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 Indiana and Iowa before completing a Masters of Divinity [M.Div.] at Princeton Theological Seminary [NJ]. He has worked in a variety of settings, including the Presbyterian Church (USA) and United Church of Christ (UCC) in Philadelphia, Hawai’i, Mexico, and Michigan. Currently, he serves as pastor of Love in Action United Church of Christ, a progressive, Christian, LGBTQIA+ affirming and interfaith community in Hatboro, a suburb of Philadelphia. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre/Speech from Northwestern College (IA). Josh has worked with youth and young adult programs for 25 years regionally, nationally, and in Latin America. He is also a trained actor and performs regularly with the dinner theatre company, Without a Cue Productions, LLC. He has developed theatre arts curriculum for use in worship, youth groups, education, and group-building. Josh is also committed to promoting religious pluralism and partnering with people of all faiths and those who identify as atheist or agnostic to build bridges of shared values and cooperation. He is honored to work with the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia as a Fellow and a Consultant. Focus areas include: University alternative spring break and summer programs that incorporate faith encounters and service-learning for students; workplace diversity programs that promote understanding in organizations, corporations, schools, and hospital settings. Josh also enjoys playing basketball, strumming on the guitar, traveling, learning language, or making strange and funny faces. He lives in Center City Philadelphia and thinks vegan cheesesteaks are amazingly good.

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