Harvard Chaplains Host Interfaith Event

September 24, 2008

Author: Brittany M. Llewellyn

Source: The Harvard Crimson


The 36 Harvard Chaplains sponsored an all-day event yesterday celebrating Harvard’s religious diversity and exploring the role of religion on campus. The series of events featured panelists, performances, lectures, and a fast-breaking for Ramadan in the evening.

According to Harvard’s Humanist Chaplain Gregory M. Epstein, the Chaplains decided to sponsor the events to share with the campus the sense of camaraderie that they had developed with one another.

“We hardly ever celebrate religious pluralism and demonstrate respect and understanding for all other faiths,” Epstein said. “It sets us up to have a good year of collaboration and cooperation.”

Most of the events featured discussions by individuals from a variety of faiths.

“The goal is to have a celebration of religious, spiritual, and community diversity here, and the Harvard Chaplains are a symbol of this diverse collection,” Epstein said.

According to Benjamin J. King, Episcopalian chaplain at Harvard, “We range from atheists to Zoroastrians. We shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it.”

Jessamin H. Birdsall ’10, an audience member, called the discussions “enlightening.”

“Oftentimes in a secular university, issues of faith get pushed to the side,” Birdsall added. “I’m really excited to see Harvard recognizing faith in this setting.”

The day also featured Washington Post journalist Sally Quinn as the keynote speaker. Along with Jon Meacham—the editor of Newsweek—Quinn co-founded the blog “On Faith,” which is a forum for discussion of religious issues for the two media outlets. Both journalists moderated the opening panel, which featured undergraduates of different faiths.

See also: Interfaith, Campus