by Alysse Schultheis
On October 24, Sewanee Interfaith held its first Speedfaithing event. After filling plates with delicious cheese and grabbing a cup of lemonade, participants sat in pairs facing their first partner. Kiela Crabtree (C’15) and Maggie Koella (C’16) began the event explaining that there would be a new question every three minutes, after which one person in each pair would move to a new partner. The first question posed, “What is your favorite movie and why?” allowed partners to start with an easy and relaxed discussion before jumping into complicated topics. As round one continued, the questions asked participants to think about their beliefs in different ways, asking, “Are there specific days of importance in your tradition?” and “Have your beliefs ever differed from those of your tradition of philosophy?”
Providing a safe space to discuss religion, faith, traditions, and philosophies, Speedfaithing introduced many discussion topics in a short amount of time, allowing for a wide range of conversation between different people. After round one there was still some time before the next round of questions began, so six students decided to fill the time by dancing a reel while the rest clapped their hands and stomped their feet. Spinning to the music with a partner, the dance provided an impromptu way for students to join together regardless of faith or beliefs.
Settling down to the second round, everyone once again talked with a partner about questions such as, “What is a tradition you would like to learn more about, and why?” CarolAnne Poyman (C’16) learned a lot about the other people and appreciated having a safe space to talk since “personal beliefs and faith are not regular topics of conversation because they tend to make people defensive or argumentative.” The “open dialogue and honest communication was the key,” and Poyman thinks “everyone really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere.” The first Speedfaithing successfully brought students together, and as Chris Murphree (C’16) described, it was “a rewarding opportunity to learn not only about others beliefs, but your own as well.” Interfaith’s next event is on Monday, November 10, where the Imam of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro will come to speak about the importance of interfaith work.