ST. PAUL, Minn., May 2, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- As a seminary that values challenging conversations and courageous action in order to promote a just, peaceful, sustainable world, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities announces Dr. Larycia Hawkins as speaker for this year's commencement ceremony.
A scholar, author and speaker, Hawkins was a professor at Wheaton College in December 2015 when she announced on Facebook that she would wear a hijab during the Christian season of Advent in solidarity with Muslims.
"I don't love my Muslim neighbor because s/he is American," wrote Hawkins. "I love my Muslim neighbor because s/he deserves love by virtue of her/his human dignity. I stand in human solidarity with my Muslim neighbor because we are formed of the same primordial clay. … I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God."
As a result, Wheaton placed Hawkins on administrative leave. But the ramifications of the post reached far beyond Wheaton; it ignited a national and international conversation about God and multifaith solidarity. The story of Hawkins' post and its results are the subject of a documentary, Same God, released in October 2018.
Currently Hawkins is the Abd el-Kader Visiting Faculty Fellow at the University of Virginia's Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture.
On Sunday, May 5, Hawkins will speak on the theme "you were made for such a time as this" at United's 3 p.m. commencement ceremony at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis. The theme refers to the biblical book of Esther, in which Queen Esther is encouraged to stand up for her people -- even in the face of death -- with the words "perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this."
In order to encourage conversation around the idea of solidarity United is hosting a showing of Same God on Saturday, May 4, at 2 p.m. on its campus in St. Paul, Minnesota. The film will be followed by a discussion on embodied solidarity between Hawkins and Ailya Vajid, associate chaplain for Muslim life at Macalester College. The event is free and open to the public. People can register at same-god.eventbrite.com.
SOURCE United Theological Seminary of The Twin Cities