Interfaith Council

The Mission of the Council

Rooted in the Catholic tradition that values faith, understanding, and the dignity of all people, we strive to strengthen and unify our community by fostering meaningful interreligious dialogue, engagement, and collaboration in service of the common good.

Council Vision

Preamble: “Our great challenge is to create a culture of encounter which encourages individuals and groups to share the richness of their traditions and experience; to break down walls and to build bridges.” – Pope Francis

In practice, this may look, feel, or sound like the following:

  • Promoting a culture of encounter that fosters charitable listening and appreciative engagement that actively seeks the beautiful, the admirable, and the life-giving in various religious and nonreligious traditions, worldviews, and ways of living alongside our own;
  • Supporting curricular and co-curricular encounters that are essential to global religious and cultural literacy, respect, and the examination of the role of religion in society in research, teaching, and practice;
  • Advocating for an academic calendar that, while shaped by the Gregorian calendar, seeks to acknowledge multiple traditions’ major holidays to encourage awareness but also the equal right of all community members to observe traditions without adverse impact to their standing and status, academically and otherwise;
  • Sustaining an Interfaith Council that represents a diverse cross-section of equal numbers of students, staff, and faculty – the members of which are committed to religious and cultural literacy, self-education, and learning together – that serves as an advisor, facilitator, and partner to other institutional stakeholders in realizing this vision;
  • Advancing St. Thomas’ Strategic Plan to be a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community of study, dialogue, and practice that promotes, demonstrates, administers, and assesses collaborative processes to fulfill this vision statement.

Council Members

The council is made up of students, staff and faculty from across the university.

Linda Baughman

Fr. Christopher Collins

Rabbi Ryan Dulkin

Neil Ellingson

Cardina Esparza

Michele Goodson

Hans Gustafson

Lisan Hasnain

Amy Kadrmas

Karen Lange

Austin Litke O.P.

Steven McMichael

Christopher Michaelson

Fuad Naeem

Avi Olitzky

Ricky Pipala

Delaney Sacia

Bob Shoemake

Othman Zaimi