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SJE Topics and Themes

students gathered in church sanctuary before leaving for EcoTeach in Mastatal, Costa Rica

The Service and Justice Experiences program is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic with a new initiative: Faith and Justice Virtual Encounters.

Although we cannot be physically present with our community partners, we can practice social solidarity with them. During these social(ly distanced) justice experiences, each small group provides a space to reflect on the relationship between faith and justice in conversation with one of our community partner organizations. There is no cost to participateClick below to learn more.

Through Faith and Justice Virtual Encounters, you will connect you with a community partner working for justice in the United States. In small groups you will build community through shared reflection on faith and justice.

Each group will have about 10 members, including two graduate student facilitators, in partnership with an external community. Groups will gather (a) in person and be socially distanced or (b) via Zoom. These experiences are free of charge.

We will model a culture of encounter by exploring three basic questions:

Who am I? 

Who is this other community? 

Who are we together?

Here's what we will do to build this culture:

Attend live “encounter sessions” with a community partner via Zoom

Share reflections on faith and justice in our own lives in light of encounters with the community partner

Do group “challenge” activities or “experiments” that bring the encounter to life on campus

Take these simple steps:

Bring an open mind and an open heart

Be willing to listen attentively, share generously, and question passionately

Complete this registration form by Monday, Sept. 28, at 11:59PM

Plan to do the following:

Attend the half-day Kickoff Retreat and half-day Capstone Retreat, held on a Saturday or Sunday

In between these retreat days, attend four weekly, 90-minute sessions

 You also may be invited to engage with a challenge activity related to the community partner's ministry that would be discussed and reflected upon at the following session

The total weekly commitment is about two hours. For dates, times, and other details, see each encounter.

Some dates and times might be subject to change. Schedules will be finalized before the registration form goes live.

What to Expect

Immerse yourself in the community life and questions of Salal + Cedar, a small church that worships outdoors on the territory of the Coast Salish peoples, in Vancouver, British Columbia. We live and pray where mountains, ocean, agriculture, city, a global shipping port and the world's largest salmon river come together. 

Engage with members of our community on these critical questions: 

What is the role of the Christian and the Church in a time of climate crisis?
How are climate justice and racial justice connected?
How can white-majority communities seek and follow Indigenous leadership?
How are spiritual experiences in nature a resource for political and social change?
How can small-scale experiments in gift economies help us defect from capitalism?

In the fall, this option is open only to graduate students.

Calendar of Events

Kickoff Retreat

Sunday, Oct. 18, NOON-4:45PM (includes breaks with lunch most likely provided)

Four Weekly Sessions

Mondays, 8-9:30PM (Oct. 19, Oct. 26, Nov. 2, Nov. 9)

Capstone Retreat

1 Session on Saturday, Nov. 14, 1-2:30PM

2 Sessions on Sunday, Nov. 15, 1-4:30PM (includes break with lunch most likely provided)

 

What to Expect

Students will work with the Appalachian Catholic Worker, Emmaus Farm and the Catholic Committee of Appalachia to discuss their place in their own communities by learning about Appalachian culture, values and justice issues. The host communities will share their stories, a bit about the work they do in Appalachia and the importance of justice work in this region. 

After learning about the region and sharing parts of their own stories, students will get to meet friends of the host communities to engage in different perspectives on the Appalachian region. Sessions will include education, discussion, and opportunities to reflect and share how learning about Appalachia and the work for justice here in the mountains can be applied to students’ own lives and communities.

Calendar of Events

Kickoff Retreat

Saturday, Oct. 17, 10AM-2:45PM (includes break with lunch most likely provided)

Four Weekly Sessions

Tuesdays, 5:30-7PM (Oct. 20, Oct. 27, Nov. 3, Nov. 10)

Capstone Retreat

Saturday, Nov. 14, 10AM-4PM (includes 2 breaks with lunch most likely provided)

 

What to Expect

VIA International experiences enable students to build active relationships with grassroots leaders in Tijuana and San Diego. We will begin in the heart of Tijuana’s Colonias, working with Promotoras and exploring how development takes place at the community level in Mexico. 

Then we will virtually migrate into the United States, with an original video crossing of the border, encountering the reality of the Border Wall and how it shapes our entire region.

We’ll join the Amigos Car Club, San Diego’s founding Lowriders, on our way from the border to downtown San Diego, with an original video of riding down historic Highland Avenue to visit Chicano Park, the heart of the Civil Rights Movement in the Southwest. 

Next, we will read world-class murals and meet the muralists who paint change. Finally, our virtual experience will culminate with a one-day retreat, titled "Developing a Grassroots Practice of Engaged Justice."

Calendar of Events

Kickoff Retreat

Saturday, Oct. 17, 10AM-2:45PM (includes break with lunch most likely provided)

Four Weekly Sessions

Thursdays, 5:30-7PM (Oct. 22, Oct. 29, Nov. 5, Nov. 12)

Capstone Retreat

Saturday, Nov. 14, 12PM-6PM (includes 2 breaks with lunch most likely provided)

What to Expect

We will introduce you to a community:  A community of heritage.  A community of challenges.  A community of hope.  The residents and speakers you will meet come from many backgrounds and viewpoints. They will discuss with you, and you with them, the issues that are front and center to them. 

Discover the origins of redlining and its continued scourge on urban America.  What does it mean to be an activist? Could you go all in? How do you measure the "worth" of a community?  

Join us for what promises to be a thought-provoking experience. 

Calendar of Events

Kickoff Retreat

Sunday, Oct. 18, 10AM-2:45PM (includes break with lunch most likely provided)

Four Weekly Sessions

Mondays, 7:30-9PM (Oct. 19, Oct. 26, Nov. 2, Nov. 9)

Capstone Retreat

Sunday, Nov. 15, 10AM-4PM (includes 2 breaks with lunch most likely provided)

Please stay tuned for more details about plans and programming.

If you have questions or would like to learn more, please contact Ed Sloane: edward.sloane@villanova.edu | (610) 519–6292.