Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: A Chorus of Faiths: A Program That Builds Interfaith Youth Leaders

Activity 6: Introduction to Planning the Interfaith Service Event

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint, markers, and tape
  • Calendar
  • Optional: Leader Resource 1, Religious Pluralism PowerPoint
  • Optional: Computer and large monitor or projector and screen

Preparation for Activity

  • Purchase a large calendar you can display, ideally a laminated calendar you can write on with dry erase markers. It will need to cover the time from the first workshop through the service event to the end of the program.
  • Read the Before You Start section in the program Introduction and start a preliminary time line.
  • Research dates of holidays and school vacations and mark them on the calendar.

Description of Activity

Participants start planning an interfaith service event.

Tell participants an important component of this program will be coordinating an interfaith service event. Explain that this project will give participants an opportunity to put into action the concepts they will explore in the workshops.

Say, in your own words:

The third item in our definition of religious pluralism is "common action for the common good." (Refer to Leader Resource 1, Religious Pluralism PowerPoint or poster, if available.) As part of becoming interfaith leaders, we will create the opportunity to engage in common action by coordinating an interfaith service event.

Every major religion asks practitioners to serve their communities. In particular, our faith asks us to make the world a more just place by helping those in need. All of us will experience need at some point in our lives. When we help each other meet our needs, we put love and faith into action. In a later workshop, we will look at specific examples of how different, major religions encourage people to put their faith into action through service. The commonality across religions of serving the world gives us common ground on which to build solid interfaith relationships.

(Make sure youth understand this before proceeding.)

An interfaith service event will take a great deal of planning. If we wanted to involve only our group, planning would be easier. However, for this event, we want to solicit planning partners from other faith communities and, possibly our wider, local community at large. Let us start with some basic calendaring and logistics.

Post the calendar(s) on the wall. Fill in noteworthy dates, such as holidays and school vacations. Discuss possible time lines for the service event. As a group, establish:

  • How much time do individuals have, outside the scheduled workshop times? What days and times of the week are participants generally available for additional work or meetings? Tell youth that in order to work with other faith communities, sometimes they will need to meet with them outside of the workshop time.
  • What service projects have youth been involved with before? Prior service experience can inspire or provide templates for this project; participants need not create an event from scratch. If an event planned in your community inspires the group, they can turn their participation into an interfaith event.
  • How can participants in the group stay in communication? How can participants communicate with outside groups? Gather contact information, including email addresses and phone numbers of parents or caregivers. Discuss ways to stay in communication. Will you phone? Write emails? Use texting? Create a Facebook group or use other methods of social networking? Whatever you decide to use, make sure all participants have easy access to information as well as appropriate privacy.

Tell participants they will continue planning next time the group meets by examining the needs of the community and brainstorming interfaith groups with whom they might share in the service work. Ask youth to come next time ready to discuss the type of event they might want to hold.