Saturday 20th September 2014,
The Transcript

Uniting OWU: Interfaith event connects students spiritually

TheTranscript April 18, 2014 News 1 Comment
Photo by Spenser Hickey Junior Brianna Robinson (left) and University Chaplain Jon Powers (right) embrace following Night of Unity. Robinson organized the event, with assistance from Powers, other chaplains and Better Together, a club aimed at promoting interfaith dialogue. Photo by Spenser Hickey

Photo by Spenser Hickey
Junior Brianna Robinson (left) and University Chaplain Jon Powers (right) embrace following Night of Unity. Robinson organized the event, with assistance from Powers, other chaplains and Better Together, a club aimed at promoting interfaith dialogue. Photo by Spenser Hickey

By Spenser Hickey and Jija Dutt
Managing Editor and Transcript Reporter

A month after Culture Fest’s ignition of unity, Inter-faith House (IF) members carried out a spiritual remix.

Junior Brianna Robinson organized Night of Unity as her house project for the second year in a row.

She said the concept is to provide a safe space for students to share their faith, spiritual journey or lack of faith.

“It is a time for everyone to learn and grow together,” Robinson said.

Night of Unity featured a variety of faith traditions, including denominations of Christianity, Judaism, agnosticism and atheism.

Performances included  dance, readings, singing and instrumental music.

Other IF residents, Better Together members and the Chaplain’s Office all helped organize the event.

Robinson said this year’s event was more successful, with approximately 40 people in attendance; planning began around two months ago.

“I am a true believer in unity and how we are all really better when we work, learn and love together,” Robinson said.

She added that her main goal was to reach out to as many people as she could.

“I wanted to get people to talk about (faith and unity,)” she said.

“Communication is key for change.”

Senior IF resident Rachel Vinciguerra took part by choreographing a dance and later reading a portion of “Pale Blue Dot” by Carl Sagan.

The dance, performed by students, was set to “Storm Comin” by The Wailin’ Jennys, a Canadian band.

The dance focused on themes of faith and loss of faith in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, while the reading looked at the Earth’s position in space and the triviality of religious conflict on it.

“I think it’s really neat that two presentations…that are so different fit so well into one program,” she said.

She said she loves Sagan’s scientific perspectives and that the event shows  both commonalities and unique experiences on faith.

At OWU, Vinciguerra said that interfaith dialogue can be hindered by the misconception that only religious people can participate.

“That is not true at all and I wish that was something that was more widely understood,” she said.

“I would love to see more people who don’t subscribe to a particular religion participating in these events because they have critical things to say, things that I think we all need to hear.”

“Interfaith to me means an open and understanding community where we can all grow and learn from each other,” Vinciguerra added.

“It doesn’t mean that we all agree all the time, it doesn’t mean that we ignore the differences between our beliefs, but it means that we embrace those differences and learn more about ourselves and others in the process.”

“Not everyone in this room knows each other – I know that for sure – but we’re here together,” Robinson said in her closing speech.

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