This April, the Northwestern community observes Wildcat Interfaith Month: a month dedicated to fostering collaboration and understanding between students, faculty, and staff of different religious affiliations and backgrounds. Through inclusive religious celebrations, eye-opening spiritual discussions, and a newly dedicated interfaith prayer space, this month’s programming promotes a spirit of inter-religious tolerance that will continue long after the month is over.
The month began with the concurrent celebrations of the Jewish Passover holiday and Easter Sunday for the campus Christian community. A sunrise Easter service from 6:00 to 7:00 AM on April 1 was open to students of all religious affiliations, while a free build-your-own Matzah pizza bar presented by NU Hillel was open to the entire campus community at 7:00 PM on Tuesday, April 3 in celebration of Passover.
Later in the month, the Department of Religious Studies hosted “A Little of that Human Touch: Why Anthropormoprphize?” -- an Edmund Perry Lecture by Indiana University Religious Studies professor David L. Haberman that explores the ways humans endow non-human animals or objects with human characteristics, particularly in the context of religious worship (specifically focusing on the worship of the Govardhan stones in the Hindu tradition of north-central India). Between 4:00 and 6:00 PM on April 19, attendees were able to see how these similar concepts apply across a variety of faiths and traditions.
In addition, this year’s Interfaith Month marks the first month of its kind on campus since this fall’s dedication and opening of Northwestern’s new Multi-Belief Space in Parkes 204. Funded in large part by a Catalyzer campaign started during last year’s Interfaith Month, the space provides not just a space for students of all faiths to connect with their spirituality, but a space specifically vital for communities such as the Sikh and Buddhist community which don’t have their own dedicated faith spaces on campus.
Although this April has been a month packed with multi-faith events, discussions, and spaces, the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life hopes that the spirit of interfaith collaboration lasts for much longer. For more information, visit the Office’s website!