Interfaith Scholars and Office of Ecumenical and Interfaith Programs launches interfaith calendar

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The Office of Ecumenical and Interfaith Programs launched an all-inclusive calendar of religious observations in February. The Interfaith Calendar serves as a comprehensive resource providing dates of religious and spiritual significance to many different faith traditions.

University of Indianapolis Chaplain and Director of the Lantz Center Rev. Arionne Lynch said the intention is to update the calendar by July of each year in reflection of the academic year and overlapping dates of religious observation.

“We see it as a living document that’s owned by the community,” Lynch said.  

Lynch said the idea behind the calendar was initiated by the Interfaith Scholars. This program brings together a select group of students representing each graduating class and of various religions, according to the Interfaith Programs website. The program looks to promote mutual efforts and dialogue between disparate ideologies.  

“But this gave more information about Ramadan and some accommodations students might need,” Lynch said. “We also had notices this year that went out, for example, about Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, about Diwali, about Hanukkah, about Ash Wednesday and Lent.”

Members of the program discussed what it was like to piece together the new calendar.   Senior psychology and communication major Bhumibol Shakya is currently an Interfaith Scholar.  Shakya said the process of linking so many communities together with the interfaith calendar was rewarding, “realizing that all of religion was being represented.”  

Sophia Murray, another Interfaith Scholar and senior studying biology, talked about her experience in building the calendar and how it brought together members of the Greyhound and broader community.  

“I had an opportunity to meet people I otherwise probably wouldn’t meet,” Murray said.

Lynch, who assumed her role in January began her time with UIndy as Associate Chaplain in 2016, said she has heard feedback from students of the calendar’s importance.  Lynch also said various faculty and administration were “championing this project.”  

There are other resources available to campus members for religious exercise, such as  McCleary Chapel, which serves as a bastion for peaceful reflection and is available to all faiths, according to its website.  The Chapel and Meditation Room are both located on the second floor of the Schwitzer Student Center. Both provide a safe space for fellowship and devotional activities.  

While UIndy is affiliated with the United Methodist Church, the policy of the Office of Ecunemical and Interfaith Programs is dedicated to providing hospitality by which common facilities and good will are protected on campus, according to its website.  

“Oftentimes, we don’t get the chance to have deep meaningful conversations with people we’ve never met before,” Murray said. “Interfaith breaks those superficial barriers, making it easier to create meaningful connections with people.”

The interfaith calendar can be found on the MyUIndy website.

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