Judson to host variety of faith leaders for unity week

Posted10/2/2014 5:30 AM

Judson University in Elgin will host leaders representing Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox Christian faiths during Church Unity Week.

The faith leaders will speak at each of the week's three chapel services -- Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Their presentations will be at 10 a.m. in Herrick Chapel. 1151 State St.


Speakers are: Dr. John Armstrong, a Protestant author, former pastor and adjunct professor of evangelism at Wheaton College Graduate School; the Rev. Thomas Baima, a Catholic author and vice rector of academic affairs for the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein; and Wilbur Ellsworth, a former Baptist minister turned Orthodox priest.

Judson Ministries Director Chris Lash said officials at the conservative, evangelical, Baptist university value crossing the aisle and embracing other Christian traditions.

"This is an experiment," Lash said. "We are trying new things."

The events are free and open to the public. Officials are anticipating between 500 and 600 people will attend.

"This is our first year doing this," spokeswoman Mary Dulabaum said. "We typically have a full chapel. We have 700 residential students."

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Lash said he collaborated with Armstrong, whose background is in ecumenism, to organize unity week.

"He believes in the oneness of the church and the oneness of Christians all over," Lash said. "For Millennials, unity and understanding differences is huge. What this week hopes to accomplish is to acknowledge our differences, to broadcast the central, unifying message of the three traditions. We have very different emphases, but at our core we affirm the same creed. Our hope is students here and the community can engage in seeing that all three traditions fundamentally herald that Jesus offers hope, grace, peace and freedom to humans."

Armstrong will speak on Monday about John: 17, in which Jesus prays for unity among his people, Lash said.

"Not all the divisions are bad, sometimes they are just different expressions of something," Lash added.

Baima will speak Wednesday about Matthew: 28 and the charge of Christians to go into the world and share their faith. "And that's something that Protestant, Orthodox and Catholics can get behind," Lash said.

Ellsworth will address the chapel on Friday, Oct. 10, about what happens "On the Road to Emmaus" in Luke: 24 after Jesus' crucifixion.

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