Every Wednesday at 7 o’clock, a voice breaks through the quiet murmur of the SAC pit. Some tables have been snatched up after various students have wandered away, and now they are covered with red checkered tablecloths and big pieces of paper — for doodling, of course. And a diverse group of students gather for free food, and more or less importantly, conversation. Coming from different faith backgrounds, traditions, spiritual paths, ethic systems and/or philosophical ideas, we are there to open our hearts and minds, share our stories and discuss the deep human questions. Because it is a university, after all.
That voice is mine. I lead the Interfaith Cafes, a weekly discussion night hosted by the Interfaith Scholars: a small group of students on campus who work to promote interfaith dialogue in its many forms — through social events, field trips, discussion nights and relationship building.
We’ve only had two cafes so far this year, but I think we’ve never started a year so well. Grounding the year in true Vincentian style, the first cafe was about social injustice: success, frustrations, next steps. The second concerned spiritual experiences, and what makes them spiritual. With a year ahead of us, the ideas will flow and the connections between ideas and between people will strengthen.
We do it because although conversations seem small, they can change so much in ourselves and unite those of different paths through our human connections. The cafes are what we make of it. It is not me that makes a successful discussion night, but those who come. Come and join us: to listen, to learn, to share and to grow in community.