MCSCI was formed as a specialist centre at Nazarene Theological College [NTC] in September 2013, after several years when Rev Dr Dwight Swanson (Old Testament Scholar) and Rev Canon Phil Rawlings (lecturer-practitioner in Christian Engagement with Islam) had already been collaborating.
After an administrator’s post was added to the team, the official launch of the Manchester Centre for the Study of Christianity and Islam [MCSCI] took place on 3 March 2014.
The Centre has continued to host regular courses of study, both for “ordinary” Christians and Muslims, and for those studying for a university qualification through NTC. Examples of these include the Encountering the World of Islam course (held in Winter 2014-15), Joining the Family (launching in Spring 2016) and our Islam in Contemporary Britain unit.
We have also organised several events which seek to inform people from a range of backgrounds, such as the “Hope for Muslims” day in Spring 2015, where David Garrison unpacked some of the changes that are happening in Muslim countries around the world – and our most significant event to date, our major conference in January 2016.
The conference heard from speakers who live in the UK, the Middle East and America about some of the issues affecting Muslims, Christians, those who choose to change their religious affiliation and those with none. You can hear and see some of the conference materials online now.
Our ongoing work
A voluntary Executive Director, Anne Davies, also joined the team in 2015 to assist with the conference and our continuing activities. In 2015, we also committed to a regular blog. From January 2016, Dr Swanson is writing an entry every fortnight during his Sabbatical period in the Middle East – where he has a different experience of the interplay between Christian and Muslim compared with in Manchester.
Our ongoing work includes regular Christian-Muslim dialogue groups, research into various aspects of both Christianity and Islam, and provision of a specialist bookstore. If you would like to know more about the work which we do, please contact us directly, or for regular updates join the MCSCI e-newsletter mailing list.
Charity status and funding
In September 2015, after a lot of hard work, MCSCI became a registered charity. This enables us to reclaim the tax paid on donations to the centre through the GiftAid scheme.
If you are able and willing to support our work, do make a one-off donation, or contact us about joining the Friends of MCSCI scheme. The centre only exists thanks to the generosity of people like you.