Extra Credit Assignment Instructions HUM 30 – Fall 2014
Due by the day of the final.
The extra credit assignment requires you to visit a religious service in a house of worship that you are not familiar with (a church, synagogue or mosque) and to write a 3 page report on the visit.
First, pick a religious tradition (Islam, Judaism, Christianity) and a place of worship. Then determine with which sect or denomination (e.g. Sunni Islam, Reform Judaism, Anglican Christian) the place of worship is affiliated.
Telephone the place of worship in order to ask permission to attend (unless the website assignment instructions page tells you not to – some places prefer you don’t call) and to get a list of times (preferably the time of the regular weekly service). Also ask about any requirements for clothing and behavior. Do not be late to the worship service!
Before going, be sure you are dressed in modest clothing. Once in the place of worship, please follow any clothing restrictions (e.g. head coverings, footwear removal) and gender separation.
Pick up any written material which may be available. If there are any possibilities for asking questions from the leader or a member of the congregation before or after the service, take advantage of them.
Write down your impressions as soon as possible after the service, so that you get a clear record. If you wait too long, you might not remember all the details. You may wish to have a piece of paper with these headings in your pocket in order to write them down on your way home from the service.
Once at home, review your notes. When you write down your impressions after leaving the service, try to address the following points, under the following headings:
1) Identification: Identify the religious tradition, the sect or denomination, and the name and location of the place of worship; list the date and time of the service, and the type of service attended (e.g., weekly service, baptism, bar mitzvah).
2) The Building: Describe the building, both exterior and interior. What indicates that this is a religious institution? What symbols which represent the religious tradition are present? Is there any art or decoration? If so, what kind, and how does it affect the experience?
3) The Service: Describe the worship service. How long is it? What kind of symbolic objects are used? What language(s) are used? Are there different languages used at different times? Is there music? If so, what kind (choral, instrumental, etc.)?
4) Themes: Discuss the theme of the service relates to any (or all) of the themes discussed in our class- man’s relationship to himself; man’s relationship to society; man’s relationship to nature; the role of undeserved suffering in the human condition. How and why was it similar to your own beliefs- religious or secular?
If possible, please attach a flyer or bulletin from the place of worship, preferably one which has the date and service order on it (Often such bulletins have weekly announcements, the theme of the sermon, and other information). You must describe the service as it was on the day you visited; do not describe the service as it “usually” or “generally” is.
Although you may go to the place of worship with another student, each student must write his or her own paper independently. The assignments must be done by each student on his/her own. The projects are not to be done collaboratively or in groups. Papers arising from group efforts will be treated as plagiarized papers. Plagiarism consists of direct copying without acknowledgment, closely paraphrasing a paragraph or more, benefiting from someone else’s clearly recognizable ideas by passing them off as your own. Don’t do it!