Archive for the 'Weekly Resources' Category


This Week: Telling a Better Story

This week, a lot of frightening events are happening.

This week, Congressional hearings are currently underway to investigate the “radicalization of Islam in America”.

Led primarily by Representative Peter King, the hearings target American Muslim politicans, advocacy groups, community organizers, and more, questioning them about terrorism within the Muslim community. Key trials have included CAIR and Minnesota’s own Rep. Keith Ellison.

For some, these hearings are strongly reminiscent of the McCarthy trials of the previous century. For others, they offer an excuse to question the Muslim community.  “A Congressional hearing on Thursday addressing homegrown Islamic terrorism offered divergent portraits of Muslims in America,” wrote the New York Times, “one as law-abiding people who are unfairly made targets, the other as a community ignoring radicalization among its own and failing to confront what one witness called “this cancer that’s within.”

Also this week, America is still reeling from the anti-Muslim ICNA protests in Orange County and from the anti-Muslim murder of two Sikh men in Elk Grove.

In Orange County, regardless of ICNA’s individual motives or agendas (which may or may not be reprehensible), protests can and should be examples of fair, peaceful, inclusive, and nonviolent action for change. Even if the above video has been edited and marketed unfairly, even one bad apple is too many. Vitriolic racial and ethnic hatred is unacceptable. We should all learn from these experiences and use them to produce better dialogue in our public sphere — especially regarding religion.

And in Elk Grove, 65 year old Surinder Singh and 78 year old Gurmej Atwal were gunned down in broad daylight. Their murder is under investigation as a hate crime directed at Muslims. When will this end? When will the misguided hatred and violence stop? “During a news conference Monday at a Sikh temple, a spokesman said the recent violence has scared some temple-goers into concealing any indicators of their religion. Sikhs often are mistaken for Muslims and have been the subject of occasional violence across the country since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.”

However: This week, we are fighting back with a better story.

This week, the Hamline University Better Together + Taking Root campaign is coming together to share an interfaith meal, collect donations, and volunteer for a young refugee family from Burma.

Karen refugees Ker Ner and Paw Shu are 19 and 23 years old, and they are expecting their first child in May. Hamline interfaith students are bringing together their faiths and traditions and giving them a helping hand!

Join us on Saturday at 2:00pm. Meet up at the statue of Bishop Hamline on Hewitt Avenue in Hamline’s campus, and we’ll head to our service site in a Hamline van! We’re also going to share pizza and work on packing welcome kits! Key donations include pots/pans, bakeware, silverware, can openers, new towels, new pillows, waste basket, broom, mop, new toilet paper, new shampoo, and baby items.

Also this week, Hamline University’s Multifaith Alliance shared an awesome event about welcoming atheists into interfaith dialogue.

After setting our safe space and digging into our lasagna, we talked about a lot of important questions. What is atheism? What is interfaith? These simple words actually encompass a wide variety of personal perspectives and worldviews. How can we welcome them all?

With the help of a fantastic video by notable atheist Chris Stedman of NonProphet Status, we listened to stories and shared our own. How can we make new friends? How can we develop some more inclusive language? What do we want to learn more about? How can people who care about interfaith work be welcoming of atheists? How can atheists, Humanists, Religious Humanists, non-theists, Freethinkers, and more be receptive to working with all members of our community?

Most importantly, how can all of our faiths and traditions make an impact?

Things might be scary, friends. The hearings might be frightening; violence and shootings might be terrifying. But if you listen and look, there is a stronger, more powerful story being told. It is a story of welcoming strangers as neighbors. It is a story of welcoming non-believers as brothers and sisters. It is a story of bringing our traditions to the common good.


Upcoming Interfaith Events at Hamline!

Join us for some exciting events at Hamline this week! Come out for food, treats, discussion, volunteering, and show your support for your fellow students!


Crepe Sale!
Tuesday March 8
11:00am to 6:00pm
GLC Lobby

For $1, delicious crepes will be for sale! Proceeds support the Catalyst service-learning trips that are going to New Orleans over Spring Break. They’re only $1, and they go to a great cause! Stop by, have a crepe, and share the event with friends! YUM!




We are better together!

Better Together + Taking Root
Tuesday March 8

Better Together has already had great success with November’s “What If Speak-In”, plus February’s huge community meal and volunteering day! Want to join in for more?

