This Sunday, April 10, high school youth from BMPC will take part in an interfaith program called “Walking the Walk,” coordinated by the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia. The event will include youth from other local congregations including Mainline Reform Temple, New Horizons Islamic School, and Mainline Unitarian Church.
We will host the event at our church, which has long been known for being at the forefront of interfaith dialogue. Our time together will include an exploration of our sacred spaces (sanctuary, chapel) that will allow non-Christian youth to formulate questions about our Presbyterian tradition. There will also be a panel of religious leaders so our teens can ask questions of leaders from different faiths. The conversation will enable youth of various faiths to more deeply understand the differences and similarities of each tradition.
At tables of mixed faith traditions, our youth will also engage in an exercise called “speed faithing” where participants rotate around the room and have brief, but informative, conversations about one another’s faiths. Teens will share insights from their perspective and explore questions with curiosity. Working with teens, I find that they are very intrigued by learning about other faiths and that it helps them to identify what they believe.
This time of sharing and conversation builds upon connections that were made during the MLK Jr. Interfaith Service Day that many of the same youth participated in earlier in the year. The “Walking the Walk” experience for our youth is a symbol for peacemaking and interfaith dialogue that can be an example for people of all faiths. Now as much as ever, opportunities for peaceful dialogue and mutual understanding are a testament to God’s work of reconciliation in our world.