Feed on

by Noah Giddings, ’24

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” As Nelson Mandela reflected on the Apartheid era, this was his greatest conclusion. People are not born either good or evil but learn both over time. Shown hatred and we hate. Shown love and we love. The potential for both rests within each of us.

Our modern world slants sharply in one direction: towards hatred over love. Within the past few years alone, devastating acts of violence and hatred have ravaged our society. The death of George Floyd. The Russo-Ukrainian war. The Covid pandemic. As a planet and a species, we seem to be scholars of hate, Luddites against love.

But what can we do? What possibility do ordinary people have for interrupting this cycle of conflict and contempt? A local Indianapolis church has modeled one radical solution.

Over the past three months, I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside Indianapolis First Congregational Church as their Just-Peace intern and learn about their philosophy of radical inclusivity and love. Their focus and concern for love is immediately apparent.

A banner outside the church advertises their commitment to Just-Peace and their Sunday service bulletin celebrates their open-and-affirming status. It doesn’t take long to realize that First Congregation takes seriously Jesus’ injunction to “love one another”. In that vein of love, First Congregational invites all members of the local community to share in worship — only hate is not welcome in their halls. Their commitment is to a version of Christianity in which love is the first, best response to the hatred which permeates our world.

In my time with First Congregational, I’ve seen this commitment play out firsthand. Sunday mornings begin with dialogue and reflection on love and peace. Pastor Sarah Lund, the head Pastor of First Congregational, reaffirms their open-and-affirming status soon after each service begins. The church rebukes hateful legislation by writing their representatives en masse. Congregants attend rallies and make visits to the statehouse to support improved mental health care. First Congregational’ s commitment to love and, by extension, peace and justice is more than mere boilerplate. The members of this community affect these visions both in terms of relationships and of cultivating civil discourse with regard to political views. Love isn’t an idea. Love is an action.

As the semester ends and I part ways with First Congregational Church, I’ll hold onto this vision of radical love — an inclusive, unrestricted love which accepts all through activity and empathy. The love of First Congregational offers one answer to the hate which so pervades our modern world. In a sleepy neighborhood on the north side of Indianapolis, we find a powerful demonstration of the efficacy of love.  What better example of Jesus’ life is there than this?


by Emma Nobbe, ’24

During my time as the Communication Intern for the Butler University Center for Faith and Vocation (CFV), I have learned so much about what it means to be a part of a team that lives and breathes its mission and values. Here, I have had the opportunity to grow my skills as a designer, writer, and leader through the support of my fellow interns and mentorship from my supervisor and other staff members.

When I came into this internship, I was excited to discover more about the CFV and immerse myself in the community as I navigated my role in maintaining the organization’s social media, newsletters, and other outward communication efforts, and I was happy to find a community dedicated to their message of interfaith dialogue and diversity.

From a logistics standpoint, I have had the opportunity to grow as a designer and writer through consistent practice through this internship, but during my time here, I have come to deeply value the growth I have had as a leader and a person. With exposure to so many new ideas and opinions, I have learned what it means to experience an interfaith community that opens its arms to all faith, secular, and non-secular vocations.

Overall, through my time here, I have experienced challenges and accomplishments that have pushed me to become stronger in my academic, professional, and personal life. As I enter my final year as a college student, I cannot be more grateful for all of the things I have learned at the CFV, and I am confident that this experience will help me to succeed as I take my next step into a professional career.


by Abby Fulton, ’23

Before starting my internship at Faith in Indiana, I had very little experience building community power and lobbying for a cause I was passionate about. I was incredibly nervous that I would not have the skill set necessary to accomplish these goals, but as I near the end of my internship, I am happy to say I have grown in my professional and personal life. The main portion of my internship consisted of educating and building power around mental health legislation in the state of Indiana. For many Hoosiers going through a mental health crisis, they are given inadequate resources to cope with their struggles and instead are placed in the carceral system. Faith in Indiana is working to fix this problem by working to pass a bill entitled SB1: Behavioral Health Matters which would expand mental health resources in our state and help create safe communities for the citizens of Indiana. In my role, I was able to advocate for this work on campus and worked to involve Butler students throughout the process and help them learn how they could use their power to positively impact the world around them. Instead of viewing power as negative, I wanted to help teach people that power can be used for good and that we have the power to change things when we work together and build community action. I was able to speak to multiple groups such as the Lilly Scholars Network and host an assembly towards the end of my internship which focused on the intersectionality of mental health and the incarceration system. Overall, I grew immensely through this experience and was able to grow in my advocacy knowledge and educating others on civic literacy. As the semester closes, I am grateful for the opportunity to work with this group and am excited to see the work they do in the future!

by Abigail Dame, ’24

My Center for Faith and Vocation Spring ’23 Internship provided me with the opportunity to experience how the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic is transforming people’s lives through the power of hope. There is a different part of the Indianapolis community that Butler University students do not often get to fully experience. Once a week, I traveled downtown to the Re-Entry Justice Program, Expungement Help Desk; I felt connected to downtown Indy and the individuals who came to the Help Desk for a second chance. Many individuals cannot have stable housing, job security, or close family relationships due to their past. The Help Desk can guide these individuals to hope and provide a space where they can move forward.