We are hosting another free interfaith meal on Tuesday March 8 at 7:30pm in the HUB. We will be watching a short film, having a discussion, and most importantly, collecting donations for a young refugee couple, Ker Ner and his wife Paw Tar Shu, who are expecting a baby in May! Very needed donations include pots/pans, bakeware, silverware, can openers, new towels, new pillows, waste basket, broom, mop, new toilet paper, new shampoo, and baby items.




Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday Service
Wednesday March 9
Sorin A/B

Join us for a time of reflection, repentance, renewal, response, and relationship. All are welcome to commune, think, meditate, reflect, pray, give, and forgive in this important moment in the Christian year.




Interfaith volunteer team

Better Together + Taking Root
Interfaith Volunteering
Saturday March 12
Meet up at Bishop Hamline (Transportation Provided)

We are following up Tuesday night’s meal with another fun interfaith volunteer day on Saturday March 12 at 2:00pm. We’ll be helping to move in Ker Ner and Paw Tar Shu and making them a warm, nice place to stay! Meet up at the statue of Bishop Hamline on Hewitt Avenue in Hamline’s campus, and we’ll head to our service site in a Hamline van! Volunteer projects will include moving in the young couple, scouting and picking up donations, and more!

See you this week.


Religious Objects

Over candles and a table crowded with items of religious significance, we talked about a lot of compelling questions last night! At our interfaith dialogue about the power of religious objects, we tackled a lot of tough questions!

What are all the different religious objects you can think of? We talked about everything from crosses or prayer beads to bodies, tattoos, songs, and prayers…
What makes such objects significant? Can a person make an object holy, or must holiness come from some other source? Do you give an item worth, or does it influence you?

What happens when objects’ meanings change over time? We talked a lot about indigenous communities’ names and symbols, swastikas, the ying yang, and other objects… Sometimes objects’ meanings change naturally, but sometimes they are appropriated. What’s wrong with this? How do we fix it?Do you ever appropriate symbols or objects?

During times of religious persecution (e.g., Jews during the Holocaust, Christians in medieval Japan), people sometimes had to spit on or break their holy objects. Would you defile or destroy a holy object to avoid persecution?

There is a story of a Buddhist coming upon another Buddhist, chopping up a statue of the Buddha and using it for firewood. Horrified, the first Buddhist says, “Why are you doing this?” The second Buddhist says, “The Buddha’s not in there!” Let’s say you are Christian or Jewish – would you burn the Cross or the Torah for firewood? Would you defile or destroy a holy object to survive the elements?

Sikhs in the military and on airplanes (having to cut their hair or not wear their dagger): What should the armed forces or airlines do? Would you feel comfortable sitting next to someone if they had a dagger that you could see? Why or why not?

Sometimes obtaining religious objects necessitates tough actions – for example, use of leather or feathers to make it (as in tefillin or some Native American prayers). Would you kill a cow or trap a bald eagle to get the leather or feathers? Would you kill an animal to participate in a religious ritual? If not, do you think it’s okay for people of other traditions to do it? What about animal sacrifices?

We hope that these and other questions will help inspire you to think, change, grow, and consider things in a new light.
Thanks to all for a great conversation! Add your input below!


Real Issues: Water, JRLC, and Interfaith

Today, we’d like to share about real, daily issues in human life. Specifically, last week we talked about water, and this week we will be discussing JRLC’s Day on the Hill!


Water is a religious, cultural, political, and economic issue. The presence of water in our world ranges from baptism to bombs, from nature to nationalism, from bottled water to protected traditions. Here are some resources we discussed last week:

The Right to Water in Palestine
If Americans Knew: Water in Palestine
The Blue Peace: Rethinking Middle East Water
Flood Legends from Around the World
Talk Origins: Flood Stories from Around the World

We hope you enjoy these, and we hope your conversation keeps going!


JRLC, or Joint Religious Legislative Coalition, is an interfaith lobby group. JRLC works with local religious communities and politically active youth to advocate progressive change in government.

Some of you may remember when Joint Religious Legislative Coalition came to Multifaith in the Fall. Two staff members talked about the organization and their big day at the capital called Day On The HillDay on the Hill is the centerpiece of their work and a huge opportunity for religious and youth members of society to make change!

