Multifaith Musings: New Opportunities for Interfaith Engagement Posted on February 10th, 2020 by

As religious hate crimes escalate around the country, it is heartening to see a similar rise in efforts to promote inter-religious understanding. Below I describe three initiatives that give me hope: a new statewide organization, a community program, and an event here at Gustavus. These are just a few examples out of many. Future posts on “Multifaith Musings” will highlight other interfaith groups and happenings here and elsewhere that are worth your attention and support, along with interviews of students from different religious traditions. 

A New Statewide Organization: Minnesota Multifaith Network

December 16, 2019 marked the official kick-off of the Minnesota Multifaith Network (MnMN),  whose mission is to build a collaborative network across the state between groups promoting inter-religious understanding. MnMN plans to strengthen relationships, equip leaders, and enhance the collective impact of congregations and interfaith organizations working to promote justice and peace among people of diverse religions. Specific programs include a speakers’ bureau and an Interfaith Response Network to address hate crimes in a coordinated manner.  Two years in development, MnMN takes over the networking functions of the St. Paul Interfaith Network and the Twin Cities Interfaith Network, while also bringing in congregations and other organizations across the state. 

You can learn more about MnMN on their website.

A Community Program: “Seeking Understanding Among Religions” February 15

February 15 will be an eventful day on the Gustavus campus, with many hundreds attending the funeral of Herbert Chilstrom, the beloved former presiding bishop of the ELCA. Those not attending the funeral or other campus events may wish to register for a daylong program at Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Peter, entitled “Seeking Understanding Among Religions,” sponsored by the Barbara and Justin Simpson Endowment Fund. Gustavus religion professors Dr. Sarah Ruble and Dr. John Cha will be among the speakers addressing the views of other religions held by Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and Muslims. The goal is to replace suspicion and fear with wonder and acceptance. Registration and information can be found here. Students pay nothing; others pay $15. Registration deadline is early this week. 

A Gustavus Event: “Fast-a-thon” February 20

On Thursday, February 20, two Gustavus student organizations–the Multifaith Leadership Council and the Muslim Student Association–will be collaborating on a “Fast-a-thon,” a program drawing attention to the role of fasting in different religious traditions. Students and others are invited to fast for the day (in whatever form makes sense to them) and to contribute money saved to Hikmah, a program of the St. Peter Islamic Center that tutors children in English and math. The day will end with a delicious dinner (at no charge) and a multifaith panel of students discussing fasting in their religious traditions. Registration deadline for Gustavus students, staff, and faculty is midnight on February 12. You can register here.

Marian Broida pic

Dr. Marian Broida, Interfaith Program Coordinator, Office of the Chaplains, Gustavus Adolphus College


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