Recently, the partner schools of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Consortium for Higher Education (SEPCHE), including Chestnut Hill College, hosted their fourth annual Diversity Conference at Arcadia University. This year’s theme was Valuing and Embracing Diversity: Exploring Interfaith Dialogue.
As with most SEPCHE events, the College was well represented, sending nearly 20 students to give various presentations related to broadening interfaith dialogue. Joshua Woolaver ’17, a history major with a minor in religious studies, presented on Pope Francis’ desire for everyone to see the connections (and the importance of those connections) to religions other than Christianity, such as Islam and Judaism.
“I felt it necessary to discuss a current subject,” Woolaver says. “Pope Francis’ recent visit to Philadelphia and the amount of animosity recently shown toward the Islamic faith encouraged me to find a connection between Pope Francis’ words, which tell us to respect and take to heart what these other religions have to offer.”
Woolaver felt it was his duty to present on this important topic, as someone who has had his own experiences with learning about other religions. He felt it was important to share them with others, especially students at the conference.
“Interfaith differences appear to be a growing concern not only for our country but for many countries around the world,” he says. “I felt by presenting on this topic that I could highlight the beauty of each religion and really show that we can celebrate the differences and share in the common themes.”
- Marilee Gallagher '14
This story originally appeared in the February issue of Connections.