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Exploring the Intersection of Faith and Politics

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    Eleven Southwestern students will explore the intersection of faith and politics during a spring break trip to Washington, D.C.

Eleven Southwestern students will spend spring break on an educational  trip to Washington, D.C.

Eleven students from Southwestern plan to spend their spring break in the nation’s capital exploring the intersections of faith, service and politics.  

The students will be going to Washington, D.C., March 16-20 with University Chaplain Beverly Jones and Georgianne Hewett, associate vice president for alumni and parent relations.

Jones said she decided to offer the trip this year to supplement Southwestern’s Destination: Service program, which has been offered over spring break for the past 14 years.  

“This trip is focused more on education than service,” Jones said. “The main theme is poverty and we hope to explore dimensions of poverty from different angles.”

The group will stay at First Trinity Lutheran Church in Washington and will explore a different place each day. Their agenda includes visiting Wesley Theological Seminary, the Washington National Cathedral and some of the museums in the Smithsonian Institution.

On Thursday and Friday, they will attend a seminar at the Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, which is located near the U.S. Capitol and the Supreme Court. The general secretary of that organization, James Winkler, delivered Southwestern’s 2008 Commencement address

“By visiting these places, we hope to open discussion about bridging faith, advocacy and governmental approaches to poverty,” Jones said.

Hewett has arranged for the group to meet with Southwestern alumni who have jobs in Washington, D.C., that might be of interest to them, such as Congressman Pete Sessions.

At the end of each day, the students will have dinner together and then discuss insights they have gained about poverty.   

“I’m looking forward to discussing both the political and the religious issues on the trip, but particularly the religious,” said senior Anna Steele. “I’m interested to see how politicians’ faith beliefs intersect with their political decisions.”

Jones said the students who signed up for the trip come from different majors and religious backgrounds. Some are pre-ministry students while others are more interested in the political side of the trip.

“With the range of students attending, we should have some good discussions and be able to provide a valuable educational learning experience for all,” Jones said. 

                                                                                                                  − Reese Cisneros ’10