Last year, I talked to the Rev. Doug Leonard, pastor of the Reformed Church of Cortlandtown, about a trip he was about to take to the Beijing Olympics.
He was going with Rabbi Arthur Schneier of New York City, a leading voice on religious freedom issues, to see how China was addressing the myriad religious needs of the Olympic athletes.
Leonard told me that the trip was a great opportunity for him because — beside the obvious reasons — he had a tremendous and growing interesting in interfaith relations.
He was quite proud of the fact that his denomination, the Reformed Church in America, is a descendant of the Dutch Reformed Church, which has a long history of promoting interfaith tolerance.
A few months after the Olympics, Leonard was leaving for the Sultinate of Oman to take part in a conference with Muslims.
Now he’s going back — to stay (at least for a while).
Sunday will be Leonard’s last day at the Reformed Church of Cortlandtown. The next day he leaves for Oman to become director of the Al Amana Centre, an interfaith center in Muscat that was started by the Reformed Church in America
I understand that he will be back briefly late next month. He’ll be honored by the Peekskill Area Pastors Association, of which he is immediate a past president.
I hope to get a chance to talk with him about his unusual new job.