Each thematic module intensives has a distinct theme—either a world religion or a particular aspect of Interfaith ministry. Class content flows between didactic and experiential, theological and psychological, artistic and reflective modalities. Although each is different, all of them contain elements of ministry, chaplaincy and spiritual care skill-building. Each module offers opportunities to explore prayer, meditation and ritual through the lens of a particular faith tradition. A contextual learning trip to a center of worship further integrates each module’s learnings. We’ve found that it is not enough just to read about the world’s religions; it is also vital to reach out into our communities and experience how others pray and celebrate their faiths. Recent field education experiences have included visits to a Mosque, a Sikh temple, an African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Christian church, a Hindu temple, a Buddhist temple, a Sufi sema gathering, and a Jewish Song of Songs service.
In addition, students prepare and present a short sermon for other students in the thematic module intensives. This is the part of each module where we are blessed to discover the gifts and talents of our students, as we come together to learn from each other. Sermons—like our studies overall—are not required to be in the didactic verbal presentation style; students are welcomed to use creative expression to convey their messages. Preparing and offering sermons is an important part of each module. Shy students receive support and encouragement to find their personal voice. The messages offered by our students transcend the limits of the educational exercise itself, becoming part of our interconnections with other members of the student community, as well as part of the growing collective body of inter-religious wisdom speaking to the spiritual needs of our pluralistic world.