Campus Ministry celebrates first interfaith prayer service

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On Friday, Jan. 26, the Alumni Chapel was crowded with students, religious leaders, and community members as they gathered to pray and to celebrate at the Hope & Renewal Interfaith Prayer Service. The event was hosted by Campus Ministry and included rituals, reflections, meditations, and prayers from diverse faith traditions.

The Rev. Scott Adams, Assistant Director of Interfaith and Ecumenical Ministries, invited students and community leaders to share their different faiths with the congregation. Religious traditions from Catholicism and Islam to Shinto and Native American spirituality were represented at the service, which Adams plans to host annually.

Messages of hope and justice abounded as speakers encouraged the congregation to be open to other faith traditions and to spread their light with everyone they meet.

In between speakers, the Gospel Choir led the crowd in hymns of praise and celebration.

Katelyn Gaynor ’18 sang with the choir during the prayer service and was inspired by the messages of the speakers.

“On this campus, there are people that are celebrating all types of faiths and heritages, so I think an event like this just brought it all together,” Gaynor said. “It was a nice thing to have especially as we begin another semester.”

The prayer service was a product of the Interfaith Strategic Planning Board, a committee in the Campus Ministry office that is focused on increasing interfaith relations on campus.

Sam Kennedy ’20, an intern in the Office of Interfaith and Ecumenical Ministries, organized this prayer service with Adams and other members of the board. She wanted to bring students together in a time when society seeks to divide us and is  a response to the growing tension perpetuated by current political discourse.

“When were doing our programming, it was about getting students to really learn and take a moment to say ‘my faith is no better no worse than this other person’s faith. They’re just different’” Kennedy said.

Kennedy stressed the importance of accepting other faith traditions in the current social climate.

“Especially in [this] politically heated world, it’s about having conversations to listen rather than conversations to argue,” she said. “If we understand that, then maybe we can reach some mutual understanding and actually grow together.”