WHAT. we have 2 more multifaiths left for the year. Casey and I are both seniors, so these will be our last 2 here at Hamline. On Monday, we were initially going to volunteer at Emma Nortons in St. Paul, but unfortunately we ended up not being able to go. We did, however, get to decorate lunch bags for Keystone Services in St. Paul. With their Meals on Wheels program, volunteers deliver meals to our elderly and disabled neighbors and enjoy one on one contact with them. The bags are decorated to personalize the lunches and is something that is enjoyed by the neighbors.

This coming Monday, April 30, the topic is children and religion and the following Monday the topic will be an end of year/summer celebration. We’re all looking forward to these next few weeks and we’re hoping you’ll be able to join us!


please excuse our lateness…

Friends! Friends friends friends. We are so sorry about how bad we’ve been at keeping the blog updated. We are well-overdue on a new post. Although it’s been quite some time since we’ve posted, I’d like to give you a run-down of what’s been happening since our last post–

In December, we wrapped up the fall semester of Multifaith with a celebration of winter holidays.

In January, Multifaith had a month long book club. We read the book Zeitoun, which is a true story about a Muslim man living in New Orleans who used his own canoe to help rescue the people of New Orleans when it was flooded after Hurricane Katrina.

We have had some awesome discussions so far at Multifaith. Our schedule looks like….

Feb 6- Current Events
Feb 13- Religion and Relationships
Feb 20- Religion and the Presidential Race
Feb 27- Miracles
Mar 5- Eboo night
Mar 12- Spring Holidays
Mar 26- Movie night
Apr 2- Time
Apr 9- Hijab for a Day
Apr 16- Native American Spirituality
Apr 23- Service night at Emma Norton
Apr 30- Religion and Children

It’s been a crazy semester for Multifaith, the Wesley Center, and all of the interfaith work that’s gone on. Hamline had the amazing opportunity to have Eboo Patel visit campus and spend a day talking about interfaith action with students, faculty, and staff as well as wrapping up his visit with a lecture at the Hamline church, which was open to all. It was a truly inspiring day, and we are still left with the buzz and excitement that was created from the visit!

Over spring break, there were 5 groups of students and staff that went on Catalyst trips. There was a New Orleans trip that focused on service through an interfaith lens which all three of us (Casey, Megan, Rola) were able to go on. This was also an amazing trip full of amazing people. We were able to meet with members and leaders of a mosque, synagogue, leaders and members from the Vietnamese community in East New Orleans to learn about the ways that they had helped their community after Hurricane Katrina. We also had the opportunity to meet with a few kids from the neighborhood of Central City, where we were staying for the week as well as a Hamline Alum who had moved to New Orleans after he had visited a few times with catalyst groups from Hamline. The experiences and details of this trip can’t be emphasized enough through words on paper or a screen, but we’re happy to say that it truly was an amazing trip, and we’ve all taken something back with us.


Now we are to the middle of April, having just a few more discussions with Multifaith. We had a very successful Hijab for a Day event this past week, which brought in amazing ideas and experiences from the day as well as throughout peoples’ lives. We are going to have a service night in 2 weeks, which we try to do once a semester for Multifaith.

Next week is the 2012 Mahle Lecture in Progressive Christian Thought. “World Balance vs. Personal Salvation: An American Indian Postcolonial Perspective” will have guest lecturer Dr. George “Tink” Tinker. This event is free and open to the public and will take place in Sundin Music Hall (1531 Hewitt Ave., St. Paul MN 55104). For more details with that, you can contact the Wesley Center at (651) 523- 2878.

So, there is a semi-short summary of what’s been going on the past few…months. Once again, we’re sorry it’s taken so long to update this. As you can see, we’ve been keeping plenty busy with what’s going on around campus! BUT I PROMISE YOU WE WILL UPDATE THIS SOONER NEXT TIME.



Reading about the Baha’i faith has been nothing but eye-opening and interesting for me. There is much that is unknown about the faith, which was why it was a great topic of discussion on Monday. For those who would like to know more, here’s some information–

The central theme of Bahá’u’lláh’s message is that humanity is one single race and that the day has come for its unification in one global society. God, Bahá’u’lláh said, has set in motion historical forces that are breaking down traditional barriers of race, class, creed, and nation and that will, in time, give birth to a universal civilization. The principal challenge facing the people’s of the earth is to accept the fact of their oneness and to assist the processes of unification.

