Statues. Photo by Nagarjun Kandukuru.

Study Tour: Interfaith Encounters in India

Join the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary for a study tour to India from Aug. 18 to Sept. 2, 2018.

Explore the rich religious diversity in the world’s largest democracy. Learn how people of different faiths worship, interact and co-exist. Venues include places of study and worship in Bangalore, Tiruvannamalai and more.

Successful completion of each course may count for 0.5 credit toward a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Members of the public are welcome, but must participate as continuing education students.

Your leaders will be Allen Jorgenson, the seminary’s assistant dean and professor of systematic theology, and Philip Mathai, adjunct faculty and pastor of Mount Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Waterloo.

Information Session

Join us for an information session at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, at Mount Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, 29 Westmount Rd., Waterloo, N2L 2K4.

To register for the information session, contact Dorinda at


Fees are estimated at $3,600 (to be confirmed), including flights, ground transport, accommodation, and all meals in India.

Tuition is not included.

Note for Travellers

Due to the nature of this study tour we cannot guarantee accessible transportation and facilities.

Itinerary, Activities and Study Topics (TBC)

Monday, Aug. 20

Tuesday, Aug. 21        


  • introduction to the context
  • Indian realities
  • Christianity in India
  • Ecumenism in India


  • Indian Christian theologies and biblical interpretations
  • Indian Christian theologies
  • Indian encounter with the Bible
  • interaction with UTC faculty and students

Wednesday, Aug. 22


  • church and religious diversity
  • intercultural worship
  • introduction to Indian religious traditions
  • theologies of interfaith dialogue
  • interfaith initiatives


  • visit to temples, mosques, and gurudwaras

Thursday, Aug. 23

  • travel to Tiruvannamalai (225 km from Bangalore)
  • exposure to interfaith initiatives in Tiruvannamalai
  • visit to Ramana Ashram
  • visit to Quo Vadis Dialogue Center of the Arcot Lutheran Church
  • overnight in Tiruvannamalai

Friday, Aug. 24


  • exposure to church and diaconal ministry
  • travel to Vellore (100 km from Tiruvannamalai)
  • visit the Christian Medical College Hospital
  • return to Bangalore and stay overnight at ERC

Saturday, Aug. 25

  • theological reflections on caste and patriarchy
  • visit Visthar, a secular civil society organization

Sunday, Aug. 26


  • exposure to different denominational and liturgical traditions
  • Church of South India
  • Roman Catholic Church
  • Mar Thoma Church
  • Syrian Jacobite Church
  • Methodist Church of India
  • Baptist Church


  • sightseeing and shopping


  • community worship service

Monday, Aug. 27


  • church and Indigenous communities: tribal theology


  • visit to Sisters of Charity home

Tuesday, Aug. 28

Wednesday, Aug. 29


  • lectures on St. Thomas Christianity


  • visit to churches, shrines and synagogue

Thursday, Aug. 30


  • church and ecological crisis


  • church and human sexuality

Friday Aug. 31

  • sightseeing, shopping, boat trip in the lagoons

Saturday, Sept. 1

  • evaluation and rest

Sunday, Sept. 2

  • departure (if the departure is on Sunday night, you may attend worship services in different churches)

Additional Resources

Links to Places We Would Stay

  • The Ecumenical Resource Centre of the United Theological College (UTC), Bangalore, is where we would stay from Aug. 20 to Aug. 27/28. UTC is the pre-eminent ecumenical theological institution in India.
  • Shanthigiri Ashram where we would be from Aug. 27/28 to Sept. 2. We would stay in the a/c Archana double rooms. Shanthigiri Ashram is a retreat centre of the Marthoma Church, a reformed group within the Oriental Orthodox family of churches.

Links to Places We Would Visit

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