Each month we hope to give an update on the 3rd Way Collective experience at Penn State! Follow this blog to learn more about how we’ve been creating spaces for peace, justice, and faith at Penn State.
We began the month by traveling with three other campus ministries to Miami, Florida to participate in an alternative spring break trip to do service and learning with DOOR Miami. This trip was a meaningful one for all involved as we explored the urban experience looking at issues like immigration, homelessness, mental health, and so much more. We enjoyed good food and great weather, and made some new friends as these four groups connected with each other. You can hear reflections from our trip through the Peace Signs Podcast Spring Break episodes.
Arriving back on campus to its busy rhythms and routines was interesting for me (Campus Pastor Ben). I thoroughly enjoyed the Miami trip and being back in State College made me long for more local opportunities to practically engage and experience faith, peace, and justice with a large group.
One of the most significant moments in the month was the inaugural Palm Sunday Peace Walk. More than 100 people from our local congregations joined together to march for peace and celebrate where peace is being created in our community. It was a great reminder that many people in our community care deeply about issues of peace, and are willing to join together beyond their walls to participate in an event like this.
We joined with the same three groups from our Miami trip to offer students an interfaith Seder Meal in the Jewish tradition. It was helpful for our Christian students to reflect on this sacred Jewish tradition and experience the movement and rhythm of a meal such as this one.
As a representative for 3rd Way Collective, I also participated in a very moving State of the Story event sharing about transformation through grief and loss. I continue to be reminded that we all need spaces like these that allow us to share openly and honestly about our own stories.
March continued our weekly event schedule from the fall. This means that every week we offer Pause for Peace (a mid-week event offering a short interfaith reflection on peace, 15 minutes of silence and candle-lighting, and a short reflection time), our Peace & Justice Bible Study, and 3rd Way Conversations (a Thursday night conversation group featuring guest voices from the State College and Penn State community).
- Pause for Peace continues to attract a small group of students who are interested in a moment in their week to pause and breathe deeply. I find this space a helpful way to center my own sense of call, and presence on campus. We were fortunate this month to have several different student voices lead this time and space.
- Our Peace & Justice Bible Study has become a space for biblical engagement with one or two students each week. We are using Shane Claiborne’s Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals, and every time we experience a special conversation around scripture and life.
- 3rd Way Conversations this month again provided unique opportunities to hear from people in our community. One night without a speaker resulted in an impromptu dinner at a local restaurant. It ended up being a meaningful time without any agenda or conversation!
The month ended with a break as I traveled to Ontario, Canada to spend a long weekend with my family and rest from the busy pace of the past several weeks. There is only one more month left of the school year!