Among the principles which the Bahá’í Faith promotes as vital to the achievement of this goal are:

– the abandonment of all forms of prejudice

assurance to women of full equality of opportunity with men

recognition of the unity and relativity of religious truth

– the elimination of extremes of poverty and wealth

– the realization of universal education

– the responsibility of each person to independently search for truth

– the establishment of a global commonwealth of nations

– recognition that true religion is in harmony with reason and the pursuit of scientific knowledge

Looking at these principles, we can relate them back to different faiths and practices that encourage service and giving what you can to the community. One thing that is interesting is that the self discovery of faith is up to the individual. Through these principles, you can grow as a person who is Baha’i, Bettering the world results in bettering yourself. Some of the questions that we were exploring were things like if it’s actually achievable to live your life by those principles fully and to consistently have the values in your mind. It’s one thing to believe in these and other practices and principles, but it’s put on a whole different level when you begin to do these things in your daily life and have them in your mind.

These principles, although not exactly identical, are very similar to those of other religions and beliefs. To some of us though, the difference was that the core of this belief system is serving people and trying to better society through the actions in your life. If all faiths, beliefs, and religious systems were as explicit in laying out the obligations or guidelines of the faith to serving and bettering the community, how would that shape the world in the future? Would there be more collective action to eliminate certain things that are so prominent in our society today like discrimination and poverty?

If you’d like more information on the Baha’i faith, visit the website– http://www.bahai.org/



It’s already November?

There is not much multifaith left in this semester, but what we’ve got is really good stuff.

Next Monday, we’ll be talking about Bahai faith. Rola’s leading that one- going to be wonderful.

On the 21st, we’re joining with Hamline’s GLBT group Spectrum to have a fantastic discussion on the intersections of GLBT and spirituality.

On the 27th, we’ll be looking at how religion is represented in Pop Culture.

And on December 5th, we’re going to have an amazing Winter celebration night with really delicious food.

Please stop by for any of these events. But really, we’ve been so happy with the turnout we’ve had this year. It’s really fantastic to see our regulars every week, but also seeing the new people who come to check it out. We are glad to know we are providing an open and safe space for discussion between religious and nonreligious people here on campus. Hope you stop by soon!


coat drive=success

On October 24, there was a coat drive on Hamline’s campus. As part of the President’s Challenge, we were collecting coats for Taking Root, who were asking for coat donations to give to the incoming refugee families to the Twin Cities. The coats were to be distributed on the 26th. Throughout the span of 2 hours, we were able to collect 53 coats, 16 scarves, 6 hats/gloves, 19 sweaters/vests, and 8 others. This brings the total things collected to 103 items!!!! Words cannot describe how happy we all were with these results. We were notified that the coat giveaway at Taking Root was a huge success and that the families who’d received the items were feeling happy and welcomed.

The coat drive is another example of how beneficial and powerful interfaith service work is to people. Regardless of religious or ethnic backgrounds, people are working together to create more of a pluralistic way of living.


social justice+service, along with many other things!

This week, Multifaith collaborated with STOVE (Students Together Organizing Volunteer Events) for Trick-or-Canning. Although we don’t have the exact numbers of food collected, I can tell you already that it was a huge success. The happiness that came to people’s faces when we had told them what we were doing created an amazing energy for the night. I was genuinely shocked when I realized how much food we had collected in such a short amount of time. In the small group I was in, we had already collected enough boxed goods and cans to nearly fill an entire shopping cart. I’m not sure why, but I was struck with the generosity of people. As we were leaving houses, we would thank them for their donations. Each time, they would reply with “No, thank you for doing this.” The food collected is being donated to the Handcock Food Shelf. Hancock has a very diverse population in many ways, including religion and issues regarding poverty and homelessness. With the help of donators and volunteers, we are able to make a positive impact in our community.

A great Atheism discussion!

The discussion on Atheism was fantastic! I appreciate everyone who came and spoke or came and listened. We touched on a lot of complex ideas about personal faith and where atheism fits in the realm of religious diversity (or if it even does), or if a statement of belief, and the fact that there is an American Atheists society, goes against the concept of Atheism. It got a bit meta, didn’t it? (Why are we talking about it if it doesn’t matter anyway? Oh man) Anyway, I loved how open people were to this discussion- I myself knew a lot less about atheism than I thought, and throwing these ideas around helped me learn more even after research. You guys are great, and keep that open mind.

See you next Monday!

check out the website for American Atheists, which I referenced a lot on Monday


An atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An atheist believes that a deed must be done instead of a prayer said. An atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanquished, war eliminated. He wants man to understand and love man.


new year, new beginnings, new events!

We’re into our first full week of classes and there are already so many great things going on throughout the Hamline campus! Sunday marked the 10 year anniversary of 9/11. This day holds many meanings to each of us personally, mentally, physically, and spiritually among other things. 9/11 is recognized as the National Day of Service, and we were lucky enough to participate in a State-wide event at the capital called Minnesotans Standing Together. The group started off the day with a reflection with questions on how 9/11 has impacted their life if any, and how much they remember of that day 10 years ago. Following the reflection, we headed to the Capital and helped pass out programs to all who attended and had the opportunity to listen to the different participates of the event. Being a part of this event was truly moving for the group and we were honored to have the chance to witness such a great gathering. The event was filled with words of hope and encouragement, people urging each other to stay strong and move forward as a united people while respecting each of our individual traditions and beliefs. Attending an event like this on such a huge day was something that provided all of us with hope and healing.

