What a grand finale we had when we met with our Turkish friends on April 24th for the last session of our lecture series! As during all sessions, a great dinner was served. As shown in the picture, it combined the traditions of our two cultures. The topic that night was the role of women in Islam and in Christianity; presenters were Dr. Nuray Turgul Yurt and Rev. Susan Kramer-Mills. At the end of the evening, Nuray presented our church with a hand-painted plate from Turkey. It features one of the most beloved motifs of our Dutch roots: Red tulips on white and blue ground.Â Â
Where will we go from here? After the more formal approach of delivering presentations, we would like to do three things.
First, we would like to shift the dialogue to a more personal level. In the next few weeks, dinner-invitations will go out from various Turkish-American families to the families of our church. This will offer the opportunity of getting to know one another on a family basis. We hope that many friendships will develop. The invitations will be facilitated through our church office.
Next, we are eagerly waiting for the cultural center of the Raritan Turkish-American Foundation to be completed. Once scaffolds are gone, our Turkish friends plan on having our group over and celebrate with them the opening of the center.
And, finally, we are exploring the possibility of traveling for about 10 days to Turkey together in 2008. Since the trip will be largely sponsored by the organizers from Turkey, there is a justified hope that we can travel as a large group from our church. This would be a great interfaith experience first hand. Yet it would also lead us back to the roots of Christianity, as modern Turkey includes many places from New Testament times and early church history. Be sure to follow how this project is evolving. It will offer us a rare opportunity.