Manhattan Missionary Leads Wall Street Discussion of the Occupy Movement
by Adventist Today News Team
Trinity Episcopal Church, located at Broadway and Wall Street in Manhattan, is sponsoring an open forum on the Occupy Wall Street movement on Thursday, February 16. The discussion will be led by Samir Selmanovic, a Seventh-day Adventist minister with a PhD from Andrews University. The other speakers will be Michael Merrill, dean of the Harry Van Arsdale Center for Labor Studies, and Carolyn Kassen, a Biblical studies graduate student at Union Theological Seminary and student activist in the Occupy protests in New York City.
The event is scheduled for the lunch hour, starting at 1:05 p.m. (Eastern Time) and will be webcast both live and on demand later. It is the closing session in a series of Wall Street Dialogues that Trinity Church has organized over the past year to explore the ethical and spiritual implications of the recession and the variety of political and economic reactions to it. Many of the participants in these discussions and members of this church work on Wall Street in the finance industry.
Selmanovic works for Faith House, an inter-religious study center in Manhattan. He was pastor of the Church of the Advent Hope when the tragedy of 9/11 occurred and played a key role in the Adventist response to that major disaster. He later served as an associate pastor at Crosswalk Church in the Southeastern California Conference before returning to New York City as a missionary with an ASI-affiliated organization. He is also pastor of City Lights, an innovative young adult congregation.
Merrill is a former AFL-CIO staffer who also worked for several years as a faculty member at the George Meany Center for Labor Studies and National Labor College in Silver Spring, Maryland. He has a PhD from Columbia University.
Kaasen is the organizer of a group of volunteer chaplains for the Occupy Wall Street activities in New York City, an activist in Jewish Voice for Peace and a leader in a Jewish young adult group—Young, Jewish and Proud. She is working toward an MA in Bible.
The Great Recession has had an impact on every local church in the U.S. as well as elsewhere in the world. While the Tea Party is seen as an overtly political response that most Adventists speak of only privately, the Occupy protests have largely steered clear of election campaigns and brought a wide range of responses from Adventists and other Christians.
Selmanovic wrote about how his Adventist faith relates to “the other,” people with very different backgrounds, values and beliefs, in his book It’s Really All About God: How Islam, Atheism and Judaism Made Me a Better Christian. The volume has been reviewed in the New York Times and is available from Amazon and other online booksellers.
The webcast can be accessed on demand at: https://www.trinitywallstreet.org/calendar/2012/02/15/trinity-institute-presents-wall-street-dialogues/