While deeply rooted in the Catholic faith, UIW boasts a rich and spiritually diverse community. The University now counts some five major faith traditions among its increasingly diverse and international community, and a new grant awarded to the Ettling Center for Civic Leadership and Sustainability is helping to strengthen the ties between the faiths and between faculty and students.
For a full year starting this fall, the Interfaith Innovation Grant, given by the Interfaith Youth Core, is funding 15 faculty members to learn about multiple faiths, attend gatherings and take part in special service learning endeavors alongside their students. e initiative may see participants working on behalf of Burmese or Libyan refugees, Jewish community centers and city departments. What’s more, information about multiple faiths will also be posted online for everyone’s benefit.
“We are faced with different doctrines, but we can all agree that we can work together to make the world better,” says Sr. Martha Ann Kirk, CCVI, professor of religious studies and the grant’s director alongside Dr. Lopita Nath, UIW associate professor and chair of the History Department. The grant comes at a critical time when interfaith awareness can help inspire deeper understanding and respect for different faiths and the people who practice them.
“Prejudice has been growing in the U.S., but in the face of it, we can do all sorts of good,” says Kirk. “What are the best things we can do? Learn and love.”