Contributed by Gregory Breland, UB Parent Advisor
We held a successful Interfaith Forum on “True Love” on the campus of the University of Bridgeport (UB) on February 15th through the combined efforts of CARP, Indian Student Association, Muslim Student Association, American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) and UB Unification Campus Ministry.
We had representatives from the Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Unification traditions. Going along with the Valentine’s Day theme, our forum’s topic was ‘True Love’. About 50 people attended.
Last year, CARP participated in an interfaith forum on arranged marriages which was set up mostly by Campus Activities Dept; Co-Pastors Mika and Abe Deshotel served as panelists. Because of last year’s success, we wanted to take it up a notch.
Through the earnest efforts of CARP UB President Ricky deSena and CARP UB officers Ruta and Krista Smith, Lily Shapiro and Dante Jean, we were able to connect with the Indian and Muslim Student Association leadership.
The Student Associations reached out to their contacts to bring people and helped us connect with the Muslim presenter. Jenny Cox designed a fantastic flyer, and we handed it out to our friends and posted it around campus.
Our local ACLC Coordinator, Antonio Battilocchi, was able to connect with a young Christian pastor in the neighborhood who has a vibrant ministry, and he brought some of his congregants.
Antonio also contacted the Hindu Swami who was so inspired with the program that he is seeking to establish a Temple on campus. UB has about 35 different countries represented on campus, India being one of the largest.
A Discussion Across Boundaries
The presenters touched on similar topics:
- The importance of love in the family in raising children
- Love others the way you want to be loved
- Not only should we love God and love others, but realize that God loves us
- The family is the school of love
During the Q and A session, there were insightful questions, such as:
- What is the difference between true love and false love?
- If you just love God isn’t that enough, do you still need romance?
We prepared a slide show displaying the Wedding Traditions of the various faiths present to show the next logical step in the progression of True Love. Every faith got to show their own elaborate ceremony and how much care is invested in bringing two families together.
We also had a book table where the various faiths could display their respective materials.
The evening concluded with two selections from the UB Gospel Choir and refreshments and more discussion.
Our plan is to continue to reach out to the religious community. We are thinking to hold an interfaith forum once per semester.
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