Religion and Spirituality Week Promotes Interfaith Dialogue on Campus

Linda Hou '13

Religion and Spirituality Week
Promotes Interfaith Dialogue

by Linda Hou '13
2/24/11

religion and spirituality week
Shane Claiborne of the Simple Way, a faith community in Philadelphia, speaks to students about the Christian gospel and social justice.

While college is often a time for academic and intellectual work, Sydni Adler '13 sees a necessity for there also to be an open space for discussions of spirituality and religion.

"I think sometimes it's a little hard to talk about spirituality," says Adler, an Interfaith Center intern. "Swarthmore is so logical all the time, and spirituality sometimes takes back seat to all of that. When we do talk about it, it's great, and everyone I talk to has such interesting ideas. I want to hear more and make it more fun to talk about."

Adler, along with fellow intern Ashley Vogel '13, Interfaith Center adviser Joyce Tompkins, and other members of the campus religious community promoted dialogue through this year's Religion and Spirituality Week. Activities from campus Christian, Jewish, and Buddhist groups, as well as events and discussions involving all faiths, took place, including a parlor party, interfaith text studies, interfaith discussions, a zen retreat, a Shabbat observance, a film screening, and a shape note singing session. Students also wrote their "prayer for Swarthmore" on flags that were hung in Shane Lounge.

"On Monday, we had a very interesting discussion on what it means to be a person of multifaith background," says Chris Geissler '13, a religion major and the head of the Buddhist Community. "Taking time to consider different kinds of awareness and turn both within ourselves as individuals and as a society to reflect and consider is what spirituality is all about."

"The whole thing I like about interfaith here is that there are so many religious groups on campus and they're all really fun," Adler adds. "I hope people are comfortable joining them and that people are talking about spirituality in general. Even if you don't have a particular identification with a certain faith, it's really important to have a space to discuss your spirituality."