Now, that day is approaching and we wanted to give people the opportunity to join us on February 17th! The day begins at 8:30 AM and the last shuttle at the end of the day will be at 4:00 PM. You’ll have the chance to talk to the legislator in your district about issues on poverty, rights to healthcare, and state budgets. For the detailed schedule of the day or if you’re interested or would like more details, visit JRLC’s website at If you’re unable to lobby or stay for the entire day, there are also some volunteer opportunities. These include help during registration, ushering people to buses, cleanup after breakfast, and walking around the capital making sure there isn’t any improper behavior. If you’re interested in anything for the 17th, please contact the Wesley Center so we can get you registered. Get in touch with Rola ( for questions!

That evening, Rola will be facilitating a discussion in Multifaith about JRLC, their lobby positions, the role of religious traditions and the role of government. Join us for some food, conversation, and hopefully some controversy!

Let’s stir things up and get talking! See you there!


J-Term Book Club and Spring 2011 Schedule!

Friends and fans of Multifaith Alliance,

Check out some of our great new plans for 2011! We’re going to kick the year off right with an amazing book club — we’ll be reading Dharma Punx by Noah Levine! Please take a look at our NEW: Multifaith J-Term Book Club page to see the book, read what it’s about, and sign up!

Plus, we’ve also posted our NEW: Spring 2011 schedule! We’ve got some fantastic events lined up for next semester, and we’re really excited to share them with all of you! As always, Multifaith meets on Thursdays at 7pm for food, conversation, and sharing! Newcomers are welcome and dinner is always free!

February 3: Dreams

February 10: The Elements – Water

February 17: Day On the Hill

February 24: Religious Objects

March 3: Food, Food Justice, and Faith

March 10: Atheism in Interfaith

March 17: Luck, Fate, and Fortune

March 24: No Multifaith – Spring Break!

March 31: Women in Religion

April 7: Spring Holidays

April 14: The Chocolate Seder

April 21: Religion and Pop Culture

April 28: The Elements – Air




Multifaith Alliance – First Event of the Year!

Dear friends and fans of Multifaith,

Megan, Rola, and April are back and at it again! Join us as we begin our 2010 – 2011 year!

For our first event, our topic will be the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy. We’ll talk about the conflict in the media, discuss the role and future of Islam in America, definitions of American-ness and citizenship, and explore the ways in which religious and ethical traditions can build relationships towards peace.

To get you reading, thinking, and talking about the issues, here are some articles to get you started! Some are inspiring. Some are funny. Some are heartbreaking. But all of them will get you ready to come and chat!,17990/

In the warm and cozy environment of our interfaith chapel, free dinner is served and newcomers are always encouraged! We’d love to see you there!

As always, Multifaith Alliance is committed to interfaith discussion, education, service, and activism. Through exploring sacred and challenging topics, educating ourselves on global faith systems and cultures, and dedicating ourselves to interfaith service in our communities, we strive to improve religious pluralism, understanding, and unity.

And remember, please note that there are absolutely no criteria required for membership – Multifaith Alliance is open to individuals of any religious affiliation, spiritual journey, or faith perspective (including none at all).


Goodbye for now!

Well, friends and fans of Multifaith!

It’s been an awesome semester. This has been the best semester I’ve ever had, both as a student and as an interfaith leader. Yet again, Multifaith Alliance has exceeded my expectations! Great topics, deep conversations, personal journeys, good friends, excellent food, new projects — Multifaith Alliance is the best organization on campus, and I mean that.

You’ve all made me very proud, and I’m so honored to have learned and engaged with you!

In a few short weeks I will be on my way out of the country. Rola Alkatout, our new student leader, is going to be just awesome. We’re all going to meet soon to plan some new ideas, and then she and Megan will take it from there. When I get back, the plan is for us all to lead Multifaith Alliance together!

So, thank you for a wonderful semester, thanks to Rola for stepping up, thanks to Megan for being awesome as always, and thanks to God for giving us all some great opportunities!

See you next fall!

March 2019
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Hamline University Multifaith Alliance is run by:

Megan Dimond
Religious and Spiritual Life Office
x 2315

Rola Alkatout
Social Justice '12