IF House Project displayed on campus!

 

Jackie and Amy’s house project this semester was a continuation of a house project from the fall semester. Jackie and Grace had set up boxes around campus last semester and encouraged students to answer some of the big questions of life, faith, belief and non-belief. This semester, Amy and Jackie took those answers and wanted to display them visually to the campus.

Sprawled across the living room some members of the house helped Amy and Jackie as they wrote the questions on big sheets along with the answers from last semester. The banners were hung up along student’s walks to class where they could read others anonymous answers and add their own.

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Banners hung on the walk to class.

Banners hung on the walk to class.

Opening up IF House for Easter

Since many students on campus are unable to go home for Easter every year, the Interfaith House opened up its doors for the second year to welcome students who wanted to do some childhood Easter activities. We had egg painting and an Easter egg hunt and got to spend time enjoying the holiday with members of the house. Here are a few photos from the event.

Painting eggs.

Painting eggs.

Getting ready for an egg hunt.

Getting ready for an egg hunt.

Egg hunt Marshall Anna!

Egg hunt Marshall Anna!

After the egg hunt.

After the egg hunt.

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IF House 2nd Annual Night of Unity

On a Thursday night, April 10 (as an extension of Better Together Day celebrations), students from across campus gathered in the student center for the second annual “Night of Unity” organized by IF House member Brianna with collaboration with Better Together and the Chaplain’s Office. The event was opened up to anyone on campus who wanted to talk about their personal spiritual journeys and the event had over 40 attendees. The performances ranged from bible readings, to original poetry, dance presentations, and musical performances. The Ohio Wesleyan student newspaper covered the event here. Below are some quotes from their article written by Spenser Hickey and Jija Dutt as well as some photos taken by Spenser Hickey on behalf of the newspaper.

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Brianna and Chaplain Powers at the event.

Brianna and Chaplain Powers at the event.

 

“I am a true believer in unity and how we are all really better when we work, learn and love together,” Robinson said.

She added that her main goal was to reach out to as many people as she could.

“I wanted to get people to talk about (faith and unity,)” she said.

“Communication is key for change.”

At OWU, Vinciguerra said that interfaith dialogue can be hindered by the misconception that only religious people can participate.

“That is not true at all and I wish that was something that was more widely understood,” she said.

“I would love to see more people who don’t subscribe to a particular religion participating in these events because they have critical things to say, things that I think we all need to hear.”

“Interfaith to me means an open and understanding community where we can all grow and learn from each other,” Vinciguerra added.

“It doesn’t mean that we all agree all the time, it doesn’t mean that we ignore the differences between our beliefs, but it means that we embrace those differences and learn more about ourselves and others in the process.”

“Not everyone in this room knows each other – I know that for sure – but we’re here together,” Robinson said in her closing speech.

IF House celebrates Better Together Day!

This year we have several members of the Interfaith House who are active members of our university’s Better Together club. Better Together is a national student campaign for interfaith action. Across the country, students have come together to talk about issues of faith and unite to act on issues that matter to them.

On April 10, 2014 our campus celebrated “Better Together Day” for the first time! We gathered out on the JayWalk, gave out candy, blew bubbles, handed out interfaith quotes and celebrated the fact that we are better together. Some students even shared why they think we are all Better Together.

These are just a few photos from the event. We had so much fun celebrating with everyone!

IF House Member: Amy

IF House Member: Amy

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Blowing bubbles with Chaplain Powers!

IF House Member: Rachel

IF House Member: Rachel

The whole gang!

The whole gang!

Future IF House Member: Chase

Future IF House Member: Chase

IF House Member: Jenna

IF House Member: Jenna

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Future IF House Member: Dean

Future IF House Member: Dean

Future IF House Member: Sally

Future IF House Member: Sally

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IF House Member: Katasha

IF House Member: Katasha

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IF House teams up with Better Together for Speed Faithing

This semester, IF House member Jenna, organized a speed faithing event for our campus. Jenna reached out to all religious and non-religious organizations on campus to make sure everyone’s voice would be heard at the event. During the event, she (with the help of Better Together) set up tables around the room for each group to sit at and allowed participants in speed faithing to walk from table to table and listen and ask questions.  Many groups brought along fact sheets, games, quizzes, booklets and pamphlets that engaged participants and allowed them to continue reading and learning after the event.  Leaders from each religious and belief system community were invited to sit at the tables and be part of the conversations as well.

The event included representatives of:

Atheism

Buddhism

Baha’i

Catholicism

Christianity

Humanism

Interfaith/Better Together

Judaism

Islam

Polytheism

Unitarian Universalism

The event was a huge success and students from all over the campus community came to participate on a Friday afternoon.  People were able to share basic information about their religious traditions or belief systems, respond to common stereotypes, and explain how they personally practice their faith or non-faith. We all learned a little more about what makes each of us different but also the thoughts and beliefs that what we all share. Below are just a few photos from the event taken by Interfaith House member, Katasha.

Atheism Table

The Atheism and Humanism Table

Interfaith (Better Together) Table

The Interfaith/Better Together Table

Playing an interfaith symbols game at the Better Together table.

Playing an interfaith symbols game at the Better Together table.

The Catholicism Table.

The Catholicism Table.

The Islam Table.

The Islam Table.

The Judaism Table.

The Judaism Table.

The Bah'ai Table.

The Baha’i Table.

The Unitarian Universalism Table.

The Unitarian Universalism Table.

 

Interfaith Theatre presents… “A Stonewater Rapture”

Theatre is such a powerful form of art that moves people in different ways.  One person can watch a play and take away a completely different message than the person sitting next to them.  Religion can be a bit like this too. Just because someone calls themselves Jewish does not mean that she has the same personal practices and beliefs as someone who also identifies as a Jew.

Last semester Jenna organized a talk-back after the production of, “A Stonewater Rapture” by Doug Wright, at Ohio Wesleyan.  This play was the collaborative senior project of Jackie (our housemate!) and Matthew, both senior theatre majors.  The story included themes of religion in our everyday lives and the good and the bad that can come of it.  Jackie (actor), Matthew (actor), Claire (director), and Jenna sat on stage after the Saturday show, and led the discussion with audience members.Image

The play had heavy themes and certainly emphasized some negative effects that religion and firmly-held convictions can have on communities and relationships. Audience members shared their reactions to the play, including issues they themselves struggle with in their faiths, beliefs and religions.  The environment of the talk-back was open and respectful, and people clearly felt comfortable discussing controversial and personal thoughts.  The actors were also able to share their experiences and reactions to their characters with the audience.

When discussing reactions to any type of art or entertainment, people often shy away from approaching religion and faith.  This event encouraged the audience to openly talk about these themes, and everyone really responded to the invitation.  Both OWU students, faculty and community members spent this evening learning more about each other’s beliefs and engaging in meaningful interfaith discussion.

Far from Home but Close at Heart

This summer IF House is taking the world by storm. We moved out of our lovely home in May after a year filled with fun and thought-provoking house projects. And even though we’re scattered across the globe, we keep in touch and look forward to swapping stories and hanging out in the living room upon our return in the fall.

Here’s just a taste of what we’ve been up to far from home.

ABBIE

Abbie at SASQUATCH music festival before she headed to India for a 6-week Himalayan adventure. After being detained in Sangla Valley due to extreme flooding, her and her friends have been rescued and will continue on their adventures!

Abbie at SASQUATCH music festival before she headed to India for a 6-week Himalayan adventure. After being detained in Sangla Valley due to extreme flooding, her and her friends have been rescued and will continue on their adventures!

AMANDA

After graduating this spring, Amanda returned to OWU for a friend's wedding! And is enjoying being a real life adult =)

After graduating this spring, Amanda returned to OWU for a friend’s wedding! And is enjoying being a real life adult =)

AMY

Amy spent the first 3-weeks of the summer visiting and interview artists in their studios that reflect the different cultures in New Mexico.

Amy spent the first 3-weeks of the summer visiting and interview artists in their studios that reflect the different cultures in New Mexico. And although she’s working now at Six Flags and creating beautiful art projects in her free time, she’s happy for all she’s learning and for the people she’s met along the way.

ANNA

Exploring Machu Picchu with OWU travel learning course "The Andes: Environment, Poverty, and People"

Exploring Machu Picchu with OWU travel learning course “The Andes: Environment, Poverty, and People”

BRENDA

Brenda is continuing her Latin American adventures in Mexico!

Brenda is continuing her Latin American adventures in Mexico!

BRIANNA

Brianna is spending time with her family this summer! And welcoming a new member into the family, Brianna's new niece, Amira Sophie.

Brianna is spending time with her family this summer! And welcoming a new member into the family, Brianna’s new niece, Amira Sophie.

FIG

fig

Fig sanding walls in New Orleans as a volunteer to rebuild houses. This summer she’s celebrating her sister’s wedding and getting ready for her first year of work for the CCO.

GRACE

Grace hiking in Bar Harbor earlier this summer. This past week she got to sing a reunion show with Boston Children's Chorus at Out of the Box in Boston.

Grace hiking in Bar Harbor earlier this summer. This past week she got to sing a reunion show with Boston Children’s Chorus at Out of the Box in Boston.

JACKIE

Jackie on her latest adventures in Terragona, Spain after studying abroad for the semester in Denmark.

Jackie on her latest adventures in Terragona, Spain after studying abroad for the semester in Denmark.

JENNA

Here is Jenna working on a research project this summer through the Boyce Thompson Institute of Plant Research at Cornell.  The ultimate goal we're trying to achieve is to improve photosynthesis in plants. Jenna is trying to put this little structure from a bacteria that can do photosynthesis in a plant and see if it helps the plant grow better.

Here is Jenna working on a research project this summer through the Boyce Thompson Institute of Plant Research at Cornell. The ultimate goal we’re trying to achieve is to improve photosynthesis in plants. Jenna is trying to put this little structure from a bacteria that can do photosynthesis in a plant and see if it helps the plant grow better.

KATHLEEN

Kathleen is working at Jacob's Pillow this summer (and putting the festival studios to good use). Jordan and Kathleen are starting to gather ideas for a piece we will be presenting at Movement Research in December as part of their up-and-coming dance company "Equal Footing"

Kathleen is working at Jacob’s Pillow this summer (and putting the festival studios to good use). Jordan and Kathleen are starting to gather ideas for a piece they will be presenting at Movement Research in December as part of their up-and-coming dance company “Equal Footing.”

KP

"Netflix and Eating" KP says. Living the postgrad life.

“Netflix and Eating” KP says. Living the postgrad life.

MIMI

mimi

Mimi returned home recently after her semester studying abroad in Argentina!

RACHEL T.

Rachel is living it up in Spain this summer!

Rachel is living it up in Spain this summer!

RACHEL V.

Tying a ribbon to a Buddhist shrine in Nepal on a school grant trip to study the effects of tourism on the Helambu region of Nepal.

Tying a ribbon to a Buddhist shrine in Nepal on a school grant trip to study the effects of tourism on the Helambu region. Rachel has spent the summer traveling from an orphanage in Haiti, to a IF-house trip to New Orleans and some other smaller trips on the weekends.

For some of us, the family time didn’t stop when we left campus. You know what they say, families that travel together, stay together. Here are some photos of our IF family outside of the house.

IF takes La Paz!

Anna and Brenda

Anna and Brenda on their travel-learning course to the Andes.

And New Orleans!

KP, Rachel and Fig

KP, Rachel and Fig on their volunteer trip to New Orleans for Women’s Rebuild Week.

See many of you back home soon!

Little Rachel

This post was brought to you by massive amounts of facebook creeping and too much free time.

Interfaith Adventures in Italy

A Church in Rome

A Church in Rome

In June, I traveled with a group of OWU students to Italy where we spent two weeks studying landscape painting. Of course, we weren’t so focused as to ignore other aspects of culture such as the food and the architecture. Although even the tiniest of towns had several churches, I was always quite moved when we would visit one. I do not identify with the Christian, or more specifically to Italy Catholic, Church, but it was hard to not feel awe in these structures. The best designed churches are those that are meant to humble the faithful. If nothing else, I found myself in awe of the people who worked together to create these places, from wealthy patrons to simple workers. Every church we visited, usually to see some specific painting or statue, I took a moment to sit quietly and thank whatever powers may be that I am blessed enough to be studying something I love in such a beautiful place with such great company.

Even in the small town of Cortona in the very Catholic country of Italy, I found Tibetan prayer flags!

Even in the small town of Cortona in the very Catholic country of Italy, I found Tibetan prayer flags!

The main focus of the trip was the landscape. It was so beautiful it was hard not to focus on. Practicing our plein-air (outdoor, on location) painting skills, I spent much time sitting alone outdoors. I had only a couple hours for each painting and whether I was in the mood or not, I was stuck there with only my mind, the canvas and nature to keep me company. I had to work fast because the light is always changing and I never knew when a sudden rain storm would pick up. It was such a good reminder to live in the moment, be thankful for the good things that are happening, and to try to enjoy the process of actively creating something. It is here, in tune with nature, myself and the moment that I find my own spirituality.

Here is a small landscape painting I did on location in the beautiful hills of Tuscany.

Here is a small landscape painting I did on location in the beautiful hills of Tuscany.

Katasha

Happy Easter!

Penniless Traveler

Happy Easter everyone! Today we celebrated Easter at the Interfaith House. Veggie Meal Club, Tree House and Cultures of the World House brought the delicious vegetarian food and we ate risotto, squash, deviled potatoes (instead of eggs), salad and oatmeal cookies!

easter

It was a really nice reminder of the incredible community we have here–both in the SLU (small living unit) community and at Ohio Wesleyan. That we could all come together at Easter and sit down and have a meal together is a testament to that. For people from all over the country, with different faith traditions and beliefs, who couldn’t or didn’t go home for Easter, to have a friendly place to go is certainly a blessing.

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We had an Easter Egg hunt!

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And dyed eggs.

I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful afternoon.

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