WomackDeanna F. Womack has already made an impact at Candler and she hasn't even been here a year. As assistant professor in the practice of history of religions and multifaith relations, Womack guides future pastors and Christian scholars through the process of engaging with those of different faiths.

"I believe that one of the most urgent needs for the church in the 21st century is to equip Christians to live faithfully and well alongside our neighbors," Womack says. "This need is all the more apparent amidst the xenophobic and Islamophobic rhetoric of this election year and the mounting number of physical attacks against American Muslims and their places of worship. If the church looks on in silence, then we risk becoming counter-witnesses to the gospel of Jesus Christ."

First-year dual MTS/JD student Mary Newton took Womack's "Islam in America" course last fall. Students read and discussed articles, listened to Muslim speakers, and visited Emory's Muslim prayer services. "The class provided amazing perspectives on Muslim-American identity and religious plurality in America, and offered excellent theoretical material paired with practical hands-on interreligious experience," Newton says. A highlight of the course was touring local mosques, including Masjid of al-Islam, Atlanta's oldest historically black mosque. There, Newton met and interviewed a woman who helped her with her final project for the course, a children's book about Christian-Muslim dialogue called "Asma & Mary Talk About God." Read the book here. (An image from the book is pictured at the top of this article.) Read Newton's blog post on the class here.

Womack (left) and students at the BAPS Hindu Temple <br> in Lilburn, Georiga.Along with her teaching, Womack directs the Leadership and Multifaith Program (LAMP), a collaborative endeavor between Candler and the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) that centers upon the complexities of life, work, and leadership in a world where many faith traditions converge. She says the terminology choice was intentional. “‘Multifaith’ is a newer term that describes the state of our religiously diverse society, and may include those of no faith commitment. LAMP focuses on learning to live in a multifaith world, whether one comes from a particular religious tradition or not.”

As interfaith studies becomes an established field in our global world, Womack believes Candler will be at the forefront. "Theological institutions like Candler play an important role in bringing together the study of global religions and the practice of interfaith relations. We have a vision for educating Christian leaders who not only possess deep knowledge about the history and beliefs of their Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist neighbors, but also know how to practice hospitality, engage in dialogue, and build lasting friendships with people of other faiths."