DECATUR, Ga. — Columbia Theological Seminary’s Center for Lifelong Learning is offering a tour of the Georgia and South Carolina lowcountry from April 5-9, 2010. Leading the tour is Erskine Clarke, professor emeritus of American religious history and author of the award-winning book Dwelling Place: A Plantation Epic. Registration and tour deposit are due November 20, 2009.

The five-day tour offers an opportunity to learn how a strong Calvinist and Presbyterian presence helped shape the religious, cultural, and social life and the economy of early South Carolina and Georgia. The itinerary includes visits to rural churches, museums, cemeteries, former slave markets, historic homes, and gardens. Columbia, S.C., is a stop on the return trip, with a visit to the mansion that housed the seminary for almost 100 years.

In addition to Erskine Clarke, tour hosts are his wife, Nan, and Bert and Kaye Carmichael. Bert Carmichael, a Columbia graduate, is the seminary’s former director of alumni/ae and church relations.

RICHMOND, Va. — A group of faculty, students and friends from Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education — soon to be Union Presbyterian Seminary — will travel to the Middle East May 7-27, 2010. The theme of the travel seminar is “The Lands of Faith and History.”
The trip will include visits to Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, and Egypt, including the Great Pyramids, the vibrant streets of Damascus, the Old City of Jerusalem, and many more historic sites. 

The travel seminar will be led by Samuel Balentine, professor of Old Testament; Andreas Schuele, professor of Biblical theology; and Samuel Adams, assistant professor of Old Testament. The trip is open to all alumni and friends of Union-PSCE. 

For more information, contact Andreas Schuele by email.

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary will host Mary Mikhael, president of the Near East School of Theology in Beirut, and Muhammad Sammak, political analyst, journalist, and advisor to the Mufti of Lebanon, to discuss Christian-Muslim relations. The public forum will be held Oct. 27 at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Austin.

Mikhael and Sammak will speak about Christian and Muslim life together in the Middle East, the challenges and opportunities that are before each of the their communities, as well as new developments in Muslim-Christian relations and their significance for Christians and Muslims. The international speakers will be in the United States as part of the Interfaith Listening Project, organized by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Lebanon, which until the early 1970s was the only majority Christian nation in the Middle East, is the only country in the region in which religious freedom is constitutionally protected. The goal of the Interfaith Listening Program is to build understanding and relationships.

The Interfaith Listening Project brings inter-religious teams from a variety of countries to the United States for visits in local communities. The 2009 team will make presentations and engage in conversations at five seminaries and at church and mosque gatherings in seven locations around the United States.

PRINCETON, N.J. — “Visiting Hours at Lambaréné: Photographic Reminiscences of Albert Schweitzer, 1961–1963” is currently on display at Princeton Theological Seminary’s Erdman Art Gallery through Nov. 8. The exhibit commemorates the sixtieth anniversary of Schweitzer’s only visit to the United States in 1949, when Time magazine celebrated him as “the man of the century.”

Schweitzer was a physician, theologian, and musician, and winner of the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize for his philosophy, which he called “Reverence for Life.” He started a hospital in 1913 in Lambaréné (part of modern Gabon), at a mission founded by Princeton Seminary alumnus Robert Hamill Nassau (Class of 1859).

“Visiting Hours at Lambaréné” is a series of photographs that were taken by Princeton Seminary alumnus Joel Mattison (Class of 1954), a physician, and his wife, Jean Mattison, a medical technician, who assisted Schweitzer at the hospital in the 1960s. The photographs were given by the Mattisons to the Special Collections of Princeton Seminary.

An artist’s reception will be held Oct. 29 in the Erdman Art Gallery. It will include a short video featuring an interview with Mattison about his work with Schweitzer.