Interfaith Immersion Day 2, Part 2

Monday Eve

Image result for LDS church philadelphiaOn Monday night we headed to Center City Philadelphia for a visit to the Church of Latter Day Saints [Mormons]. We started out at their meeting house where many meetings, classes, and other organizational business take place.

There were also rehearsals going on for the upcoming theatrical performance of “Savior of the World.” We met first in the chapel, where members of this community worship.

Our host Amanda introduced other leaders who were present, including missionary couples and executive level leadership in the Philadelphia regional grouping of the LDS church. One such leader shared a bit about how Mormons view the history of their faith and how it relates to the Jewish scriptures [the Torah, the prophets, the wisdom literature], the Christian scriptures [the New Testament], and the Book of Mormon [a historical and spiritual record of the culture and community called Mormons].

Soon after, we moved to another room where classes take place. Other leaders answered questions and shared from their personal experiences as a Mormon. The two groups of students from Ohio Wesleyan and Jefferson had great questions about the structure of the Mormon church and the influence of modern culture, youth retention, etc.

Later on, we moved into another space [like a conference room] and had more interactions and Q&A.

Oh yes, and cookies.

Finally, we moved to the newly-built temple which is only accessible by card-carrying Mormons [those who are practicing Mormons in good standing with the LDS church].

One of the regional leaders shared a bit about the space, its various purposes, and the history of how the temple was allowed to be built in Philly. This is where we were.

Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple - Foyer Entry Computer Rendering

We learned about the spaces in the temple where people are baptized and married.

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Baptismal Font
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Marriage Ceremony Space

All in all, it was definitely a whirlwind tour, but once again, I was impressed by the students’ thoughtfulness, curiosity, and emotional intelligence. Looking forward to tomorrow!

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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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