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by Lauren Merk

This semester I have had the privilege of working at Trinity Free Clinic in Carmel, Indiana. The Catholic nonprofit provides free healthcare to Hamilton County residents who would otherwise not have access to medical attention. Having never completed an internship, I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but after a semester at the Clinic, I can truly say that my experiences have been invaluable.

On my first day interning, my supervisor and director of marketing, Autumn Zawadzki, made me feel welcomed. It was clear from the beginning that she was going to give me opportunities to learn and further develop my marketing and PR skills. I wrote press releases, researched sponsors and community partners, and spent a lot of time helping Autumn plan the Clinic’s annual fall fundraiser, the 5K Run for Wellness. I also spent the semester working on a comprehensive PR plan for the Clinic. The plan includes ideas for future marketing programming and offers a comprehensive look at the Clinic’s PR and marketing strategies. I was incredibly excited to work on this project and leave ideas with an organization that now means so much to me.

I cannot fully express in just 200 words how appreciative I am for my experience at Trinity Free Clinic. The professional experience I gained is invaluable and the opportunity to witness and be part of the Clinic’s mission was humbling. I have grown so much this semester and owe so much of that to my internship.

12803036_10205274241326074_8054468170436306707_nby Natalie Smith

On Thursday, November 17th, I attended A New View Film Series’ screening of Inocente, a documentary following a young artist who struggles with being a homeless, undocumented immigrant. The film had a greater impact on me than I imagined that it would. Art has never been an area that I was particularly interested in, so the idea of a film centering on an artist’s life didn’t appeal to me at first. I found that the film is about so much more than one artist’s journey. It tackles the complicated issues of immigration, homelessness, domestic violence, and poverty while outlining the positive impact art has had on this young girl’s life. For Inocente, art is a way of survival. While watching her journey to find positivity, I found myself wanting to hear from others in her position to see how they have responded as well. The audience discussion following the film was a powerful addition to this experience. Some audience members brought up stories from their personal lives and how the film sheds light on truth. Others talked about the greater problems in society that lead to the issues seen on screen. One student analyzed public policy and debated which was better: giving each child a paint set so everyone has a chance, but might not get far, or focusing in on one person and helping them flourish to great potential, but not letting every student experience art. Overall, I gained many new perspectives on a topic I didn’t think a lot about from watching this film.

20160221_204636by Hannah Martin

Interning at the Center for Interfaith Cooperation (CIC) helped me recommit to my personal values and determine what I will look for in my future careers. Out of all my internships, the CIC provided me with the most freedom and support to design my own program.

My role at the CIC was to develop community relations with Indiana’s Asian religious communities and then design a program to bring these communities together. There was no guidebook on how to do this. It was completely up to me to use my connecting skills to research and learn about Indiana’s Asian religious communities.

From this experience, I learned that I chose the right major and I want to work in a nonprofit organization. From class, I know that nonprofits are working to strengthen their community engagement programs and my connecting skills will be an asset to improve these endeavors. Additionally, I learned that I will always seek out places with foreign communities. Even in a small place like the CIC, I shared an office with people from Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. We all had our own cultural quirks which made every day a new learning experience.

For anyone interested in interning with the CIC, you will have a lot of great resources to create your own interfaith program. I never felt like I was bogged down with busy work; everything I did had a purpose and I felt like a staff member by the end of the program.

Spelman picby Trevor Spellman

This semester I had the opportunity to intern with the Center for Interfaith Cooperation (CIC). Working with this passionate group of individuals dedicated to the purpose of cooperatively among all religious affiliations was an incredible learning experience. Throughout my internship I focused on improving the relationships between the CIC’s immigration and refugee service core members and their respective partner organizations to improve the overall efficacy of the program. In the process, I was able to apply the skills that I have attained in my study of Psychology at Butler to create comprehensive surveys that will allow for in depth analysis in the future. While I was working on this assignment, my eyes were opened to all of the great and beneficial service organizations throughout the Indianapolis community. Working with the Center for Interfaith Cooperation was a great way to get out of my comfort zone and get exposure to the true Indianapolis community beyond the Butler Bubble. As an intern, I was able to meet some of the most prominent religious leaders in Indiana, such as KP Singh, and realize the Hoosier state’s relevance as a leader in interfaith cooperation at the national level (we’ll even be hosting the Dali Lama this June!) Overall, my time with the Center for Interfaith Cooperation was an extremely rewarding and beneficial experience. I was able to further my understanding of interfaith cooperatively, enhance the efficacy of service programs, develop a stronger sense of belonging to the Indianapolis community, and meet people that have influenced me greatly.


