Go to content, skip over navigation


More Pages

Go to content, skip over visible header bar
Home News Features Arts & Entertainment Sports OpinionAbout Contact Advertise

Note about Unsupported Devices:

You seem to be browsing on a screen size, browser, or device that this website cannot support. Some things might look and act a little weird.

(Inter)Faith Visibility Week features Greater Brunswick spiritual community

February 2, 2024

Amira Oguntoyinbo
IN GOOD SPIRITS: Students and community members gather in Smith Union to kickoff (Inter)Faith Visibility Week, sponsored by the RLC.

Yesterday, the Rachel Lord Center for Religious and Spiritual Life (RLC) kicked off (Inter)Faith Visibility Week in Smith Union. The opening event featured various religious and spiritual groups from across campus as well as area community organizations. Organized to coincide with the United Nations’ World Interfaith Harmony Week, events next week will include an Islam 101 workshop and a community dinner with the Brunswick Area Interfaith Council.

Oliver Goodrich, Director of the RLC, said the week aims to highlight and promote religious pluralism while also providing students with resources to navigate religion and spirituality.

“Religion and spirituality often function—though not always—as ‘invisible’ identities, so we hope that the week will give visibility to the diversity of religious and nonreligious identities on campus. Additionally, we want to equip our students with skills to navigate conversations and encounters across lines of religious and ethical difference,” Goodrich wrote in an email to the Orient.

As part of its initiative to foster connection, the RLC will welcome local faith groups to participate in the week’s slate of events. The center will host students, faculty, staff and community members in Ladd House on Monday for the Community Dinner Dialogue, which centers on contemplation and action.

Mary O’Brien, president of the Brunswick Area Interfaith Council, collaborated with Goodrich to set up the event. According to O’Brien, attendees at the dinner will discuss grounding techniques, such as intentional eating, gratitude and mindful breathing.

“I think it’s a neat opportunity for students to learn to hear from people from diverse backgrounds in the community,” O’Brien said. “We invited Buddhists and yoga and Qigong teachers, Christian leaders, interfaith people, Unitarians, musicians, artists, a wide variety of people, to share about their experiences.”

According to Goodrich, the name (Inter)Faith Visibility Week is meant to convey the widespread educational value of fostering religious and spiritual inclusion, regardless of one’s background.

“Some people might wonder why the week is called ‘interfaith’ visibility week rather than ‘interreligious’ visibility week,” Goodrich wrote. “Not everyone who practices religion does so as a matter of ‘faith,’ and nonreligious folks can also have deeply held beliefs and ‘faith’ in things.… I hope that (Inter)Faith Visibility Week will help the Bowdoin community think about how we can make our campus a more inclusive place for all our students – religious, spiritual, and atheist.”

Emma Mazlish ’26, a student director at the RLC, hopes the week’s activities encourage students to engage in the center’s array of regular programming. For example, Mazlish highlighted the center’s Congregation Crawl, an initiative that allows students to visit different religious conjugations in Brunswick. This week, students will visit a mosque in Portland and a Lutheran Church in Brunswick.

Mazlish noted that, despite the RLC’s programming to support students’ religious and spiritual pursuits, building connections between faith communities can still be a challenging process.

“I think it takes a lot of awareness and interfaith skills in order to have conversations with people who hold different religious identities than you do,” Mazlish said. “And [you want] to do that in a respectful way … that will allow them to feel safe with you … invite you into their space and teach you about their community.”

Ultimately, Mazlish hopes the week’s events leave students feeling encouraged and empowered to engage with communities with which they might not be familiar.

“Building those bridges between those communities and between individuals, especially at such a small close knit community like Bowdoin—it’s really important to recognize that we do all have this part of our identity … and to be willing and curious to learn about each other,” Mazlish said.


Before submitting a comment, please review our comment policy. Some key points from the policy:

  • No hate speech, profanity, disrespectful or threatening comments.
  • No personal attacks on reporters.
  • Comments must be under 200 words.
  • You are strongly encouraged to use a real name or identifier ("Class of '92").
  • Any comments made with an email address that does not belong to you will get removed.

Leave a Reply

Any comments that do not follow the policy will not be published.

0/200 words