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Interfaith Spring Break Recap

Posted by on Thursday, March 24, 2016 in News.

Guest article by M. Div Candidate Tyler Coles

This past spring break, the offices of the University Chaplain and Religious Life (OUCRL) and the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) hosted the second annual Interfaith Spring Break Trip to Washington D.C. Over the course of the five days that we were in the Capital City, we visited a host different sacred spaces, museums, and historic locations. It goes without saying that it was a busy couple of days. Yet great conversations were shared and many students left with new insights concerning how they understand their own tradition in relationship to others. Overall, it was a small reminder that interfaith cooperation can and does have a significant role to play in making our world a more compassionate and understanding place.

When we hosted our initial pre-departure meetings, we asked students why they were interested in taking part in the spring break trip when they could easily go to the beach with their friends or sleep the week away? We were truly surprised by their responses: some said they really wanted to take part in an intentional interfaith activity, others said they had never visited D.C. before, and a few even said that they didn’t know much about religion and thought taking part would be a “cool experience.” Well, they were right! Within two hours of arriving to the city we were off to see our first site visit, the Founding Church of Scientology. Over the course of the next several days we spoke with members from the Islamic Center of Washington D.C. and the 6th and I Synagogue. We took tours of the National Mall, the General Board of Church & Society’s location within the Methodist Building, and the National Holocaust Museum. We made prayers at the Kadampa Buddhist Center and joined the All Souls Church congregation for Wednesday vespers. We got lost in subways, eat way to many sweets, and walked a lot!

The trip overall was a total success! We want to thank all those who took part in this exciting opportunity. Remember, if you are interested in taking part but aren’t convinced if you should. Just read about the experience from one of this year’s participants below…

“I came into the Interfaith Spring Break trip with an understanding of racial, gender, and sexual diversity, but had little experience with people from different faith backgrounds. Visiting sacred spaces with a group of strangers certainly forced me out of my comfort zone, but it also inspired me to have meaningful discussions and make unique friendships. I am very grateful to have experienced such a unique spring break trip with such a wonderful group of people!”
– Esther Taati, Junior