1234565_10201373210666391_226046720_nby Sarah Fuquay, Junior Sociology Major with a concentration in Social Work

My internship with the CFV has been a truly wonderful experience. I did not really know what to expect going into it, but it turned out to be a very rewarding and insightful opportunity for me. As a Sociology and Social Work major, I was worried that I might struggle with some of the Communications aspects of my internship. However, I learned that it was a great learning experience for me, and the internship really helped me to develop skills that I didn’t have before. Marguerite and Daniel were also very helpful and encouraging as well, which really helped me when I felt a little out of my element at times.

Aside from the work aspect of my internship, I also gained a lot of self-awareness about my purpose and what I am truly passionate about. The intern reflection meetings we had throughout the semester were very insightful and meaningful to me because they were very thought provoking and encouraged me to really think about my passions and my future. After this semester, I am even more confident in what I am studying as well as my plans for the future. This internship really solidified what I consider to be my vocation, and it encouraged me to pursue it.



Unknownby Anna Rauh

You would think that after living through 21 years of time passing, I would get used to the speed of things. But here I am, at the end of another semester, wondering how I got here. Five days a week I have come to the CFV for the past four months. When I got this internship, I had only come inside the Blue House once, and I had no idea how much it would have in store for me. Coming back from being abroad last semester, it was a transition that took time. The people around me at the CFV were there to listen, though, and they were truly invested in helping me soul search and find my own passions through this experience. The Blue House has been a safe space for me to think, to talk, to laugh, to write, to design, and to expand my realm of experience. I have led discussions on study abroad, sex positivity, diversity in spirituality, and graduating from Butler. I have sat on a panel of students who challenged administrators to push the boundaries and foster more spiritual learning at this university. I have been to seminars on diversity and heard people speak who have inspired me and opened my mind to new ways of thinking. I have worked under and with people who have educated me on topics I didn’t know I needed to be educated on. I have sat with other interns and discussed my calling and the meaning of life. I have applied my design and public relations skills from my academic studies to make a lasting impression on people outside the Center. I have served others, and through this work, I have come one step further on my journey toward a life of meaning and purpose.

20160420_155451by Olivia Sonell

This semester I’ve had the pleasure to serve as the Interfaith Intern for the Center for Faith and Vocation at Butler University. For me this has meant a lot of things; for one it means that I got a position I really wanted. Ever since I was really young I’ve wanted to be involved in religious activity in some way and while that may have waned to an extent during my time at Butler, this last year it has been an extremely important part of my life and my academic study. Exploring the variety of religious faiths and life has been an immensely rewarding experience, and my CFV internship has done nothing but encourage reflection on my and other’s values, our connection to each other, and what my responsibilities are in the world as a person of faith.

One of the big things I did as part of the internship was to organize off campus community dialogue. I organized two outings to local congregations: one Jewish, one Muslim – with the specific intent of creating a space for interfaith dialogue between those of faith difference. Both of these “excursions” as I called them were incredibly educational. At the Reform synagogue Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, I learned that many Jewish congregations pray over bread and wine at the end of Shabbat service, after which they eat a meal – I couldn’t help but make the connection to the Christian Eucharist of the body and blood and wonder if this Jewish ritual was where the Christian one began.

The mosque visit I organized was to Nur-Allah Islamic Center, which has been in existence in various forms for around fifty years. Nur-Allah has its origins in the Nation of Islam (which taught that God was Black and the white man was the devil) and has since moved towards a more orthodox and more universal vision of Islam centered around the Unity of God and the “brotherhood of man” (though I myself prefer the terms like “kinship of humanity”.) Their Imam Michael Saahir, was extremely personable and very pleased it seemed to be sharing his faith with us. He spoke of the Prophets Jesus and Muhammad and the unity of their message –  and how that relates to recognizing the truth in all religions. As a gender non-conforming person I took the liberty of asking Imam Saahir how might a bi-gendered space account for a person who is not man or woman. This led to discussion amongst Imam Saahir, the congregation, myself and my CFV supervisor Daniel Meyers on how accommodation would occur. In the end it was decided simply to have all the guests sit in chair on their own side of the room, so while we were in a since “segregated” from the congregants, we ourselves sat how and with whom we pleased. There was some additional “fallout” from this visit, but it occurred in a way that simply creates another learning experience for myself.

