Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

An Interfaith Community at Carleton Strengthens Religious Identity

<an style="vertical-align: baseline">Last week, I realized in a sort of panic that I need to find a synagogue to attend after graduation, and an Episcopal church, and also probably an evangelical church.  Let me explain – I was raised in a quiet, mainline Protestant church in a liberal and largely secular town. My youth group went to a megachurch-type retreat once a year and then thoroughly critiqued the church’s conservative views, and my interfaith experiences were limited to a few Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. I wasn’t vocal about my religious practice – I never prayed out loud, and faith wasn’t something that I talked about with my friends.

When I came to Carleton, I knew that I wanted to be involved in religious life in some capacity, but the interfaith community I found at the chapel, as well the community within the Christian groups on campus , were unexpected and delightful surprises.  Through the encouragement and support of these groups, I’ve been exposed to and embraced a greater diversity of religious practice than I ever would have imagined, and my relationship with God is so much richer because of it. I met people here from all different backgrounds, who have completely different views of holy texts, prayer, worship, and spirituality, and we’re friends – we have conversations over meals together, we go on retreats together, we sing together, and some of us even live together.  These individuals have influenced my practice significantly, challenged my beliefs, and made me a better person.

Over my past four years, my religious practice has become more public and leadership oriented – as a Chaplain’s Associate, it is my job to be open about my faith practice and encourage others to explore various paths of finding meaning and purpose.  I have gained confidence in leading worship services, organizing events and retreats, facilitating discussions, and in sharing my story. The chapel has given me a space to grow, reflect, take action, build relationships, and embolden others to do the same.  I’ve found meaning in lighting the Shabbat candles, saying the New Zealand Lord’s prayer, singing Baha’i songs, and walking the prayer labyrinth on Stewsie island. My eyes have been opened to a multitude of ways to be in touch with and experience God. I’ve learned how to pray out loud.  

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *