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Hendricks Chapel seeks applicants for 2011 spring break interfaith trip
Hendricks Chapel is currently accepting applications from Syracuse University and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry undergraduate and graduate students for the chapel’s 2011 interfaith spring break trip.
The chapel will sponsor “Many Faiths … One Humanity,” an interfaith travel study experience to London, March 13-22, 2011. The chapel seeks 24 students from various faith traditions, including but not limited to Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Humanist, Jewish, Muslim and Pagan, to create a balanced community for this unique experience.
Those participating in the experience will travel together to London to explore the rich and complex dynamics of life in a global, religiously plural city. Prior to traveling, participants will gather to share personal experiences and learn about historic and contemporary religious pluralism.
In London, participants will engage the living communities of many faith traditions and life stances and learn concrete strategies for collaborative action. They will use the lens of video to foster interreligious dialogue and interpret their experience. An interactive art installation documenting the experience will be displayed at Hendricks Chapel after the trip.
“‘’Many Faiths … One Humanity’ is an exciting opportunity for students, not just to travel, but to grow in their understanding, appreciation and advocacy of interreligious dialogue and engagement,” says Hendricks Chapel Dean Tiffany Steinwert. “By studying, living and learning together, students will create a diverse community in which they will be able to engage one another in meaningful interreligious reflection and action.”
Steinwert and several Hendricks chaplains will accompany the students on the trip. Hendricks Chapel has sponsored previous interfaith experiences to Spain, Turkey and Jerusalem. This year is unique in that an artistic component will be added to help participants create meaning and interpret their experience to the wider community. Anne Beffel, an artist and associate professor in SU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, will assist the Hendricks staff in teaching students the art of contemplative video as a means of dialogue and non-violent conflict resolution. Using the literal lens of a video camera, students will capture their experience for others and use their images as a way to create conversation among themselves and the wider Syracuse community. Their videos will be shown as an art installation in both the Everson Museum and in Hendricks Chapel in the spring.
Steinwert says that in a time of increased religious intolerance, it is more important than ever to model a different way of being. “This travel experience offers students an opportunity to put their scholarship in action by building intentional and constructive relationships across differences that embody for the world the type of religious inclusion that we at Hendricks so dearly value,” she says.
Among the highlights of the trip’s itinerary are an evening prayer service at St. Paul’s Cathedral, visits to the Islamic Centre of England, Parliament, a Hindu temple, a Buddhist temple, a Sikh temple, Stonehenge and West London Synagogue. Participants will also celebrate the Jewish festival of Purim and view a screening of the 2007 British drama “Brick Lane.”
Prior to the trip, participants are required to attend an all-day Contemplative Video Workshop on Oct. 9 and participate in an interactive, community-building course that explores religious pluralism in London and the wider global community. The course will be held on Monday evenings during the spring semester.
After the trip, participants will meet for four follow-up class sessions to plan for public dissemination of the group’s experience to the University through public forums, classes and the interactive art installation.
The cost of the trip is $3,500 to $3,800, depending on enrollment, and includes all transportation, transfers, lodging and dinners (breakfast and lunch not included). Students are encouraged to apply regardless of their financial status. A variety of scholarships is available.
Those interested in applying must describe the following in no more than four typed, double-spaced pages: their commitment to their own faith tradition or life stance and how it forms their understanding of the world and humanity; significant experiences they have had outside their faith and cultural group; what they have to offer to the experience; and what they hope to bring home from the experience, related to goals for academics, career aspiration and campus/community living.
Completed applications, including name, home and campus addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses, should be delivered to the Hendricks Chapel Dean’s Office by 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1.
For more information, contact Hendricks Chapel at 443-2901.