Chaplains' Interfaith Service Team

“The intersection of spirituality, civil rights, and service were so incredibly woven together on this trip, and made me ask many new and essential questions.”

Destination: Tuscaloosa, AL

Trip Organizers: Chaplain Rick Spalding ([email protected]) & Nancy Luczynski ([email protected]edu)

The Experience

The Chaplains’ Office assembled a group of students as religiously/spiritually diverse as possible (many faiths, denominations, worldviews – including agnostic and atheist), enabling everyone to explore common values and discuss differences of worldview and belief while sharing the work of humanitarian service and experiencing religious/spiritual diversity.  Each weekday, the crew did a full day’s work on a Habitat for Humanity house, helping our host community’s continuing recovery from a devastating tornado in 2011. Each evening, after cooking dinner together, everyone settled in for a lively extended conversation on the subject, “What is a human being?” – drawing on the varieties of religious tradition, practice and perspective reflected in the group.  The group also managed to attend a Protestant Sunday service, jum’ma prayer, Shabbat at the University of Alabama Hillel, and a Roman Catholic mass.  All of this transpired against the backdrop of the (continuing) civil rights struggle – some of whose major landmarks were visited.

Participant Quotes

  • “My understanding of spirituality as a journey has completely changed while on this trip, as well as my commitment to service and breaking down economic injustice and inequality in this country.”
  • “The intersection of spirituality, civil rights, and service were so incredibly woven together on this trip, and made me ask many new and essential questions.”
  • “It was a great trip all around. The Habitat work was fulfilling and the interfaith discussions challenging and inspiring.”
  • “It was wonderful to be able to get off campus and to ‘step outside of myself,’ so to speak. It was wonderful to be able to ponder questions like ‘What is a human being?’ in the context of community.”