Interfaith dialogue comes to Simpson


by Emma Schlenker, Social Media Editor

Simpson College hosted the third Iowa Interfaith Exchange February 24-25. The Iowa Interfaith Exchange website said this workshop allowed college students, faculty and staff to “learn diverse methods others have used to create meaningful change and leave empowered to develop their own approaches to promote greater understanding of and positive engagement with religious diversity.”

Professor Maeve Callan wrote the grant to host this event. She said her goal was to give students the opportunity to experience more views outside of what is available on campus.

“We are not doing this in spite of our Methodist tradition, but because of it,” Callan said.

Students from five colleges and 16 world views learned what colleges can do to support each other.

Simpson students involved in the Interfaith Fellowship had the opportunity to expand their knowledge of the college mission in faith.

Eli Aronson is a freshman Interfaith Fellow majoring in vocal performance. This was his first year participating in the Iowa Interfaith Exchange.

“We got to meet with other students involved with interfaith at other Iowa colleges, and engage in discussion about how to use interfaith strategies to better our campus communities,” Aronson said.

The keynote speakers also taught how to bring people together and how to make different faiths and world-views work for the common good in the community, Aronson said.

Aronson originally wanted to be a fellow because he noticed the misunderstandings across different faith backgrounds and wanted to bridge those gaps at Simpson. This experience taught fellows how to bring those ideas onto Simpson’s campus.

In the future, the Interfaith Fellows hope to create events on campus to engage in dialogue about interfaith and eliminate prejudice.