What would it take to make a peaceful world?
The knowledge that we are more similar than we are different, and that begins with a distinct and deep understanding of the individual self. Before we can reach out to and partner with the larger community, we must be solid in who we are, what we believe, and what that means against cultural and historical backdrop.
In 2018, we launched a dynamic new program called One Faithful World: a writing exploration of the role of women and girls in spirituality and religion. Our program was sponsored by First United Methodist Church of Royal Oak, the Muslim Unity Center, and Temple Israel, One Faithful World uses writing to explore the role of females in faith.
Through writing workshops, collaborative discussions, literature exploration, and interaction with guest speakers who touch on specific topics, our participants were able to emerge with a defined ownership in their faith identity combined with an understanding of the shared values across all the different faith communities. This four month program brought together girls and their mothers (or other female adult’s in their lives) to share their writing and their discoveries of similar values and shared perspectives across faith traditions.
Session 1 – January 28, 2018
Our first session took place at Temple Israel. One Earth Writing instructors, Joy and Maureen, split the women and teen girls into two separate groups – each instructor facilitating one group – as they would begin by reading poetry, then discussing how fashion represents and/or impacts our identity and/or faith. Our guest speaker was Brenna Lane, co-owner of Detroit Denim Co., addressing fashion and the role it has played in history and how it has shaped our identity.
Session 2 – February 22, 2018
In this workshop, our participating women and teen girls came together at Temple Israel and built an understanding of who we are as females through the foods we prefer or know well. Our program concluded with guest speaker, Sue Selasky, an author, food writer, and Test Kitchen Director at the Detroit Free Press.
Session 3 – March 8, 2018
Three female leaders from Muslim, Jewish and Christian religious communities all spoke on their paths to leadership for our group at the Muslim Unity Center. This workshop focused on identifying the different roles that women play in their faith and encouraged the participants to brainstorm qualities of a leader, and if those qualities are specific to men or women.
Session 4 – April 12, 2018
Our final session took place at First United Methodist Church of Royal Oak. We started this session with a tour of Hope’s Closet, a non-profit organization working to provide young women with the opportunity to attend special High School events with a dress of their choice regardless of financial constraints or limitations. Emily Baker, founder and president of Hope closet, shared with our participants how she married her senior prom date, and now she helps make other girls look beautiful on their special occasions.
Following the tour, One Earth Writing instructor Maureen Dunphy led our participants in goal setting exercises. The goal of this session was to combine all the topics covered in the previous three sessions, and discuss how each of us can make a difference in our communities by developing goals, focusing our efforts, and developing actionable ways to use our time and resources productively in order increase our chances of achieving what we want in life.
We are so thankful to all the women and girls who helped us make One Faithful World a success. and to our sponsors who provided us the hospitality to bring this diverse, influential group together. Because of this program, 100% of our participants agreed that One Earth Writing helped them to see similarities between the differing faiths and encouraged them to develop an appreciation for diversity.