BUIES CREEK -- The last time the Rev. Faithe Beam stepped into the White House, she was on a family vacation in the 1980s, and her tour was limited to only two rooms. This week, she’s there for a much more important purpose.
Beam, Campbell University’s Campus Minister, is joining Campbell Divinity School Dean Dr. Andrew Wakefield in Washington D.C. for the President’s Interfaith Service Campus Challenge, which is hosting approximately 200 colleges and universities in the U.S. The goal -- to motivate these campuses to commit to a year of interfaith and community service programming.
“The purpose of the challenge is to bring people together around a common purpose,” said Beam. “For all of us, serving others and meeting the needs of others is a common purpose. And it’s something we can all get around regardless of our political affiliation or our denominational or faith affiliation.”
“Service” is the key word in the initiative. All institutions involved are encouraged to select a national service priority or priorities to act upon during the upcoming academic year.
Campbell has chosen domestic poverty, education and military families and veterans as its priorities, and it will kick off its participation with a 9-11 Day of Service, scheduled for Sept. 10 and a 9-11 Interfaith Lecture on Sept. 12. Throughout the year, the service group Caring Camels will help place volunteers in local schools for mentoring and tutoring, and the University’s AmeriCorps VISTA worker will address poverty and its relationship to educational opportunities. Additional events planned include an interfaith panel discussion, Amazing Faiths dinner and Interfaith concert.
That is all but a part of the year-long challenge, according to Beam, who said she’s excited about the program’s potential.
“It’s very overwhelming because it involves so much,” Beam said, adding that she hopes to come away this week with not only a clearer picture of Campbell’s goals in the challenge, but also a “greater appreciation for why I believe God has called me to serve.”
“Being a part of hearing, experiencing and learning from people who come from different faith traditions … will help me gain a better appreciation for what they believe and for what motivates them to do what they do,” Beam said.
“Professionally, I look forward to sitting at the table with other institutions and bringing that experience back to the tables our group will be sitting around at Campbell. I hope this motivates our community and university really examine itself and gain a deeper appreciation for other faith traditions. The idea is just exciting to me.”
Photo Copy: Campus Minister Faithe Beam prepares to attend the President’s Interfaith Service Campus Challenge in Washington D.C.
OBAMA’S INTERFAITH SERVICE CHALLENGE VIDEO EMBED
Video courtesy: http://www.whitehouse.gov
By Billy Liggett, Asst. Director for Publications