Couple Working to Build Ties in Iran

July 23, 2007

Author: Kevin Litten

Source: Winston-Salem Journal

For former Winston-Salem residents David Wolfe and Linda Kusse-Wolfe, the last six months have been an “experiment in friendship.”

Their laboratory has been the Muslim-Christian Exchange in the holy city of Qom, Iran. As Quaker pastors for more than 30 years who have preached pacifism and equality, they hope to broker understanding and trust in the Islamic republic of Iran.

“What’s essential is that we get together,” Wolfe told his former congregation during a worship service at the Reynolda Road meeting house yesterday. “We do live in a world that’s very diverse. We do need to be listening and to listen to people of other faiths.”

Although the Wolfes left their Winston-Salem congregation in 1987, they say they still feel a close connection to the city after having raised their three young children here before moving to Roanoke, Va.

Over the past 20 years, they have led several other ministries - one in Indiana and several in Virginia - but it wasn’t until their youngest child neared his senior year of college that they studied serving abroad.

Kusse-Wolfe had long been interested in the ministries of the Mennonite Central Committee, and last year, the couple applied for the position in Iran.

Mennonites and Quakers have long shared a kinship as faiths that advocate pacifism, and a position in Iran offered a chance at reconciliation work when “Muslim-Christian tensions are so high,” Kusse-Wolfe said.