The eighth annual Lecture on World Religions and Interreligious Dialogue sponsored by the Theological Consortium of Greater Columbus is scheduled for Wednesday, April 18.

The eighth annual Lecture on World Religions and Interreligious Dialogue sponsored by the Theological Consortium of Greater Columbus is scheduled for Wednesday, April 18.

The lecture series will be held in the Gloria Dei Worship Center at Trinity Lutheran Seminary, 2199 E. Main St. Lectures start at 7 p.m. and are free and open to the public.

The gatherings move around among the three entities that formed the Theological Consortium in 2005: a Trinity Lutheran Seminary near Bexley, the Methodist Theological School of Ohio in Delaware and the Pontifical College Josephinum just outside Worthington. In past years, they have drawn between 100 and 200 attendees, according to Paul D. Numrich, Ph.D., chairman of the Program in World Religions and Inter-Religious Dialogue for the consortium.

"We pack the house no matter what house we're in," said Numrich, who gave the very first lecture in the series.

"There's a market for what we do," he added. "We do have an audience that continues to come. We've not been disappointed."

This year's topic will be "Conversion and Conflict: Reflections by a Greek Orthodox Bishop and Response by a Muslim Scholar."

The guest speakers will be Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, auxiliary bishop for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, and attorney Azam Nizamuddin, an adjunct faculty member at the Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

"I think the pairing is really nice in terms of talking about this topic of how conversion has been a contentious point over the centuries between Orthodox Christians and Islam," Numrich said.

The bishop, according to his biography on the website of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, "has worked extensively to build bridges of understanding and improve relationships between Chicago's Greek Orthodox Community with other local Orthodox bodies, as well as other Christian and non-Christian groups."

According to the website, in February 2003, he co-founded a local initiative to improve relations between the Turkish and Greek communities in Chicago. He was the recipient of the 2010 Fethullah Gulen Award from the Niagara Foundation, a Turkish/ Muslim-American group in Chicago, inspired by Fethullah Gulen, a leading Turkish Muslim, advancing interfaith and intercultural dialogue.

Nizamuddin, whose law offices are in the Chicago suburb of Des Plaines, Ill., practices business litigation, family law and real estate, according to the website of Loyola University Chicago, where he teaches courses on Islam and the history of Islamic thought.

"Mr. Nizamuddin has lectured extensively on Islamic theology and law, and on Islamic civilization to churches, synagogues, civic organizations, and federal agencies across the country," the site states. "After Sept. 11, (2001) he has attended conferences in Denmark, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, and Turkey to discuss East-West relations and inter-religious dialogue."

Consortium officials are hoping to draw a respectable crowd again for this year's event featuring representatives of religions that have long had very tense relationships with one another.