Thursday, June 4, 2020

Interfaith Grants to Build Understanding Through Art, Food, and Children's Stories

Lauren D. Gonzales Interfaith Stories to Encourage Understanding and Children’s Literacy"
Three University of the Incarnate Word Graduates have been awarded “Alumni Interfaith Starter Grants”  by the prestigious InterfaithYouth Core. Empowered by experiences with the UIW Ettling Center for CivicLeadership and Sustainability which has had Interfaith Youth Core Grants, Karla Bello-Mondragon invites people to share their own faith and learn of others' faiths through art. Seeing each others' creations online and discussion can lead to understanding and friendship. Alejandra Escobar invites people to “virtual potlucks,” with conversations on the importance of food for building fellowship, food associated with our own religious traditions, and the joy of table gatherings.  Lauren Gonzales will create films around delightful children’s story books. These will  build bridges of understanding between Sikhs, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and Christians. Participants will enjoy  information and activities and children can gain literacy skills. 

As a Catholic university, UIW strives to promote understanding as Pope Francis has said, “The Catholic Church is conscious of the importance of promoting friendship and respect between men and women of different religious traditions and of the responsibility which all of us have for our world, for the whole of creation, which we must love and protect. There is much that we can do to benefit the poor, the needy and those who suffer, and to favour justice, promote reconciliation and build peace.
    Alejandra Escobar sharing “Cooking Up Conversations: Interfaith Gatherings Centered on Food” 

The Interfaith Youth Core website notes that they are “working towards an America where people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions can bridge differences and find common values to build a shared life together. Look at American democracy today and you’ll see a society trying hard to live up to its ideals in the face of unprecedented diversity and difference. It’s not just in the news. In today’s America, we all navigate deep differences with others in our everyday lives. Especially when it comes to religion.  Whether or not our diversity is a good thing is entirely up to us. As a community, we can make it the thread that binds us closer. Otherwise, we allow apathy, tribalism, and voices of intolerance to define our futures.”

Sister Martha Ann Kirk, Th.D. who has mentored Bello-Mondragon, Escobar, and Gonzales says, “These young women with their knowledge, skills, and passion for respect, understanding, and cooperation give me great hope for the future.”                                         
                 Karla Bello-Mondragon shares "Painting with Faith: an Interfaith Art Workshop”                        
To learn more details about how families, friends, individuals from their homes can participate in these enjoyable virtual opportunities: 

“Painting with Faith: an interfaith art workshop,” starting July 19, Sunday at 6 pm, see  Embark on a new adventure!  

For  Cooking Up Conversations: Interfaith Gatherings Centered on Food,” or “Interfaith Stories to Encourage Understanding and Children’s Literacy," return here for registration details. Centers and schools can also participate in some of these activities which will start soon.  

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