THIS PRESENTATION HAS BEEN CANCELLED.
Two academics and Christian missionaries are stopping by Wrangell this weekend to give a talk on living peacefully with people of other religions.
Harriet Schirmer spoke with KSTK about the upcoming presentation.
Bernard and Farsijana Adeney-Risakotts live in Indonesia which is the world’s largest Muslim country.
“Bernie is an American and Farsijana comes from Indonesia. They are both Presbyterian missionaries and they both have doctorates.”
He is a professor at the Duta Wakana Christian University.
“He also is involved in a doctoral program in religious studies that involves the Christian university, the state university, and the Muslim university. And they have people from all the major world religions studying. They say—from different faiths in an environment of mutual learning and respect.”
She received her degree from a Dutch university and currently works for a women’s advocacy program in Indonesia.
“She has been elected to head the Indonesian Women’s Coalition for their province and it’s a predominantly Muslim group that seeks to empower women and children.”
The group also works for women’s education, LGBTQ and sexual tolerance, and cross-cultural awareness.
But it’s their unique living situation and life experience that brings them to Wrangell to talk about respect and cultural acceptance.
“And I know that they live in a community where the people across the street are Muslim, that one of the neighbors is an Indonesian man who comes from a Muslim family but he’s Christian—and they’re tolerating that. And their home is kind of a hospitality center in this multicultural community.”
Schirmer says she thinks their background as academics and missionaries living in such a diverse environment makes them aware of the importance of being tolerant and understanding.
“So I think they’re particularly well prepared to help us to understand living lovingly in a community of mostly Muslims.”
It’s the negative stereotypes of Islam that Schirmer hopes the Adeney-Risakotts will help dispel during their talk.
“Hopefully they can help belay some of our anxieties. I sent them a message a couple of weeks ago and told him that’s one of things I’d like him to do while he’s here—that people here had not had experience living among Muslims and they’d heard enough horror stories to be anxious. His response was that seems to be the general attitude.”
Schirmer says people of all backgrounds, ages, and faiths are encouraged to attend the presentation and ask questions.