Shanta Premawardhana

Rev. Dr. Shanta Premawardhana is President of SCUPERev. Dr. Shanta Premawardhana is the President of the Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education (SCUPE) in Chicago.

Originally from Sri Lanka, he was most recently the director for the program Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation at the World Council of Churches (WCC), a worldwide fellowship of 349 Protestant and Orthodox churches/denominations based in Geneva, Switzerland.

His work there included helping global church bodies articulate a comprehensive theological basis for interreligious dialogue and cooperation relevant for contemporary contexts. He spearheaded a joint initiative between the Vatican, World Evangelical Alliance and the WCC, seeking agreement on a code of conduct for Christian witness. In addition, he worked on the project Accompanying Churches in Situations of Conflict, which encourages churches to stand in solidarity with other churches facing religious persecution. His primary task was to bring religious leaders from such contexts to dialogue tables to seek together ways of resolving conflicts and finding means of reconciliation.

Prior to moving to Geneva, Premawardhana served as the Associate General Secretary for Interfaith Relations at the National Council of Churches of Christ, based in New York. Acknowledging the need for Christian theology to take interreligious dialogue seriously, he organized Special Topics Forums at the American Academy of Religion to address this question with professors of theology and academic deans of US seminaries.

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Following seminary education in Sri Lanka and India, Premawardhana arrived in the United States in 1981 for graduate study at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Religion. Continuing to live in the Chicago area, he founded the Chicago Ashram of Jesus Christ, a Christian community with an outreach to South Asian immigrants from many cultural backgrounds and religious traditions. He served for fourteen years as senior pastor of Ellis Avenue Church located in the south side of Chicago where he helped found a local congregation-based community organization, served as Vice President of the Chicago-wide Metropolitan Alliance of Congregations, and later, as a leader in the National Leadership Assembly of the Gamaliel Foundation.

Dr. Shanta Premawardhana teaching at an event  SCUPE

Premawardhana currently serves as a member of the governing board of the National Council of Churches USA, and a member of the board of trustees of the Parliament of the World’s Religions. In recognition of his ministry, the Academy of Parish Clergy named him 1998 Parish Pastor of the Year, and the Islamic Society of North America awarded him the Interfaith Unity Award in 2007.

He has published numerous articles on religion, interreligious dialogue and Christian mission. His most recent, a publication he co-edited with Ariane Hentsch Cisneros is entitled Sharing Values: A Hermeneutics for Global Ethics (Geneva: Globethics.net, 2011).

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Register for the 2014 Congress on Urban Ministry

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What you will find at the 2014 Congress On Urban Ministry:

Renowned Speakers who will challenge, transform, and inspire the way you think about economic justice in our communities.

Engaging Worship that merges prophetic preaching with scripture and song that will fill you.

Inspiring Sacred Text Study that will reframe your thinking about the economic justice issues in communities and networks within your religious tradition and beyond.

50+ Workshops and Seminars guided by leaders will give you the skills, tools and motivation to turn inspiration into action in your community.

A Call to Action declaring with one voice urban leaders, clergy, and theologians to build just economies in our congregations & communities at home and abroad.

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Up-Coming Classes

Transformación urbana desde los márgenes (ALTE)
Rev. Dr. Zaki L. Zaki
April 25-26, May 2-3, 16-17, 23-24
(viernes 6pm - 10pm y sábados 8:30am - 4pm)

Womanist Theology (CAATS)
Dr. Joanne Terrell
Independent Study

Restoring Urban Communities (GTUS)
Dr. Mary Nelson
May 2-3, 9-10, 16-17
(Fridays 1-9pm; Saturdays 9am-5pm)

La justicia social en el contexto latino (ALTE)
Dr. Richard F. Morrisroe
May 30-31, June 13-14, 27-28, July 11-12
(viernes 6pm - 10pm y sábados 8:30am - 4pm)

Dimensions and Dynamics of Urban Ministry (GTUS course page)
Dr. Yvonne Delk
June 2-6, 9-13
(Mondays to Fridays from 9am-5pm)

Interfaith Intensive: Christian Theology’s Encounter with the Urban Multi-Religious World (GTUS course page)
Dr. Paul Knitter; Rev. Dr. Shanta Premawardhana; and Rev. Dr. Charles Amjad-Ali
June 2-7
(Monday to Saturday from 9am-5pm)

Good News for the City: Together Building A Just Economy (GTUS)
Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellermann
June 23-26
*Location: Taught in conjunction with the national conference: the Congress of Urban Ministry. Fees include event registration.

Perspectiva teológica de la Inmigración (ALTE)
Rev. Dr. Eliseo Pérez-Álvarez
July 18-19, August 1-2, 15-16, 29-30
(viernes 6pm - 10pm y sábados 8:30am - 4pm)

Eco-Justice: A Vision for a Sustainable City (GTUS)
Dr. Clinton Stockwell; Pam and Lan Richert of the Eco Justice Collaborative
Fall 2014 - TBA
(Fridays 1-9pm; Saturdays 9am-5pm)

Desarrollo económico en la comunidad latina (ALTE)
Dr. Shirley Pulgar-Hughes & Dr. Timothy R. Eberhart
TBA (September - October)
(viernes 6pm - 10pm y sábados 8:30am - 4pm)

Public Issues In Urban Ministry (GTUS course page)
Rev. Dr. Dave Frenchak
Fall 2014 - TBA
(Fridays 1-9pm; Saturdays 9am-5pm)

Cuidado Pastoral en la Comuniad Latin@ (ALTE)
Dr. Daniel S. Schipani
Sept 5-6, Oct. 3-4 & 31, Nov. 1 & 14-15
(viernes 6pm - 10pm y sábados 8:30am - 4pm)