The Limits and Possibilities of Sharing Christian Worship in an Interreligious Educational Setting


  • Jennifer Peace Andover Newton Theological School



interreligious eduction, interreligious worship, hospitality


This paper discusses a worship service I designed and led in November of 2014 at Andover Newton Theological School (ANTS). As a member of the faculty, a practicing Christian and a religious educator and interfaith organizer, I am invited to lead a service each year in the Chapel at ANTS. In particular, as the ANTS’ co-director of the Center for Interreligious and Communal Leadership Education (CIRCLE), a joint program between ANTS and Hebrew College, I was charged with making the service an “interfaith” gathering, open and inviting for Unitarian Universalist, Muslim, and Jewish guests, while still providing an authentic expression of Christian worship. This article offers a first-person narrative and thick description of the service, the planning process, the broader context of interreligious education at our schools, and reflections on both the possibilities and limits of sharing particular religious rituals across diverse religious traditions for educational purposes. Drawing on the work of interreligious educators I identify a set of goals for interreligious education and explore the potential for religious ritual to both contribute to and complicate these goals. I describe the worship service as a ritual event in the life of a Christian seminary as well as its meaning and role in the process of interreligious coformation that is part of CIRCLE’s work.

Author Biography

Jennifer Peace, Andover Newton Theological School

Dr. Peace is Associate Professor of Interfaith Studies at Andover Newton Theological School in Newton, MA, where she co-directs the Center for Interreligious and Communal Leadership Education (CIRCLE) a joint program between ANTS and the Rabbinical School at Hebrew College. She received her doctorate in the Historical and Cultural Study of Religions from the Graduate Theological Union. Jennifer's involvement in interfaith organizing includes being a founding board member of the United Religions Initiative, an early leader of the Interfaith Youth Core, and a founding member of the Daughters of Abraham. Author of numerous articles and essays on interfaith cooperation, Dr. Peace co-edited My Neighbor's Faith: Stories of Interreligious Encounter, Growth, and Transformation.(Orbis, 2012). In addition, she serves as editorial advisor for the Journal of Inter-Religious Studies and co-editor for the series, Interreligious Studies in Theory and Practice published by Palgrave, Macmillan.


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How to Cite

Peace, J. (2017). The Limits and Possibilities of Sharing Christian Worship in an Interreligious Educational Setting. Interreligious Studies and Intercultural Theology, 1(2), 206–223.