Teens Make Interfaith Connections

Teens Make Interfaith Connections

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What similarities and differences are there in the prayer and worship practices of Christianity and other religions?
What are the various values and beliefs in each faith?
How do you live out your beliefs each day?

These questions, among others, were raised and discussed by confirmands and a panel of interfaith guests during an Interfaith Exploration on April 3rd. This was the fourth in a series of Confirmation Enrichment virtual events held by the Faith Formation Team for Southern New England confirmands and their leaders. The panel of interfaith teens featured Eli, from the Jewish faith; Muhammed, from the Islamic faith; and Siddakk, from the Sikh faith. They are all a part of The Dignity Project, sponsored by the Hebrew College in Newton, Massachusetts. 

The Dignity Project is a fellowship program for high school students of all faiths in the greater Boston area. Students who are accepted into the program each year hone their skills in effective dialogue, they nurture compassion, and they learn about the beliefs of others through experiences within a diverse community, while making friends in the process. The participants find that at the end of each year, they have the desire to work toward a more just and inclusive society, and have built bridges of understanding and cooperation in order to stand up to bigotry and hate.

Throughout the presentations and breakout room discussions, participants discovered that our various religions have many of the same practices:

  • regular prayer,
  • congregational singing and song leaders,
  • the wearing of religious symbols such as a cross, the Star of David, a turban, and
  • special times for feasting, fasting, and limiting certain foods.


Muhammad spoke of the five pillars of Islam, and reminded us that all religions have rituals, as rituals are a part of being human.

Siddak shared the golden rules of Sikhism, and acknowleged that to be able to engage effectively with others, one first needs to accept others.

Eli shared that Judaism not only follows the Ten Commandments, but that there are 603 other laws to consider as well. He added that people in the Jewish faith strive to leave the world better than it is — a tenet that many other religions follow as well.

All agreed that having the opportunity to better understand the beliefs of each religion, and gaining a better understanding of other’s perspectives, has the potential for bringing about a more peaceful and just world. And as Mahatma Ghandi said, "Our innermost prayer should be that a Hindu should be a better Hindu, a Muslim a better Muslim, a Christian a better Christian."


If you and interested in learning more about The Dignity Project Fellowship and applying for the 2022-2023 program year, click here for more information.

And please fill out our SNEUCC Confirmation Survey to help us meet your needs in the upcoming year.

Author

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Debbie Gline Allen

Debbie Gline Allen serves as a Minister of Faith Formation on the Conference’s Faith Formation Ministry Team. She also serves as the administrator of the SNEUCC Faith Formation Leadership Program.  Her passion for ministry is with children and family...

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