University of Rochester

Campus Celebrates Religious Diversity

March 29, 1999

The Interfaith Chapel at the University of Rochester will sponsor a program at 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 14, in the main sanctuary of the Interfaith Chapel to showcase and to educate the community about the religious diversity on campus. The celebration is the first of its kind and uses music, dance, traditional dress, prayer, ceremony, and testimonials to explore a sampling of the variety of faiths on campus.

The idea for the event was sparked when Rob Sudakow and Jody Asbury, director of the Interfaith Chapel, attended a conference at Wesley College.

"The students there were discussing different religious traditions and had a celebration which was similar to the one being put on at the University," said Sudakow, a graduate of the University and an Interfaith Fellow.

Christian, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, Hindu, Mormon, Jewish, and Muslim students have been working together to create a variety of events and music for the celebration. The program will include a Chinese Lion Dance, which is a traditional feature of Lunar New Year festivals in the Chinese and Vietnamese communities. A Gatka Dance from the Sikh tradition that incorporates religious devotional dancing and prayer into a sword-throwing ceremony will also be performed.

Musical selections include Hindu devotional songs which will be accompanied by a violin and mridangam, a traditional type of drum, and performances from the Mormon, Protestant Chapel Community, and Newman choirs. A centerpiece of the program will be testimonials by 10 students about their different faith traditions.

University president Thomas H. Jackson and William Scott Green, dean of the College and director of the Center for Judaic Studies, will preside over the event. The program is free and open to the public. Participants will be available after the performance to greet and answer questions from the audience.

For more information on the performance, contact Jody Asbury at (585) 275-4321. To request disability accommodations, contact Kolein Koroly at least five days in advance of the event at (585) 275-4321.