Baha'i chair at UM to get first occupantA new...

RELIGION NOTES

January 21, 1993

Baha'i chair at UM to get first occupant

A new professorship concerned with conflict resolution and peaceful coexistence of nationalities, cultures and religions -- what the University of Maryland calls the world's first Baha'i Chair for World Peace -- has been established on the College Park campus.

Suheil Badi Bushrui, a member of the university's faculty for the last six years and an adherent of the Baha'i faith, will be installed in ceremonies tomorrow as the chair's first incumbent.

Dr. Bushrui likened the Baha'i chair to the Meyerhoff Institute of Jewish Studies at College Park but said its subject is broader than religion. It will "deal with issues of culture," he said.

The chair was founded jointly by the university's Center for International Development and Conflict Management and the Baha'i Community of the United States. Dr. Bushrui said the teaching and research position is endowed by a variety of donors -- Baha'is and others. "This is not a religious chair. It is an academic chair," he said.

The Baha'i faith, founded in the middle of the last century by a Persian, Baha'ull'ah, proclaims the necessity of unifying mankind and embraces many religions, although its roots are in Islam. It claims 5 million followers. Its world headquarters is in Haifa, Israel.

While tolerance is one of its central tenets, the Baha'i faith is a much persecuted religion. Muslim officials in Iran have embarked on wave after wave of evictions and confiscations of property directed against the Baha'is, who form that country's largest religious minority.

Dr. Bushrui was chairman of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is in his native Lebanon between 1970 and 1985. In the 1960s, he said, he was a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Canada. He came to the University of Maryland from a teaching position at Oxford, England.

Medical ethics:

Medical ethics: Donald S. Coffey, director of research laboratories at the Johns Hopkins Medical School, will address the fourth annual International Conference on Jewish Medical Ethics next month in San Mateo, Calif.

The Feb. 12-15 meeting is sponsored by the Institute for Jewish Medical Ethics of the Hebrew Academy of San Francisco in association with the Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics and the World Zionist Organization.

Dr. Coffey's lecture, entitled "Science, Creativity and Human Destiny," is scheduled at 8 p.m. Feb. 14.

Information: (800) 258-4427.

Fiftieth year:

Fiftieth year: Baltimore Archbishop William H. Keeler will be the principal celebrant of a liturgy marking the 50th anniversary of Catholic Relief Services at 10 a.m. Monday at the Basilica of the Assumption, Cathedral and Mulberry streets. A reception for invited guests will follow at the world headquarters of the relief agency, 209 W. Fayette St.

Bishop James A. Griffin is president and board chairman of Catholic Relief Services.

Evangelism:

Evangelism: Mount Ararat Baptist Church, 3008 Gwynns Falls Parkway, will conduct an evangelism workshop from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 6 with the theme, "Reaching, Helping and Witnessing for Jesus Christ." The workshop leader is the Rev. William McCoy, pastor of Friendship Baptist Church. Lunch will be served. To register, call 383-9465.

Jewish studies:

Jewish studies: Baltimore Hebrew University, 5800 Park Heights Ave., will offer 21 three-credit graduate courses in biblical and ancient Near Eastern civilization, Jewish history and philosophy, political science and Rabbinic literature in its spring semester that begins Monday.

Information: 578-6922.

Race relations:

Race relations: An article about the multiracial character of Pikesville's Colonial Baptist Church is featured in the current issue of Light, the publication of the Christian Life Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. On the first and third Sundays dTC of each month, the church's predominantly white choir sings traditional Baptist hymns. On the second and fourth Sundays, its predominantly black gospel choir provides the music for worship.

The growing church, with an average Sunday attendance of about 420, has nearly equal numbers of white and black worshipers.

"At this church, every Sunday is Race Relations Sunday," one member said. The Rev. Russ Priddy, pastor of the church at 4619 Old Court Road, said, "Ten years from now, I would hope you would see more Orientals in this congregation."

Send religious news items -- about events, local personalities, etc., from Baltimore City and Baltimore and Harford counties -- to Religion Notes, c/o Frank Somerville, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

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