Interfaith Open House connects community

In the gathering area of the Friends Center, located in the Eva Campbell House, Guilford students, faculty and staff members joined for the Interfaith Open House on Thursday, Nov. 29. Energy was high at the event, as hot cocoa, coffee and cookies were served from 3:00 p.m to 5:00 p.m. and attendees were able to meet with members of the Interfaith Leadership Council and play tug-of-war with canine Bruiser.

Representing the spiritual life on Guilford’s campus, the Interfaith Leadership Council consists of the Catholic Campus Ministry, Guilford Christian Ministry and the Muslim Student Association, among others. Located in the Friends Center, the office of the head of campus ministry seeks to uplift individuals through means of reflection, meditation and prayer and is available to community members who may be in need of support through discussion and meeting.

The campus ministry emphasizes interfaith to celebrate Guilford’s religious diversity and give students meaningful opportunities for worship.

“We’ve been talking about this, instead of using interfaith, using multifaith,” said Interim Co-Director of Quaker Leadership Scholars Program Evelyn Jadin. “The idea of different religions coming together to simply support each other and being in community with one another.”

The Open House showcased the newly refurbished Interfaith prayer space, which seeks to provide a safe, quiet space for community members to pray and meditate. During the last academic year, the prayer room was located in The Hut, but with recent renovations underway at Guilford, the space has now been relocated to the Friends Center.

“(The Hut) was a very small space, it was kind of dirty,” said Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies Wess Daniels. “I had students who told me later that they like this space better, so when we brought it back over (to Friends Center), I wanted to emphasize this multifaith perspective.”

The refurbished prayer space, which is open from 8:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m, features a bookcase with a variety of religious and spiritual readings, meditative pillows and a prayer rug facing Mecca.

“We wanted the space to reflect that whatever religious tradition you are a part of, there is something for you in here, or even if you’re not religious but you just need a quiet space to meditate, then this is the place for you,” Daniels said.

The open house event gave Guilford community members an opportunity to learn about the religious and spiritual life at Guilford and ways to become involved.

“The Friends Center does a lot of both work on focusing on Quakerism and Quaker studies and a lot of Interfaith work, but a lot of people on campus don’t necessarily know that,” said Interim Co-Director of Quaker Leadership Scholars Program Aleks Babic. “It’s a space for pastoral support, so if somebody wants, they don’t have to be Quaker, they don’t have to be of any faith, but if they want a particular kind of support, we can offer that as well as education about different faiths, including Quaker studies.”

Interfaith is working on a variety of new projects and events for the Guilford community, which the Interfaith Leadership Council hopes will bring more awareness and collaboration. A current project in the works is “Power Yoga for Every Body,” held in the Reagan Brown Field House from 8:15 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. every Tuesday, which is intended to promote spiritual wellness.

“I would love to see more collaboration, interfaith collaboration,” Babic said. “And when we say interfaith, it really does mean everyone on campus who wants to be involved in something like that. My hope is that this space will see more people come through and bring their ideas and then bring different projects to life.”