Support interfaith dialogue with "The Golden Rule" poster, which shows the golden rule in the sacred writings of 13 faiths.
Scarboro Missions' Interfaith Office is always seeking to educate and inform teachers and students about interfaith dialogue. As such, we have developed Guidelines for a Golden Rule Workshop, a Teacher Training Workshop and a World Religions Retreat Day.
More educational resources are available in our Learning Resources sub-section.
Guidelines for a Golden Rule Workshop
At a dramatic pace, more and more regions of the world are becoming environments of multiculture and multifaith. This trend is having a profound effect upon public education, religious education, ethical education and education for social justice. Growing numbers of educators are discovering that religious and ethical education can no longer be conducted from the perspective of only one religion or culture. Indeed, religious educators of the future will call upon the wisdom and teachings of numerous religious and humanist traditions.
The guidelines below are meant to be a small step toward this now-and-future direction. In this workshop or group discussion experience, participants are invited to reflect from the perspective of a universal moral principle – the Golden Rule – in its many and various expressions across the world’s religions. Read the Guidelines for a Golden Rule Workshop...
Scarboro Missions has sponsored workshops to train world religion teachers. Currently in North America, there are no organizations, schools or university programs for teacher training in this field. In the Fall of 2000, Scarboro Missions collaborated with the Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board in sponsoring two training days for world religions teachers. Teachers spent the day working in small groups with representatives of various faiths. Scarboro Missions has also consulted with religion department heads in various boards on the subject of world religions and interfaith.
World Religions Retreat Day
(For High School Students)
In recent years, Scarboro Missions has been facilitating world religion retreat days for high school students. The retreat day includes participation of four to six members of various world faiths. Experience has shown that the participation of members of various faiths makes the day a powerfully effective learning experience. One of the many goals of the retreat day is to enable the students to get a taste of the spirituality and culture of the various religions. An ideal group size is 40 to 60 students.
Outline of the day:
- Welcome and orientation
- Facilitator leads the entire group in a prayer experience that prepares everyone to partake of the various spiritualities to be presented that day
- Following introductions, each faith representative shares a symbol or prayer from her/his tradition. And speaks of its meaning in her/his life
- Students divide into small groups. Through the use of co-op games, they are invited to interact in a non-threatening way
- First workshop (length 30 to 40 minutes) - each student group listens to a faith group representative who speaks about their tradition and how it has personally enriched their lives. The world faiths representatives are invited to share their traditions on more than just an intellectual level. They are free to use song, story, dance, ritual , prayer, chant or meditation in their presentations. They are also encouraged to share visuals, sacred objects, symbols and scripture from their traditions. An interactive, storytelling approach, rather than a lecture approach, is encouraged.
- Second Workshop (same duration as above) - student groups rotate so that they repeat the experience of the first workshop but with a speaker from another tradition
- Each student group meets without a resource person to discuss what they heard and experienced in the two workshops. What did they find interesting? challenging? perplexing? Each group prepares a presentation and questions for all the speakers. One student in each group is chosen as spokesperson for the group (5 to 10 min)
- All students and speakers now form a plenary in which student groups give their presentations. Speakers panel responds to the student presentations and to student questions (15 min)
- Lunch (during the last 15 minutes of the lunch break, students have the option to experience a Buddhist meditation or a yoga exercise if any of the speakers would like to provide such)
- Focusing game
- This session seeks to emphasize the experiential. Here are some options. The afternoon session could include two of these. Each of the following are done in plenary a) Native person conducts sweetgrass ceremony (purification ritual) and gives a teaching on the sacred circle (with all students gathered in a circle), followed by questions b) Hindu classical Indian dancer performs a dance and then reflects with the students on how this dance routine is an expression of Hindu spirituality c) Taoist speaks about the ancient Taoist tradition of China and then performs a tai chi set. Discusses tai chi as an expression of Taoism. Leads the students in a tai chi routine, questions d) other options could include a meditation led by a Buddhist or a yoga experience led by a Hindu e) Paul McKenna sometimes uses brief video clips depicting the prayer and meditation experiences of world faith communities all over the planet. Also a group reflection on the Golden Rule as found in the scriptures of the world religions
- Closing Service -- Global Prayer
Note - this model has also proven to be effective with adult audiences
Are you interested in hosting a World Religions Retreat Day?
Contact the Interfaith Office for full details. firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-261-7135.
Contact the Interfaith Office:
Paul McKenna | email@example.com | 416-261-7135 ext.296