Students Develop Interfaith Group On Campus

April 15, 2009

Author: Madison Schmakel

Source: The Daily Orange

Catholicism was not what Matthew Regan was looking for. The Syracuse University graduate student in library and information science is a lifelong attendee of Catholic school and Catholic mass on Sundays - he was even an employee at a parochial school. But he knew it was not enough, and so he ceased practicing Catholicism nearly 10 years ago.

Students questioning and exploring faiths like Regan formed the new Interfaith Student Movement this semester. The group, still in development, has plans for a series of events kicking off with their participation in the Hendricks Chapel "Interfaith Pray-In for the Planet" Wednesday. Hendricks Chapel and the Science and Humanities Forum are sponsoring the silent vigil.

Students representing Christianity, post-Christianity, Sikhism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Agnosticism approached Kelly Sprinkle, dean of Hendricks Chapel, and asked to start the interfaith group.

Eboo Patel, a newly appointed member of President Obama's Faith-Based and Neighborhood Initiatives Advisory Council, spoke to the group about pluralism, his book "Acts of Faith" and his own group, the Interfaith Youth Core. Josh Cook, a sophomore health and wellness and religion major, said Patel's presentation inspired the group's mission.

"We emphasize service and common values, following Patel's example, but also affirm differences in a way that makes everyone feel welcome," Cook said.

See also: Interfaith, Campus