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Register Now for Intersections Conference to Discuss Diversity on College Campuses

February 12, 2018

Intersections: Faith, Church and the Academy. March 23-25, 2018

The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) will host the Intersections Conference in Nashville, Tennessee on March 23-25, 2018. Registration is available now through February 22, 2018. The event is designed for college administrators, faculty, chaplains and campus ministers, student life staff members, students, church leaders, and others interested in the impact of increased religious diversity on college campuses.  

The primary focus of Intersections centers around the concepts found in the new book, “Intersections: Faith, Church, and the Academy.” Through a variety of themed essays, the book explores the effect that engagements or intersections between individuals of diverse faith backgrounds and belief systems may have upon campuses, communities and students. As well, the volume specifically explores the ways that faith-based institutions are responding to increases in religious diversity on their campuses. The Intersections Conference brings together the authors and others to discuss these topics.

“With diversity comes enrichment and growth, as well as anxieties rooted often in misunderstandings,” shared Rev. Matthew Charlton, Ph.D., assistant general secretary, Collegiate Ministry at GBHEM. “This event brings us together to discuss the unique questions and challenges facing institutional administrators, faculty chaplains, and campus ministry leaders.”

Eboo Patel
Eboo Patel

The opening plenary session will be led by Rev. Mark Hanshaw, Ph.D., J.D., associate general secretary of the Division of Higher Education, GBHEM. A banquet will be held for guests at the Vanderbilt Divinity School Reading Room where Eboo Patel, Ph.D., founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core, will give the keynote address. Patel founded Interfaith Youth Core on the idea that religion should be a bridge of cooperation rather than a barrier of division. He is inspired to build this bridge by his identity as an American Muslim navigating a religiously diverse social landscape. For over 15 years he has worked with governments, social sector organizations, and college and university campuses to help make interfaith cooperation a social norm. Named by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders of 2009, Patel served on President Obama’s Inaugural Faith Council and is the author of Acts of Faith, Sacred Ground, and Interfaith Leadership: A Primer. He holds a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship.

The event will include four working sessions designed with the purpose of establishing a forum to consider the ideas, approaches, and questions relating to religious diversity on college campuses. The conference will include:

  • Discussions of key historical events associated with the expansion of interfaith engagement within the U.S.
  • Exploration of specific programmatic models for interfaith engagement being employed on U.S. campuses
  • Consideration of trends and future opportunities stemming from increased religious diversity on college campuses
S. Wesley Ariarajah
S. Wesley Ariarajah

S. Wesley Ariarajah, Ph.D., professor emeritus of ecumenical theology, Drew University School of Theology, will present at the conference. Ariarajah served for over 10 years as director of the Department of Interfaith Dialogue Program of the World Council of Churches (WCC). From 1992, he was the deputy general secretary of the WCC. He recently published “Strangers or Co-Pilgrims?: The Impact of Interfaith Dialogue on Christian Faith and Practice.”

Closing worship will conclude with a panel and discussion on interfaith engagement, followed by closing remarks from Noah Silverman, director of Faculty Partnerships at Interfaith Youth Core.

To learn more or register to attend Intersections, click here. Registration is $300 and includes two nights at the Embassy Suites at Vanderbilt, most meals and conference materials. Commuter registrations are $100, which includes conference materials, the banquet, and lunch on Saturday.

Registration is open through February 22, 2018. The event is March 23-25, 2018 in Nashville. For more information on GBHEM and the Division of Higher Education, visit

About GBHEM: As the leadership development agency of The United Methodist Church, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s mission is to build capacity for United Methodist lay and clergy leaders to discover, claim and flourish in Christ’s calling in their lives, by creating connections and providing resources to aid in recruitment, education, professional development and spiritual formation. Every elder, deacon and licensed local pastor benefits from our training and candidacy programs. Many young adults find help in clarifying their vocation and God’s call in their lives through our leadership and discernment programs. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook: @GBHEM.

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