Interfaith Encounters Day 5

On a rainy Wednesday, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Repair the World, Wepac, and W. C. Longstreth School.

WePAC’s mission is to promote childhood literacy by engaging volunteers in Philadelphia public schools through re-opening and staffing libraries and academic mentoring. In their vision, every Philadelphia student will be empowered with the literacy skills vital to the success of the child and the prosperity of the community.

Our service-learning coordinator Rel from Repair the World, gave us various tasks in the library like sorting books, alphabetizing, computer work, and shelving.

After the library work, Rel led us in a reflective time to learn about literacy and libraries in Philadelphia and the lack of librarians in the city. We learned about the necessity of volunteers for programs like Wepac, and how they impact the lives of children in the area. And, we will all admit, while we were working, it was really hard not to read the books!

It was indeed a rainy day, but the group decided to explore Reading Terminal Market and the Art Museum in Center City Philly.

Another great day. Tomorrow, Friday, is our last one together and it will be packed. See you then!

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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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