write a 2-3 page reflection on religious service or established

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For this assignment, you will visit one religious service or established sacred activity and reflect on your experience. Try to do an internet search before the event to get a sense of the organization beforehand. After attending the event, you will write a 2-3 page reflection. The reflection will address the following questions:

1. Who is the person describing the service? Who are you? ( Middle eastern female – Muslem) Where are you coming from, contextualize yourself as the observer. What expectations, reservations, etc. did you bring with you to this particular service and how might this have colored your reaction. Were you surprised? Did you like it/dislike it? Why?

2. What kind of service or event are you attending and how is it being conducted? Is it a morning, afternoon or an evening event? Is the service primarily being conducted in English or another language? How participatory is it? Do only men play an active role? What about the women, the children? How formal is it?

3. What is it like? Describe the place, the setting.

4. What do you think? Were you surprised by anything? Did you enjoy the service/ event? Would you go back? Would you tell your friends to go? WHY? What did you expect to find? And what does this experience add to your understanding of the religion?

You may choose any religious congregation within Philadelphia as long as you have not been there before! Note that some congregations may be wary of visitors; try to get a sense of the community from their building & website. If you’d like suggestions, you may consider the following, all of which are welcoming to visitors:


1. Roman Catholic:

St. Malachy’s Parish. This is where we will have a field trip & tour. It is within walking distance from campus & they would love to have you visit for services. 1429 North 11th Street. Mass, Sundays at 10:00, dress casual.

Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul. This is the cathedral, the “mother church” of the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia. It is very beautiful. It’s located at 18th St. & Benjamin Franklin Parkway. They hold masses at 5:15pm on Saturday evenings, & 8:00, 9:30, 11:00, (12:30 in Spanish), & 6:30 on Sundays. They welcome visitors & often have “cathedral ambassadors” to answer questions & even give tours.

National Shrine of St. John Neumann. This is the museum & shrine of saint John Neumann, the fourth bishop of Philadelphia & the only American male to be canonized (become a saint). They hold masses at 5:30 pm on Saturday evenings, & 7:30, 9:30, (11:00 in Spanish), 12:30 & 3:30 on Sundays. They are located at 1019 North 5th St. (at the corner of Girard). Go downstairs to the small chapel if you would like to view his remains.

St. John the Evangelist. They are friendly and several students have had good visits. They are located in Center City at 21 S. 13th St. Masses are at 5:15 on Saturdays and Sundays at 8:30, 10:30 & 12:30.

2. African-American Protestant (all ethnicities welcome):

Zion Baptist Church. This is the famous church of Rev. Leon Sullivan, the “Lion of Zion” who founded the OIC & the first African-American owned mall (Progress Plaza). Worship services are Sundays at 7:45 & 10:45. These services are quite long and often have beautiful music. The church is located at 3600 N. Broad (at the corner of Venago), 2 miles up Broad St. from campus.

Mother Bethel AME Church. This is Richard Allen’s church, the first African Methodist Episcopal Church in the nation & the oldest parcel of land continuously owned by African Americans. It also holds the Allen museum & shrine & an underground railroad stop. It has worship services Sunday mornings at 8:00 & 11:00. It’s located at 419 S. 6th St. (the corner of S. 6th St. & Lombard St. in Society Hill).

Church of the Advocate, Episcopal Church. This is the site of one of our upcoming field trips, the church where the historic ministry & civil rights work of Rev. Paul Washington took place, the site of the National Conference of Black Power & the Black Panther Conference. It was also the first Episcopal Church in the world to ordain women. Rev. Renee McKenzie works closely with Temple, & would love to see you on a Sunday! Located at 1801 W. Diamond the main entrance is on N. Gratz. Sunday worship is at 10:00 am.


3. Episcopal/Protestant:

Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral. This is the “mother church” of the Philadelphia Episcopal community, a beautiful building. Their services are Sundays at 10:00 am. They are located at 13 S. 38th St. at the corner of Ludlow (between Market & Chestnut). They offer free parking passes online & in person if you are driving.

