Interfaith Immersion Week

Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia

March 11-17 I am spending my days and evenings with students and faculty from Jefferson University and Ohio Wesleyan University as part of the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia’s Interfaith Encounters Alternative Break program. The two groups represent various traditions, including but not limited to: Hindu, Muslim, Christian, and Secular. The Ohio Wesleyan students range from sophomores to seniors, with an eclectic mix of majors and minors in their study portfolios; they are accompanied by a psychology professor who is also Associate Dean for Academic Performance; and also joining in is the Director of Media and Community Relations. The Jefferson group is made up of 3 graduate students, all with intriguing academic goals, and their Spiritual  Development Coordinator who works in the office of Student Engagement.

The idea is simple enough: we visit 5 different religious communities, participate in/experience what they do, meet people of other faith traditions, ask questions, and learn. Also, we participate in 4 service-learning projects with different non-profits engaged in work for the common good of all. And we do this in Philadelphia.

I’ll be blogging all week and sharing my experiences with the two groups. Feel free to stop by and check out the pictures and reflections. As always, I’ll be sharing links about the different faith traditions and communities, as well as the service-learning partners, so you can learn more at your own leisure. So let’s go!

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Josh grew up in the Midwest before completing a B.A. in Theatre at Northwestern College [IA] and a Masters of Divinity [M.Div.] at Princeton Theological Seminary [NJ]. An ordained minister in the United Church of Christ [UCC], Josh has lived and worked in the Midwest, East Coast, Hawai’i, and Mexico. He is the co-founder and Executive Director of The Welcome Project PA, host of the Bucks-Mont PRIDE Festival, and he is Pastor of Love In Action UCC, an open and affirming congregation featured in a Vox Media episode of Divided States of Women with Liz Plank and in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Josh has 20+ years of nonprofit experience, including leading workshops and training in corporate, medical, and academic settings, focused on diversity & inclusion, grant writing, fund raising, and program management. Josh is a fellow of Interfaith Philadelphia, and designs and coordinates HS and University student groups for interfaith immersion service-learning weeks. Josh also co-facilitates Ally trainings for LGBTQIA+ inclusion and interfaith cooperation. He is a founding member of The Society for Faith & Justice, and a Collaborator for Nurturing Justice, and a member of the Driving PA Forward team via New Sanctuary Movement. He also performs regularly with the dinner theatre company, Without a Cue Productions, and has developed theatre arts curriculum for use in religious and secular settings. Josh also enjoys running, singing, traveling, learning languages, or making strange and funny faces. He lives in Center City Philly.

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