AC Interfaith Alliance
So, let me tell you a story…
Ever since I was little I went to church on Sunday and tried to follow along with the service. I wasn’t old enough to understand the true meaning which made each minute feel like an hour. I was anxiously waiting for the community brunch afterwards because that meant that I got to eat all the cinnamon rolls and cookies I wanted. My friends and I took off with our goodies and hid in all our favorite nooks and crannies. My family was extremely involved in church, my mom taught the little ones during Sunday school and my brother and I were in the children’s choir. I sang all the classic songs as loud as I could and wore the itchiest robes. I looked forward to church because that was what Sundays were all about.
As the years went on, swim meets and other activities slowly began to get in the way and going to church got put on the back burner. While I was less involved, I never lost my faith. It wasn’t until Middle School that I learned more about my beliefs. I was finally old enough to understand the lessons and what they were trying to teach. The only problem was that I didn’t know how these lessons were supposed to relate to me. Again, I wasn’t doubting my faith, but I had some questions that I needed answered. I was confirmed Episcopalian at the end of High School and went along with the thought that the answers I needed would be answered when the time was right.
My first year at Assumption began and I was overwhelmed with the new atmosphere. 90% of my friends went to church every day and knew Catholicism to an extent I could never imagine. I struggled to find my place, I was forced to think about my religion and beliefs in a new way that I wasn’t used to or even ready for. I didn’t have the answers to the questions everyone asked. I didn’t know how to adapt to the atmosphere. I tried going to events on campus and I even joined a few clubs. The problem was that I couldn’t find that right fit.
It wasn’t until this past January that I finally found my place. I attended an Interfaith Conference put together by the Interfaith Youth Core. I spent a long weekend in an environment where nobody had the exact same beliefs. The conference was filled with hundreds of students from campuses all around the world who represented many religions that I didn’t know anything about. There were even students who didn’t have beliefs. They helped all of us college students learn to create positive relationships across differences and our abilities to foster knowledge of other traditions.
Suddenly, all the questions I had been asking since I was little were finally starting to get answered. We were taught how to tell our story. How to share our experiences regarding our faith or journeys throughout life. It was through all the other student’s personal stories that I could finally learn how to tell mine. What intrigued me the most was that the stories that I could relate with were from students whose religions had the same core beliefs, but practices that were so different from Episcopalism.
When I got back from this life changing experience I knew that interfaith was something that belonged on Assumption’s campus. AC Interfaith Alliance was created shortly after to provide a welcoming, respectful and nurturing environment for people of spiritual, religious, and non-religious identities. We want to help students come together in building relationships, fostering dialogue and serving the community we live in. Assumption is a diverse campus and AC Interfaith Alliance will help us understand all our different backgrounds so that we can cherish the meaning of being a “hound”.
If you are looking for your place to belong or just want to learn more about different backgrounds I seriously recommend coming to our meetings and getting involved. We are still a new growing program but we have high expectations. We plan to hold events such as watch parties, speed faithing, volunteer work and more. The purpose of interfaith is for all of us to share our stories and find out how these stories can help our community. The only way to make a difference is to voice, engage and act now, I voiced my story with the hopes that it might make an impact on our campus and help all of you find your way, like interfaith helped me find mine. Assumption will always be better when we are together.