While interning at the Help Desk, I learned how to complete many kinds of paperwork such as conviction and non-conviction petitions and intake forms. I also worked on projects to assist in data collection and created learning materials for future interns. Before completing this internship, I did not know what expungement was or that there was an organization in Indianapolis that helped people get their criminal records expunged at no cost to them. I had little to no knowledge of legal language before this internship and now can use this knowledge to further advocate for the expungement progress later in life. This position allowed me to help people in a way I had no prior knowledge of. Watching the relief and joy on people’s faces when they realized that their records would be cleared warmed my heart and I was tremendously grateful for my own privilege. The stories I heard from people who came to the Help Desk will remain in my memory forever and I will continue to reflect on all I have learned from this opportunity.


by Finn Williams, ’24

When reflecting on my internship at the Center for Interfaith Cooperation, I find myself at a crossroads. My time here has offered me a litany of amazing opportunities, and helped me gain a considerable amount of vocational insight, but more importantly has supposed a plethora of challenges for myself moving forward: namely, outside of professionally organized settings, how can I lead a life congruent with the ethos and mission of sincere, productive, and practical interfaith work? Surely the wisdom I have gained from this experience is pertinent, and the relationships I have made will be invaluable in my service of such a notion, but outside of the forums presented by the CIC I can no longer rely on the guardrails that were previously at my disposal, and thus am challenged to live a life which honors its desires; a notion much easier said than done.

My experience at the CIC has taught me that interfaith work is entirely difficult. That is not to its detriment, but it is certainly the reality: interfaith work can be taxing at several points. However, the fruits of such an experience are entirely evident: the creation of a community which truly values its neighbors across spiritual, racial, and economic barriers. Such an imperative is one which anyone could identify merit and value, however it comes at the cost of encountering conversation which calls into question the very claims which one holds to be ultimate. Such a notion at first glance appears terrifying, but in hindsight can easily be viewed as beautiful: to grow stronger in one’s faith at the hands of an entirely different one, while additionally introducing a sincere and sustainable bond with another across personal spiritual divides, is a notion which I believe anyone would identify as being inherently virtuous.

This notion, however, requires a sense of humility and empathy which many are taught to avoid in the context of inter-religious experience. Thankfully, my time at the CIC has helped me to continue to cultivate such virtues in my daily life. It has challenged me to identify where I may fall short within such work, and how I can move forward to rectify my prejudice and biases. It has challenged me to be diligent, respectful, and honorable in all work that I do. It has shown me, above all else, that love is a beautiful tool when wielded with sincerity and vulnerability and can enable you to journey across barriers you previously thought were impenetrable.

I look forward to continuing my interfaith journey, and I thank the Center for Interfaith Cooperation for being my guide, albeit ending far too soon.


by Emma Nobbe, ’24

On Wednesday, March 29, the Center for Faith and Vocation hosted its final event for A New View Film Series. Through the documentary The Magnitude of All Things, audiences were emersed in a moment of reflection, mourning, and acceptance regarding an environment that is slowly dying around us. Jennifer Abbott uses this film to connect the idea of eco grief to the loss of her sister, who died of cancer. Throughout the film, it is hard to witness some of the devastating effects climate change has brought to our environment on a global scale, and when paired with the journey Abbott experienced in mourning and acceptance of her sister’s battle and ultimate loss from cancer, audiences are presented with the harsh reality that we will lose some parts of our world. However, while there is a deep sense of sadness connected to this reality of loss, there is also a message of perseverance and dedication to use this reality as a reason to continue fighting for the future of our environment.

After the film, a community leader of the Quaker faith and an expert in ecology led a discussion surrounding themes of eco-grief, interdependence, and agency that leaned into the topics of extinction and the reality that the actions of individuals and community members will ultimately effect climate change on a global level. Ending the night on a more positive note, audience members had the chance to share their messages of hope when faced with the idea of eco-grief, detailing their experiences of nature and the hope that they still had to fight for what is left of our environment and what could grow in the future.

by Emma Nobbe, ’24

On Monday, March 20, Valarie Kaur came to share her story and mission with the Butler community. Through her discussion of activism through revolutionary love, she expressed her belief that fighting for world change starts with opening our hearts and minds to everyone around us. Her argument that love is the first step toward change carries a weight of curiosity and compassion that changes the role and definition of love within activism.

The audience was captivated by Valarie’s message and performance, and the stories she shared about her life experiences were relatable and touching as she spoke about the lessons learned from raising her children at home and the dialogue she opened with opponents, strangers, and friends she met along her activism journey. After her lecture, audience members had the chance to open up their own dialogue with Valarie, and in this space, many individuals shared their experiences, expressed their gratitude for her work, and asked questions about how to act through the process of revolutionary love.

