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Beyond the Gate

Upper School Welcomes Interfaith Atlanta’s Interfaith Speakers Network

On March 27, members of Interfaith Atlanta’s Interfaith Speakers Network visited the Upper School’s Comparative Religions course. Chaplain Megan Lloyd Joiner was excited to welcome practitioners of the faiths her students have been studying this semester including facilitator David Schoenberg, Reverend Dorie Griggs, Rabbi Ellen Nemhauser, Shelina Merchant, Parminder Singh, Valerie Morvan, Asif Hussain, Sucheta Kamath, Sister Pearl Pham, and Dr. Chris Ray Alexander. 

The visitors, members of the clergy and lay people, were extremely generous with their time, many of them attending all three sections of the course that met on Monday. Each member of the panel shared basic tenets and practices of their faiths before opening the discussion to questions and comments from the class. 

Students were intrigued by the relationships between the panelists, asking questions regarding how members of each faith adhered to the teachings of their respective traditions while being in conversation and collaboration with members of other faiths. Students also took the opportunity to inquire about their individual topics for their final capstone projects. For example, one student asked about various religious views on reproductive rights. A highlight of the day was a discussion between a student and Rabbi Nemhauser and Dr. Alexander on the relationship between history and mythology in various traditions. 

Interfaith Atlanta was founded in 1992. Its mission is “to promote understanding, respect, prayer, interactions, and unity among the diverse faiths in the greater Atlanta region and to advance the influence of voices of the faith communities for the common good.” The Interfaith Speakers Network (ISN) is a standing committee of Interfaith Atlanta with a mission to “to provide an educational program, tailored to the audience’s needs, which highlights the central tenants of the world’s major faith traditions, revealing their commonalities and, by example, showing mutual respect for others’ faiths.”

Comparative Religions is an Upper School Compassion Capstone course in which students study six major world religions and complete an independent study of a relevant social issue through the lens of two different religious traditions. 


Rev. Megan Lloyd Joiner is the Woodward Academy Chaplain and Pauline and R.L. Brand Jr. '35 Chair of Religious Studies. She holds a BA in Religious Studies from Wesleyan University and a Master of Divinity in Systematic Theology and Pastoral Care from Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

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