A vision to promote interfaith tolerance continues to grow, as evidenced by the inaugural Middle School Interfaith Peace Camp, held over the weekend. It is believed to be the first of its kind in the Chicago area.

Students learn about the Torah

Members of the Children of Abraham Coalition organized the camp and its young adults served as leaders and mentors. Over the course of two days, the group of 30 middle school students and 20 young adult leaders visited a mosque, synagogue and church.

The camp included more than a tour of each house of worship. At each stop, young leaders from each faith tradition shared important pieces of their religion, peer to peer.

Muslim peers describe how they pray inside their mosque

“It’s just so empowering to see young people willing to stand up for interfaith peace,” said Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, who founded the Children of Abraham Coalition in 2010 in response to the hate-based events of 9/11.

He started the coalition with teens — at the time he served as chairman of the religion department at Saint Viator High School — and since then their parents have joined in, wanting to know more about other faith traditions. Now, they are starting early, taking their message to tweens.

The group made new friends and had fun learning about different faith traditions

“It was all about fun, friends and faith, while learning how to go back to our schools and communities to spread interfaith reverence,” Fr. Corey added.

At the end of the camp, students and their leaders alike wrote out their commitments to stand against prejudice.