Faith in Action, Adult Learning, and Immigrant Justice

Bringing Mission to Life


  • Christopher Tirres DePaul University
  • Melanie Schikore Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants



spirituality, religion, action research, adult learning, community engagement


This article emerges from a collaborative research project between a religious studies professor at DePaul University and the executive director of the Chicago-based non-profit Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants (ICDI). In 2016, we forged a community partnership to explore and enhance the relationship between pedagogy, faith, and social justice. In this article, we share the results of our research on how exposure to and involvement with the work of ICDI impacts students, staff, and volunteers. Our research reveals the powerful effect that a community-engaged partnership can have not only on adult learning but also on spiritual development. Our findings suggest that faith in action may take several forms, including encounter, accompaniment, advocacy, and social justice, and that those who engage the work of ICDI may engage them in different ways. These insights will be useful for institutions, both universities and community organizations alike, in enhancing adult learning and spiritual growth.


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