News Story

Canadian Council of Churches’ General Secretary Speaks at BYU

The Reverend Dr. Karen Hamilton, general secretary of the Canadian Council of Churches, recently presented at the Summer Interfaith Lecture Series at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

Dr. Hamilton is committed to speaking about and working for ecumenism, interfaith dialogue, the use of the Bible in the church and local and global justice.

Held at the Hinckley Center at BYU, Dr. Hamilton and other prominent religious leaders who have a diverse perspective and rich experience of ministry were invited to speak to the BYU faculty and staff, seminary and institute graduate students and chaplain candidates.

Program co-ordinators Dr. Blake Boatright and Dr. Vance Theodore organized the lecture series as an opportunity for Latter-day Saint chaplain candidates to deepen their understanding of how to meet the religious and spiritual needs of service members and their families. Theodore said Dr. Hamilton “did a masterful job in relating the purpose of the Canadian Council of Churches and in answering questions concerning interfaith dialogue.”

Dr. Hamilton was able to lay out some of the current, surprising challenges of interfaith relations, including such lesser-known challenges as non-parallel structures. She said, “It was a tremendous privilege to be in beautiful Salt Lake City, to see the vibrant humanitarian work of the Latter-day Saints and to engage the BYU faculty, staff, seminary and institute graduate students and chaplain candidates. … Those gathered completely rose to the challenges in thoughtful, deep and future-oriented ways.”

Dr. Hamilton’s visit coincided with an open house tour through the Ogden Utah Temple. As a scholar of the Old Testament, she recognized biblical symbolism in the temple design and architecture. She was able to visit several other Church sites in the Salt Lake City area before participating in the lecture series.

“Her comments on religious freedom in Canada and the need for worldwide religious dialogue and understanding were very well received by students and faculty,” exclaimed Dr. Boatright.

A respect for the diverse beliefs and unique contributions of all the world’s faiths is one of the hallmarks of Mormonism. From the earliest days of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith elevated the principle of religious liberty and tolerance: “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may” (Articles of Faith 1:11). These principles foster relationships between religions, relationships that build trust and lay the groundwork for charitable efforts.

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