Encounters & Dialogue

When did you visit? (day/time):
What kind of function or activity did you attend?:
To what degree were you already familiar with this religion/denomination? Have you ever experienced
this religion before? How long ago? How often?
N/ Encounters & C
Describe the place: (use additional paper)
The grounds: any special care to the garden and yard? Parking area? Signs?
The building, outside: how big is it? Style, materials, etc. (traditional or contemporary)? Is the building
oriented to a specific compass direction (you may need to ask) – if so, why?
The building, inside: layout (rooms and their use, multiple levels)? Artwork, symbols, decorations?
information on display, etc.
The worship room: how big is it? seating arrangements, windows, focal point (e.g. an altar or shrine)

  • be specific, what items are in the space? What decorations, symbols and/or ritual objects are
    present? Is the space simple or ornate?
    Describe the activity: (use additional paper)
    What kind of activity was it (worship? Study? Meditation?, etc.):
    What did they do? (singing, reading/reciting passages from scripture? Chanting, silence, meditation.”
    ritual movement? a sermon or message? Use of a foreign language? praying – in unison,
    responsively, by individual (breakdown activities in order of occurrence)
    How long did the activity take from beginning to end?
    Describe the people and your interaction with them: (use additional paper)
    How many? Ethnic mix? Ages & gender distribution? Any children?
    What were they wearing? Was there a special person leading the activity? Was this person wearing
    anything distinctive?
    Who did you talk with? (name, status – religious leader? Lay leader? Just an ordinary follower?)
    What did you talk about? (list the questions you asked, jot down notes on the answers you were
    given)
    Collect printed information on this religion and place of worship and include these items with your report.
    Take pictures (if you are able and allowed) and include these as well. (Information only from websites is
    not sufficient. You should provide hard evidence that you personally visited this place.)
    Note your thoughts or feelings about this experience and general impressions regarding this religion
    (beliefs, practices, the people, etc) (use back or additional paper if necessary)
    Step Two: Make Your Visit
    During your visits:
    Please print out the Encounters & Dialogue Collection Notes
  1. Observe what the physical setting is like: the architecture and furnishings, the layout, art work (if any), hymnals, reading material, etc. Are there special
    objects or symbols? Is there a setting that seems to be the center of attention (e.g. a shrine or altar)? Is the place ornate or simple?
  2. Note what the people do: is there reading, reciting, singing, movement, silence or meditation, manipulation of physical objects (ritual), use of foreign
    language, sermon or lesson? Is there a special person as leader? Do the people face a certain direction? Do the people wear anything special? Are there
    children present? What is the atmosphere like: solemn, reverent, exciting, relaxed, peaceful, etc.? What struck you as the most important element of the
    setting and activity?
  3. Try to talk to someone from the group. Ask them questions, ask them to explain what you saw and heard. Focus especially on their personal experience
    with and perspective on the religion.
  4. Document your experience with pictures of any informational flyers, brochures, or booklets that may be available. If you can (ask permission), take pictures
    of the place and include these in your report/share with the class as well. If you want to do a video report, be sure to take enough pictures for that (see
    example 2 ). At the very least, take a “selfie” that shows you with the building and/or sign for the place in the background. Include (attach) these with your
    report to help document your experience.
    Due Date: Sooner rather than later. At least a week before the deadline for posting your report. Please do not wait until the last minute to get this done.
    Something unexpected might come up to delay your plans and if you’ve waited too long to do it, you may not have time to reschedule before the report is due.
    Step 3: Share a Report on Your Experience
    Report on Your Experience in the Discussion Forum: Formal Report – Encounters & Dialogue
    Most students write a report but you may choose to do a video report instead (here’s an example @). Either way you report on your experience, the same
    content should be included:
    In your report, be sure to discuss the process of this experience, from the planning stages through reflections on personal transformation
  5. In an opening paragraph, discuss your planning, anticipation, and expectations for this experience:
    • Why did you pick this religion and this particular place to visit?
    • What kind of preliminary research did you do to familiarize yourself

Sample Solution