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Since our founding in 2004, Interfaith Philadelphia's vision is to have our region reflect the vibrancy of a religiously diverse democracy, one in which all people are valued, distinctive traditions are welcomed, and people of diverse backgrounds collaborate to shape a just and compassionate society.

 

In 2014, we began to envision how we could more fully develop our goals of educating and encouraging more people who seek to bridge differences and work for the common good by working with schools of higher education preparing students for vocations in religious leadership.

 

We know from our research, as well as conversations, that there is a need for today’s generation of leaders to be well-equipped to serve in the rich mix of the multicultural, multireligious world into which they are graduating.  We also know that it is not always possible for academic institutions to individually offer the courses, practical learnings, and experiences of interfaith encounter that are needed and desired.  As a backbone organization with education and dialogue amongst religious differences at our center, we started developing the concept of an Inter-Seminary Initiative.

 

We are grateful to The E. Rhodes and Elana B. Carpenter Foundation for its substantial support of this initiative since its inception. This has allowed us to create opportunities for interfaith learning among faculty members, administrators, and students, preparing them to live and lead faithfully in a religiously diverse world.

 

Rev. Edward Livingston is the project manager for this initiative and oversees the logistics, timeline, development, and implementation of the Initiative, but the scope and direction of the Initiative will be largely defined by the leaders from the participating schools. In addition to the recent retreat, we are engaged in a series of 'Listening Sessions' with seminaries that may choose to be partners in one or more aspects of the project.

ISI Student Interview Series:
What Chaplaincy Can Teach Us

What does it mean to lead in a religiously diverse and pluralistic society?

 

In this series, students from religious institutions throughout the Philadelphia region share their stories and experiences serving as chaplains, and discuss the impact religious diversity has on religious leadership.

Watch the full series on YouTube.