A CELEBRATION OF UNITY AND PILGRIMAGE OF SPIRIT
INDIANAPOLIS FESTIVAL OF FAITHS
Indianapolis War Memorial, Indianapolis, Indiana USA
October 13, 2013
Prayerful Reflection: Kanwal Prakash Singh
Inaugural Festival of Faiths of Indianapolis, inspired by the well-established Louisville Festival of Faiths, was a success with nearly 50 colorful and educational displays by faith communities and representatives in colorful ethnic dresses stretched across the Veterans Memorial Plaza in the heart of Indianapolis under a sunny autumn sky. In addition, there were several not-for-profit groups and food vendors with interesting and delicious offerings.
A processional of faith leaders in traditional vestments wound across the Plaza. The sound of the Jewish shofar and Muslim call to prayer began the day’s rich offering of sacred arts: welcome and acknowledgements, performances by faith communities, Buddhist chants, gospel music, church choir, and sacred and festive enactments in traditional dances. Rev. Kent Millard, a respected spiritual leader, served as the Master of Ceremonies.
Inside the Indiana War Memorial, a very enriching Interfaith Dialogue discussed the faith perspectives on the tradition and significance of interfaith engagement and “the challenges and opportunities of interfaith community building.” The discussion was moderated by Rev. Dr. Angelique Walker-Smith, President of the Church Federation of Greater Indianapolis. Participants included: Sheikh Tewfiq Choukri, Sister Norma Rocklage, OSF; Rabbi Dr. Dennis Sasso (Jewish faith), Bishop Cate Waynick (Episcopal Church), KP Singh (Sikh faith), David Kinkade (Mormon church), Imam Mikal Saahir (Muslim faith), Dr. Vimal Patel (Hindu faith) Rev. Dr. Mathew Boulton (Christian Theological Seminary).
Navjot K. Singh (Sikh Satsang), William Cowley (Mormon Church), Geshe Kunga (Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center, and Lindsey Mintz (Jewish Community Relations Council) offered the closing prayer for the well-being of the City of Indianapolis and all humanity.
Memorable highlights included: Bongo Boy leading 100 Drummers with crowd participation was an exciting, fun, and spiritually unifying experience with a universally familiar musical instrument; Pinka Singh leading the beautiful Sikh American dancers and introducing the crowd to the festive Punjabi Jaago folkdance and to the robust sounds of Bhangra/Giddha music; Dr. David Carlson, Founder of the Shoulder to Shoulder interfaith organization, leading the Festival participants into a prayer circle of reflections of interfaith unity and our shared humanity; and the sacred Buddhist Chants, uplifting Gospel Choir; enchanting Yakhshagana, and vibrant Middle Eastern dances from the Sacred Arts stage. Faiths, cultures, and spirit had taken center stage and we could witness common underpinnings and echoes of our spiritual, cultural, artistic, and humanitarian journey as a civilization.
The Faithful of Faiths was organized by The Center for Interfaith Cooperation (CIC) under the leadership of Charlie Wiles, Executive Director and Don Knebel, Chairman of the Board of CIC. Ms. Jane Gehlhausen served as the Chair of the inaugural event. Lisa Morrison served as the coordinator of media and marketing.
A PILGRIMAGE TO KNOW, LEARN, AND ENGAGE
The Festival of Faiths was a landmark event, a pilgrimage to know, learn, and engage to serve. The Festival of Faiths was a multi-faith and multi-generational celebration, literally our hands-across-our-many-faith communities, in a friendly and public setting. It was an opportunity to develop healthy respect for faith traditions different from our own. The over 3,000 people who attended the various festivities and faith forums carried a little better understanding of the expanding spiritual and cultural richness in our midst and the opportunities to build a community where our diverse talents and strengths can be brought together to serve causes that can make a difference to our common concerns and shared humanity. In time, we can imagine this renaissance moment for our City and State growing into something that brings us together in myriad ways and at many levels.........Indianapolis, Indiana USA <> KPSinghDesigns.com