Interfaith Month: Activities to promote understanding of 'many faiths, one family' kick off Feb. 1
“We are especially encouraging people who are new to the city to come and get a sense of the different faith groups that make up the downtown community,” Wright said.
The 2013 Interfaith Month will also feature a first-ever event in Park City: a Feb. 26 presentation at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church from Utah Interfaith Power and Light about climate change.
And if that doesn’t capture your religious fancy, perhaps you’ll be more inclined toward another first-time event: the “Utah Yoga Rave” on March 9, with an emphasis on “spirituality through movement and meditation.”
“Interfaith Month has evolved,” Wright observed. “It used to be mostly a spectator sport, with lots of lectures and speeches, and people would sit and watch. Now we’re trying to do more interactive things to get those who make the effort to come more involved in experiencing the different faith groups. So its less of a sit-down, formal thing.”
Other Interfaith Month events will feature tours and presentations by area Muslims, Hindus, Episcopalians, Christian Scientists, Catholics, Lutherans, Mormons, Baptists and Greek Orthodox observers. For a complete listing of titles, times and locations of Interfaith Month activities please go to http://interfaithroundtable.org/2013events.htm.
As always, the crowning event of Interfaith Month will be the Musical Tribute in the Salt Lake LDS Tabernacle on Temple Square on Sunday, March 10, at 6 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public, featuring music, dance and devotionals from a wide variety of Utah faith groups and cultures. In the past, the Musical Tribute has been held the fourth Sunday of February, but this year it was moved into March so it would not interfere with the Jewish Purim observance.
“The concert is sort of a microcosm of what we’re trying to create during the month, with all of these religious groups coming together to share their culture and traditions,” said David Sharp, the aforementioned “none,” who is in charge of putting together this year’s show.
“We always put out fliers for the show, and we usually get a number of guests who come because it’s in the Tabernacle and they happen to be in town,” Emmi said. “Inevitably, they are amazed that in a state known for being so Mormon, we have this amazing event where we’re celebrating this wonderful diverse religious population that people don’t realize is here, and we’re doing it right there in the Mormon Tabernacle.”
This year, Sharp is especially excited about a group of students from BYU who have put together a gamelan orchestra, which he said is a traditional Indonesian musical ensemble consisting of metallophones, xylophones, bamboo flutes and drums.
“This will be a unique musical experience,” said Sharp, who is also a musician and plays dulcimer in the ethnic/folk musical group Idlewild.
There will also be a children’s dance group from the Salt Lake Buddhist Temple Dharma School and three children’s choral groups: the Salt Lake Children’s Choir, the Juan Diego Choir and the Hindu children’s choir. “And the Turkish Muslim group promises a ‘whirling dervish,’” said Sharp, referring to the whirling dance traditionally performed by Sufi Muslim holy men.
“Come curious,” Emmi said of the concert and all of the other Interfaith Month events. “Invest a little time here and you’ll learn something, you’ll feel something and you’ll understand your neighbors a whole lot more."
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