Minnesotans Standing Together worked as the kick off event for President Obama’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge, which we thought was fitting since the day is recognized as the National Day of Service. Today, we are looking at another kick off on the Hamline campus, which is Multifaith Alliance! We’ve changed the day to Mondays at 6:00 pm at the Chapel, but the open discussion and dinner is still the same. Tonight’s topic is of current events and a look into the next semester’s topics, as well as covering some questions and information on what’s to be expected when we’re together sharing our stories and opinions. As some may know, April Palo has graduated and has moved onto Harvard Divinity School (WAY TO GO APRIL!!!), but has left us on a strong note. Megan Dimond and I (rola) am still here, and we’re now joined by another awesome new student leader Casey Magnuson! We’re all looking forward to starting this year of Multifaith and all of the adventures and events along with it!

If you’ve got any questions, please feel free to contact any of us and we’ll do our best to tell you what you need!


Next time… more info on the President’s Challenge and Interfaith Council!


Celebrating the Past, Looking Forward to the Future!

This post was originally written as a Letter to the Editor for The Oracle, our campus newspaper. While our Letter will unfortunately not appear in print, we’re really excited to share it here.

We all know the narratives by now.

“Different religions can never get along.”
“Organized religion is stupid or useless.”
“Faith only breeds hatred and mistrust in the world.”

But at Hamline, we know that’s not true. We know that our faiths and traditions can be better together, and we know that it all starts with a question: “What if?” What if people of all religious and philosophical backgrounds came together to do good work? What if Muslims and atheists, Christians and Hindus, Jews and Sikhs, all came together to share our stories and change the world? What if we all chipped in, learned to get along, and helped our communities together?

“What if?”

In November 2010, the Better Together campaign formed a partnership with Taking Root, a local interfaith free-case refugee resettlement program of the Minnesota Council of Churches. Between November and April, Hamline students worked with Taking Root staff to help settle new refugee families into new homes – and on the path toward better lives! We hosted monthly interfaith dialogue meals at which we shared food, hospitality, and conversation. We also completed monthly interfaith service days, collecting donations and volunteering for new families. By the time we ended our campaign with April’s Better Together Finale, we had collected a mountain of clothes, warm jackets, household items, and baby items, packed eight welcome kits for new apartments, contributed roughly $700 worth of donations, and served twelve to fifteen hours for our new neighbors.

Now, we are eager to share our continued plans for next year! We are folding this year’s Better Together campaign into an even stronger national campaign: President Obama’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge, spearheaded by Rola Alkatout.

We can’t wait to make Campus Challenge a strong improvement on the Better Together campaign, bringing the same ideas and intentions along with the plan. Our tentative service project goals include the idea of ‘home’ – working to provide new homes for new families, safe neighborhoods for children, and affordable, accessible housing. With next year’s Campus Challenge, there will be plenty of volunteer opportunities for students around campus to be involved, at several partnerships in the Twin Cities.

The idea that we can be a strong and loving community despite religious differences is something that is very important to us, and dedicating time to volunteer work is something that we believe can make a community much stronger and united. We are so eager to get a solid plan figured out and work together as a community at Hamline and beyond, learning and loving along the way! Watch out for our events next fall, and join us in proving that we can make the world a better place.

– Rola Alkatout (Social Justice ’12) and April Palo (Religion ’11)


who’s up for a challenge!?

Hello friends of Multifaith and beyond! I’m eager to tell you some exciting info about the coming year. As it’s been mentioned in some previous posts, we’re in the planning stage of Obama’s Campus Challenge that will be done over the course of the next year. Personally, I can’t wait to make this a sort of continuation on April’s Better Together campaign, bringing the same ideas and intentions along with the plan. Since we’re still in the early stages of making a plan, there are different ideas being tossed around. One that is sticking is the idea of ‘home’ and what it really means, what it brings, and who it may consist of. With the challenge, there will be plenty of volunteer opportunities for students around campus to be involved, which will be at a few locations around the Twin Cities. The idea that we can be a strong and loving community despite religious differences is something that is very important to me, and dedicating time to volunteer work is something that I believe can make a community much stronger and united. I’m so eager to get a solid plan figured out and work together as a community- Hamline and beyond, learning and loving along the way!

Interested in helping out with this epic challenge?! Email me at ralkatout01@hamlineuniversity.edu or comment on the blog!


February 2023

Hamline University Multifaith Alliance is run by:

Megan Dimond
Religious and Spiritual Life Office
x 2315

Rola Alkatout
Social Justice '12