Leslie Center for Peace & Justice

What do we mean by the term ‘interfaith?’

Interfaith means people of different faith traditions and philosophies working together and learning from each other. It includes perspectives from specific religions, as well as perspectives from those who identify as atheist, agnostic, and spiritual but not religious. It is not a watered-down, least common denominator experience; rather, interfaith dialogue and work allows each person to bring their beliefs, traditions, and understandings to the table as we work to discover what it means to live and work in communities of diverse thought and practice.

Do I have to be a Christian (or religious) to participate on a team?

No. Students from many faith traditions, as well as students who identify as atheist, agnostic, or spiritual but not religious participate on our teams. We do expect that teams will engage in meaningful reflection about their experiences, which often will involve bringing their perspectives on faith and a higher power to the conversation. Mindful of that, we also expect all team members will be authentic to their own story while being respectful of those of their teammates. Some teams may have a focus on a specific faith tradition or a specifically interfaith focus, but such a focus will be advertised clearly up front. You’ll know what kind of team you’re applying for.


Who decides what team I get placed on? How does that process work?

Every student who wishes to participate on an interfaith service team must submit an application. The leadership of each interfaith service team gives feedback on what characteristics they are looking for in potential members. A team of people comprised of OWU Chaplaincy staff, as well as faculty and/or staff with adviser experience, read through the applications and try to match students and teams. They look at an applicant’s application essay and team preferences, the team leadership’s desired characteristics, and personal demographics to try to create well-balanced teams. We can’t always accommodate everyone’s top choices, but we attempt to make the best matches possible.


How are interfaith service teams different from Theory-to-Practice Grants, Study Abroad, etc.?

OWU provides many wonderful opportunities for student travel and learning. The distinguishing features of interfaith service week are a focus on direct service, reflection, and connection to spirituality/meaning-making. While each team includes educational opportunities, those opportunities tend not to be as focused on coursework or research.


What is the time commitment?

We expect teams will meet for about an hour a week from mid-October through the end of March. Most teams also will have fundraising or other group obligations that should average, at most, an additional hour per week.


What is the cost?

Student team members are expected to be personally responsible for approximately 40% of the total per-person expense budgeted for their team. The rest of the expenses are covered by institutional funds and fundraising. Contact the Chaplain’s Office for up-to-date information about current teams.