Wake Forest students make pilgrimage to Egypt during winter break
December 19, 2008
During winter break, nineteen Wake Forest students will get a historical introduction to Egypt’s Muslim society and learn how minority Christian communities have practiced their faith in the country. University Chaplain Tim Auman and Neal Walls, associate professor of Old Testament Interpretation at the School of Divinity, are coordinating the trip. Twelve of the students are studying ministry in Walls’ “Multicultural Contexts for Ministry: Egypt” course at the School of Divinity, and seven undergraduate students are joining them for a pilgrimage program through the Chaplain's Office. The students will leave Dec. 30 and return Jan. 12.
During their visit to Egypt the students will directly experience Muslim culture and religion as they investigate Egypt's rich religious heritage. The group will visit numerous pagan, Christian, Muslim and historically Jewish places of worship in the Cairo area and Egypt's archeological sites at Luxor.
“We will witness the grandeur of Islamic civilization in Cairo's medieval mosques and modern monuments,” says Walls. “We will discuss the tumultuous history of Jews in Egypt while touring Cairo's historic Ben Ezra Synagogue and examine Christian monasticism in the place of its origin at the Wadi Natrun.” Site visits to Christian churches and social agencies, including All Saint's Anglican Church with its Sudanese Refugee congregation, will expose students to a diversity of social ministries of various Christian denominations.
“Students should return from this pilgrimage with increased appreciation for Muslim religious sensitivities, the difficult role of minority religious communities and the value of interfaith cooperation,” Auman says.
The pilgrimage to Egypt is offered through the Chaplain's Office and the Pro Humanitate Center, which is helping fund the trip through Wake Forest's Lilly Endowment initiative.