ABRAHAMIC PROGRAM \ A six-part series

Agnes Martinko, a regular contributor to The Vindicator's Religion page, attended a weeklong series of programs, "Belief in America," at Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, N.Y., from July 31-Aug. 4. Her stories on the programs are featured in a six-part series that begins today. In 1977, the Chautauqua Institution began a study on the common religious aspects and ethical concerns of the "Abrahamic Family" of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. These three monotheistic religions historically claim a common ancestor in the patriarch Abraham/Ibrahim. The study has grown steadily and went to a new level in the fall of 2005 with a Chautauqua-in-London Conference. In 2002, theologian-in-residence Karen Armstrong offered a seasonlong series on Islam and Muslim scholars presented lectures that have since been used by seminaries and congregations throughout the United States as teaching aids and in discussions. Christian, Jewish and Muslim scholars and clergy have shaped the Abrahamic Program. A CBS religion special, "Chautauqua: An Interfaith Experience," will air at 3:35 a.m. Oct. 8 on Channel 27.

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