Princeton Theological Seminary interns at the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia take on a high level of responsibility, planning, and executing projects that otherwise would never get off the ground, while growing and learning in the process, says Interfaith Center Associate Director Rev. Nicole Diroff.
“They get the chance to sit with someone of another faith and ask questions, and through that experience, they gain the knowledge and skills to navigate a multi-religious world,” Diroff says.
Interns from Princeton Seminary are fully a part of the Interfaith Center team, she says, and “their thinking and input are just as valuable as everyone else’s.”
Diroff speaks proudly of Mark Almquist-Murray, MDiv ’18, a former intern who, with support from Interfaith Center staff, planned and led an immersive alternative break experience for students from Eastern University in Philadelphia. They visited various local places of worship and spoke to religious leaders of different faiths, including Buddhism, Judaism, and Sikhism, over a three-day period.
“It was so exciting to watch the students light up and have this tangible moment of understanding that I could witness,” Almquist-Murray says of his discussion with the students after the experience. “I felt like we had success in promoting understanding and challenging them to think newly about other religious communities.”
Almquist-Murray hopes to find employment in an interfaith setting, where he can continue the same type of work he was doing at the Interfaith Center.
“I want to work where I can engage with diverse religious communities in order to understand the history and practices of various religions. I want to avoid being completely siloed in my own tradition as a Protestant,” he says. “All Seminary students need some kind of interfaith experience because I think this is what’s required to be a religious leader today.”