. Being the program’s first time, Silsilah aims that should the program become commendable on the part of the participants, it will also be conducted in other places in the Philippines where Silsilah is present.
The working team for this program will work through the following Methodology:
1. Video presentation with two presenters (one Muslim and one Christian) who will develop the topic/module of the day.
2. Additional video taken from events, documentaries by national and international scholars and leaders from different religions as a deepening or affirmation of the topic presented.
3. Group sharing guided by some few points given to participants with the copy of the module/video presentation of the topic.
4. Clarification in an atmosphere of dialogue addressed to a panel of resource persons – Muslims and Christians – assigned for the topic/module of the day.
30 years have passed for the annual Silsilah Summer Course on Muslim-Christian Dialogue and yes, we are seeing – as ever before – the hope for our society to go beyond individual biases and prejudices. Those three decades have formed thousands of alumni. Now, moving forward in our mission, we aim to continuously form people of goodwill who believe in God’s love and compassion.
Silsilah School of Mercy
Please see the Brochure by visiting our website www.silsilahdialogue.com
For more details, please contact:
You may also contact us on our telefax: 062-9915942/062-9918712;
For more details Mailing Address: Silsilah Center, JBC Rodriguez Bldg., 137 Gov. Alvarez, Ave., 7000 Zamboanga City, Philippines.