Rev. Debra Loudin-McCann is an ordained minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). She serves as Global Mission Advocate and Educator for northern ELCA. Her educational background includes studies in music education and psychology. She served over twenty years as a choir director and Director of Music Ministries.

What I find so wonderful about the Hizmet Movement is their openness to the understanding that some modern ways, and the education and science, don’t have to be in opposition to our religions and our religious traditions. Also, there is a wonderful open-heartedness about it. A sense of hospitality and welcome that I’ve found very beautiful.

The emphasis on education and building schools and building hospitals, the insistence that education is the best way for us all to better ourselves, I think is some of the most significant work of the Hizmet Movement. And that work of compassion and education is rooted in an openness, that all people are worthy of the opportunities to make this world a better place, and for us to better our lives, in order that we can be better people and citizens.

The work of interfaith dialog, the openness to learning about one another, is the biggest step toward breaking down barriers of fear, and it is fear that begets violence. It is fear that feeds on ignorance. So to learn about one another, to sit at a table together and break bread, to share our personal and cultural experiences, this is the necessary environment for peace to flourish.

I believe that the charitable activities of the Hizmet Movement are a way that people are putting into action their faith in what the Prophet Muhammad has taught them. That acts of charity and compassion, to show hospitality and to give alms for those who are in need, are at the center of the faith of Islam. So I have seen this as a way people are being very faithful to their religion, and to their cultural beliefs.

All I can say is that this has been nothing but blessing for me, to get to know my brothers and sisters, my friends in the Hizmet Movement. I look forward to more opportunities to get together and learn from one another. They have so graciously invited me to share with them, and I still have so many questions and things I would like to learn from them. I pray that God will bless us both with much more time together.