Religious Studies Fall2010

During fall 2010, students in the class Latino/Latina Religions are documenting the history of St. Mary’s College for Women and Pre-GED school at St. Matthew’s Cathedral, the Episcopal Cathedral in Dallas, which is experiencing a surge in Latino parishioners. Through work in the archives, interviews with Pre-GED School students and volunteers, and ethnographic work with the parish, the class will produce a history of the church and its programs that will enable the congregation to better understand its multicultural make-up, the historic trends that led to this make-up, and the relationship between the church, its programs and the surrounding community.

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New opportunities for learning

alex.jpg An update from Alex, a senior Spanish and psychology major:

I have always thought that the classroom was the ideal environment for learning, probably because I have spent 17 years in a classroom. Thankfully, this service project has shown me every place, every person, every situation can be a wonderful opportunity to learn.

I have attended services in English and Spanish at St. Matthew’s Cathedral, and I had made my own observations, but nothing could compare to the experience of talking to the Spanish-speaking parishioners within the Episcopal church. It’s not every day that I can sit down with complete strangers and ask them personal questions about their faith and their lives. They all looked to their parish as a place to call home, a place to be comfortable and find a sense of community – something I think we all strive for. It was humbling to listen to others tell their story.

Textbooks and class discussions in the classroom set a distance inbetween the learner and knowledge, but the service project has made knoweldge a very personal experience for me.

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