Overall, the event was an incredible success, with many individuals praising the event as they exited the venue. Valarie Kaur was an incredible speaker who truly represented the meaning of revolutionary love with every word and action she performed on stage, and through her call to action, many in the audience could feel the true potential behind the meaning of revolutionary love.

by Emma Nobbe, ’24

A New View Film Series started off the semester with a screening of The Loving Generation. This documentary series offered insights into the experiences of biracial families and individuals since the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court verdict in 1967 which legalized interracial marriage. The series told the stories of several individuals who shared their experiences over the past few decades of finding their own identity in a society that has continuously assigned conflicting stereotypical labels and expectations for who they were meant to be.

After the film, three panelists were invited to speak about their own stories and sense of identity as biracial and multiracial individuals. They offered insights into what it was like growing up with parents of different races and expressed the difficulty of living with a parent who could not understand what it was like to live as a mixed-race person. They also expressed the fears they often face in being misidentified and underrepresented in their health care, as one panelist stated that assumptions over her racial status could lead to doctors overlooking some of the valid medical risks that are often concerning for black individuals.

The conversation turned to their experiences and feelings of representation in media, with a particular focus on what it was like to relate with multiracial families and celebrities on television. Blackish, K.C. Undercover, and a few other television shows were mentioned involving onscreen depictions of biracial characters and families, but one common theme for under-representation was the desire to see more depictions of mixed families with black mothers.

Through their discussion of identity, representation, and life experiences, the panelists concluded with the message that they hoped to bring representation to their community and other underrepresented groups through their future careers.


by Cora Parker, ’25

As the Center for Faith and Vocation’s Communications Intern for the 2022 Fall semester, I wanted to take a moment and reflect upon some key takeaways from my internship.

First and foremost this internship has not only allowed me to build on previous skills and learn an abundance of new skills in many different areas of communications, it has also given me the opportunity to work in a diverse, communicative, and welcoming environment that is the Center for Faith and Vocation.

Before starting this position I was aware of the Center for Faith and Vocation’s presence on campus. I had attended a few CFV sponsored events, but after that my personal connection to the CFV was limited. Throughout my time here over the course of this semester I never quickly came to realize that the CFV is a place of light, guidance, and community. This building is a wonderful resource to students of all kinds, a place that promotes diversity in all religious backgrounds, personal beliefs, and perspectives. Among that, all of the welcoming, positive aspects of the CFV I was able to promote in my work at Communications Intern. I promoted CFV events on various social media platforms, handled weekly newsletters, communicated information with the staff for weekly meetings, and covered on campus events through several of my own blog posts.

Although communications work is an industry I had in mind as a career choice before joining the CFV team, this internship has shown me an alternate side of work I can do for community and student organizations which I greatly enjoyed as it is always good to have variety within your professional experiences.

by Rebecca Kural, ’25

Rebecca Kural (L), Alana Daeger (R)

Rebecca Kural (L), Alana Daeger (R)

My Interfaith internship at the CFV has been one of the highlights of my semester. This is my first internship experience, and I feel so lucky to have had the unwavering support and encouragement of Daniel Meyers and Marguerite Stanciu.

My role as the interfaith community engagement intern is very flexible and unconfined, so I was a little intimidated at first. While I have continued with previously established interfaith engagement activities such as Cookies and Questions, and helped with Refresh & Reconnect, my role calls for interfaith “passion projects”. And while I did not have much experience or expertise, I certainly have passion.

In fact, my passion for music led to my curiosity of Voices of Deliverance-the once thriving gospel choir that took a hard hit during the pandemic. I started asking questions and researching how it fell from great success, realizing that while the pandemic and retirement of the faculty advisor was unavoidable, that the choir was missing a faith group to draw from.

While all Butler faith groups on campus strive for diversity and inclusion, as I talked to my black peers, they expressed the sentiment that there was not a faith group that seemed meant for them. Not only was this extremely important to hear in general, I couldn’t help but draw connections back to VOD. Gospel has strong roots in the black church, so it would be much easier to support VOD if there was a faith group connected to it.

I found myself in a position I certainly did not expect- I have no personal ties to the church, and I’m not black. However, these two facts challenged me to listen harder and decenter my own ideas when helping with the creation of a new faith group. Now, Black Christian Faith Group is set to begin meetings next semester, led by Raeghan Jefferson and an incredible executive board. They have done so much work to make it happen, and it is exciting to have played a small part in the group’s facilitation. VOD is still in the works, but many students are interested in being part of its revival.

In the past, I saw my leadership strengths as motivating and generating good ideas. However, my experiences thus far as an intern have made me appreciate my ability to be extremely invested and excited about projects that do not even directly involve or benefit me. Having an internship that prioritizes interfaith work has opened my eyes to that feeling- that work outside of my own personal interests can still be passion projects.

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