Old Swedes Church (Gloria Dei). The oldest church in the U.S. unchanged since its construction & still holding services. Sunday services are at 10:00 am. Evensong is Tuesday evenings at 6:30 (this short service with singing & prayer would be an option for the assignment as well). Very historic space!

First Presbyterian Church. This church was one of the earliest Presbyterian churches in the U.S. Located in Rittenhouse Square at the corner of 21st & Walnut, it is extremely welcoming to visitors. They emphasize that they welcome all people (no exceptions) & is particularly committed to being LGBT friendly.

Old St. George United Methodist Church. This is the oldest continuing Methodist congregation in the nation. It is the church that Richard Allen & Absolom Jones worshipped in & left to found the “African Church” & later Bethel AME. Sunday services are at 10:00 am. They are extremely welcoming to tourists and visitors. They also have a museum. They are located in Old City at 235 N. Fourth St. between Vine & Race Streets.

Epiphany Fellowship. This is an evangelical church located in our area, across from the Advocate. I am including it as an example of a contemporary, Bible-believing church. They are explicitly committed to being a diverse, multi-ethnic congregation and supporting the community. They welcome Temple students. They are contemporary and relaxed in worship and outlook. They are conservative about gender roles and gender expression, promoting books on “authentic manhood.” They are located at 1632 Diamond St. and worship is on Sundays at 10 & 12.


4. Unitarian Universalist:

First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia. A UU Church that draws on the wisdom of all spiritual traditions, including humanist, earth-centered, atheist, pagan & other religious & philosophical traditions, this church is not specifically Christian. Located at 2125 Chestnut St., they are very welcoming to visitors & also specifically welcome LGBT persons. They have meditation services on Sundays at 10:15 & worship service at 11:00.

5. Jewish:

Congregation Rodeph Shalom. One of our field trip sites, Rodeph Shalom is the 1st Ashkenazic synagogue in the Western Hemisphere. A long walk or short subway ride right down Broad St., (615 N. Broad) they are welcoming to all & non-Jews attend regularly. Worship is on Friday evenings at 6:00 pm, dress is casual.

Mikveh Israel. 44 N. 4th St. These services are unchanged since the 18th century and are conducted in Hebrew. They may be better for Jews familiar with synagogue services who are interested in learning more about the Sephardic tradition. See their website for Sabbath service times (Friday evening or Saturday.) mikvehisrael.org

6. Buddhist:

Shambhala Meditation Center of Philadelphia. This multi-ethnic, welcoming community offers classes in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition, but meditation is open to all including non-Buddhist & non-religion persons. Monday nights at 6:00 they have informal gatherings which are open to the public & free. They start with a half hour meditation followed by dharma readings & discussion. They welcome people with no experience of meditation or Buddhism and many younger people attend. They also have other open meetings at other times, which you can find on their website. 2030 Sansom St. (2 blocks south of Market between 20th & 21st), upstairs, small sign, look for it.

7. Muslim: Good choices for Muslims & non-Muslims:

Masjid Quba. This is a masjid in Fairmont Park at 4641 Lancaster Ave. The assistant imam is our own Quaiser Abdullah, faculty advisor to the MSA (Muslim Student Association). If you’d like to visit the masjid, let me know and I’ll connect you to Quaiser who will assist you!

Masjid Al-Jamia at 4228 Walnut Street (University City area) is staffed and open during the day. If you come at a non-prayer time, they will be happy to show you around and answer questions (check website for prayer times). Just tell them you are visiting for a class. They are super friendly. If you are a Muslim, you are welcome to join them for prayer.

Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship. A Sufi congregation. 5820 Overbrook Avenue. They have Sunday morning meetings at 10:00 as well as Jumuah prayer on Fridays. They welcome all visitors, including non-Muslims, and will be helpful.

Other choices primarily for Muslims:

United Muslim Masjid. UMM welcomes guests to its Jumuah prayer on Fridays at 810 S. 15th St. If you are not a Muslim, email Qasim Rashad at infro@ummonline.org for information on visiting.

Makkah Masjid. 1319 W. Susquehanna Avenue. This is near campus and open for prayer. It has rotating imams for Jumuah prayer (including the chair of Temple’s religion department, Khalid Blankinship). It is often not staffed between prayer times.

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