Franklin College hosted the “Interfaith Understanding through Storytelling Event” Thursday as part of the college’s convocation lecture series and in partnership with the IUPUI School of Liberal Arts and their 2020 Spirit & Place Festival.
The event was moderated by professor emeritus David Carlson and hosted in partnership with the theater department, with theater professor Nick Crisafulli serving as moderator. The Office of Religious Life and Chaplain Hannah Adams Ingram also helped managed the event.
This event was originally scheduled for March and was to take place the same week the college was shut down due to COVID-19. It was supposed to be in person, then it was moved to a virtual format and took place on Zoom.
The speakers were JoAnne Terrell, an ordained Christian elder and a senior student in the Vajrayana and Zen Buddhist traditions, and George Kelly, education director for Congregation Beth El-Zedeck of the Jewish faith.
Both speakers shared stories from their faiths and walks of life to educate the campus communities on various religions.
“We live in a multi-religion world and more importantly a multi-religious neighborhood,” Carlson said.
Stories are the basis of many art forms and can be used to educate on different religions, the speakers said.
Terrell quoted author Joan Didion as saying, “We tell ourselves stories to live.” She went on to explain that stories help people connect and share experiences, which can grow empathy.
Kelly said that stories bring people on journeys into the imagination. He also said that stories can be personally interpreted and the meaning can look different from person to person.