Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Interfaith Discussions of Hope

Where do you find hope? It’s a question one must grapple with along life’s journey. Loving Our Religious Neighbors, a student group at Gordon College, is creating the opportunity for such conversation to take place through a student-led interfaith panel discussing the role of hope in different religions at this year's Symposium.

The Gordon College Symposium is a day-long series of workshops and seminars where students take the reins to lead events and discussions of their own design. This April marks Gordon’s 14th annual Symposium day, hosted by the Center for Christian Studies

Students and faculty are encouraged to plan collaborative events with this year's theme, Hope: Making All Things Newa theme also reflecting the inaugural year of new leadership at the College. The majority of Symposium events will take place in the Ken Olsen Science Center—including presentations, panel discussions, debates, interviews, art exhibits, and dance or musical performances—and will be held this Thursday, April 19, from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

The Loving Our Religious Neighbors Symposium event will welcome students from other colleges and universitiesincluding representatives from Harvard’s Interfaith Councilto share their personal perspectives on hope along with Gordon students. The event will take place in Jenks 406, from 1 - 2:30 p.m., with a question-and-answer session to follow. 

“It will be great to have a panel of diverse student perspectives on this issue,” said Zach Capalbo, a senior physics and computer science double major and co-leader of Loving Our Religious Neighbors. “I’m curious to hear a Humanist or Buddhist approach to hope in life after death, or their hopes for interfaith relations.” 

Loving Our Religious Neighbors is a newly formed group that Zach co-leads with fellow student Kyleen Burke ’12, a double major in philosophy and political science. In the spirit of Gordon's commitment to engaging global culture while remaining rooted in a supportive Christian community, the group seeks to learn about various religious traditions, outside of Christianity, in order to broaden personal understanding and open interesting conversations about faith and belief. The team has collaborated with Harvard’s Interfaith Council throughout the year participating in local food distributions, coastal clean-up days, farming, and working together for a rally against hunger in Boston.

“I hope people leave with more informed viewpoints,” said Capalbo. “If they come with any preconceived notions, this event might put a fellow student’s face to other religious traditions.”


Story by Kate Goodale ’12, a Communication Arts major from Connecticut and student writer in the Office of College Communications. To see video coverage on Loving Our Religious Neighbors by the Evangelical Chapter of the Foundation of Religious Diplomacy regarding Gordon's interfaith outreach with MIT, click here

Photo: Loving Our Religious Neighbors earlier this year in Cambridge at an interfaith arts showcase sponsored by the Harvard Interfaith Council. 

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