In all, with the different outings, the somewhat bi-weekly conversations, the field trips to show solidarity with faith communities in Indy, and my own continuing personal exploration I feel very fulfilled by this internship. Where I see myself going forward, as I am graduating this May, has been shaped by my work here. I am firm in my commitment to creating interfaith, intrafaith, and multi-faith understanding when and where I can; I find this work extremely fulfilling as it is for me a way of fulfilling the “Gospel Mandate” – “to proclaim good news to the poor, bring healing to the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.” (Isaiah 61:1)

By Abbey DiSano

Good Morning! I wanted to take this opportunity to share a little bit of what I was privileged to experience over spring break.  I spent the week at Nazareth farm, a Catholic community that transforms lives though service-retreat experiences in rural West Virginia.  The farm focuses on four “cornerstones” that guide the community: prayer, service, community, and simplicity.  Along with other members of the Butler Catholic Community, we were joined by 40 other students from different universities at the farm where we performed service through home repair to the local people of Appalachia. While we were invited into the homes of the homeowners, we were able to build personal relationships with these people and better understand the culture and diversity of the Appalachian community. 
 naz farm group

The relationships between all the volunteers deepened as we prayed and worshiped together each day, looking for the divine in the work were taking part in.  Living together in community on this retreat was often lighthearted and a lot of fun, but also lead to deep connections and life-long friendships. This love helped bring new meaning into our own lives and also gave us the desire to better know the people in Appalachia.

A core belief at Nazareth farm is that our faith calls us to action through social justice.  One aspect of Catholic social teaching that I was able to develop a deeper understanding of is dignity of work.  God calls each and every one of us to a different vocation.  While the physical labor of home repair may not be my own personal calling in life, I found the dignity in this work and an appreciation for the people who do perform this work in their daily lives.  I was also reminded that Jesus himself, was a carpenter. 

In light of dignity of work, I want to leave you with this scripture that reminds us that every person is blessed with a vocation that possesses value in its own special way.

“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever.”

1 Peter 4: 8-11

Have a blessed day, and I ask that you keep the people of Appalachia in your prayers today!


12186796_10154187193622119_6474375724388970292_o (1)by Emily Slajus

This past semester I have interned at the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic and it has been a great experience. I helped out with the housing department, which offers help to people going through foreclosure. Most of the time I helped the workers in intake, working with people who were starting the process. The best part of the internship was watching and learning from the employees at NCLC. The job can be difficult at times, there are a lot of demands and sometimes the people at NCLC seemed to care more than the people who were at risk of losing their homes. But, instead of being discouraged, the employees at NCLC do everything they can to help others. I saw patience and kindness every day during my internship at NCLC, which was truly inspiring. It was definitely rewarding to have clients who were so grateful for the help they were receiving. I saw how strong the people at NCLC are to help people who are going through hardships, it’s definitely not an easy job. NCLC gave me an opportunity to help with clients directly and see how the process works. Beyond the NCLC, the Center for Faith and Vocation gave interns a chance to reflect and really think about the work we were seeing and doing. It was truly valuable to actually have time to think about the work, instead of simply doing the work and moving on like most internships and jobs are structured. I will definitely value everything I have learned from this experience.


IMG_0400by Maya Alshawa

CFV Internship Reflection

During my internship at the Center for Faith and Vocation as the interfaith intern, I have gained both knowledge and experience about the meaning of interfaith. Before, interfaith had a simple meaning to me, and that was simply the interaction of as little as 2 people with different religious backgrounds. Throughout this semester, I learned that interfaith engagement can come in many forms, and that it results in stronger relationships, understanding, tolerance, and engagement.

The main event that I worked on this semester was organizing an interfaith service event at Gleaner’s food bank. Sometimes, people fail to see the overlap between religious ideals and beliefs. This event highlighted the importance of service, or helping others, which is a topic that most understand and encourage, regardless of religious or philosophical beliefs. This brought together a group of students and faculty members who could work side by side to help those who are hungry in the Indianapolis area. It invited the concept of interaction, conversation, and engagement between people of different faiths.

This semester, I also helped develop a collaborative grant through the CFV. This grant encourages collaboration amongst communities in the CFV. All 14 communities of the CFV are active, but often, not with each other. This grant encourages collaborative, interfaith work to take place between the communities. Lastly, this semester, I developed a series of posters to hang around campus that spread awareness about interfaith and educate students on how they can be engaged in interfaith activities on campus.

Through the different things I have done this semester while being an interfaith intern, I have explored new avenues of what interfaith means. It can be present in dialogue, pictures, service, collaboration, or activity. It can lead to discovery and understanding, and I think that at the end of this internship, that’s the most important thing I am taking away from the semester.

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