University of Indianapolis Office of Ecumenical and Interfaith Programs
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Interfaith Programs

Interfaith dialogue and cooperative service for the common good is no longer theory and is being practiced right here at the University of Indianapolis. Ways that these ideas and practices are developing here at UIndy include:

The Interfaith Service Corps Leaders

In 2010, UIndy became one of five central Indiana campuses that secured AmeriCorps positions for students to help envision and implement interfaith service projects for students. That first year, UIndy had three such AmeriCorps leaders. AmeriCorps leaders have regularly scheduled service opportunities for students, and help make our week in service with the Appalachia Service Project an interfaith experience. An educational stipend is awarded for the leaders who complete their hours in AmeriCorps service.

The Interfaith Forum

After Eboo Patel, founder of the Interfaith Youth Core, visited UIndy, four UIndy students planned and organized a Registered Student Organization for interfaith dialogue, education, and service. The Interfaith Forum at the University has a robust set of programs aimed at promoting fellowship, understanding, and service for those of various faith traditions and for those without a faith tradition.

The Kephart Award for Academic Achievement in Interfaith Exploration

Effective with the 2011–12 academic year, the Ecumenical & Interfaith Programs Office will recognize academic achievement in an outstanding project or paper that has an interfaith dimension. This Kephart Award is named after one of the interfaith pioneers in the United Brethren tradition who was also involved with the founding of the University. This award will be presented to the student who completes an academic project or paper exploring interfaith topics.

The Jerry Israel Award for Interfaith Service

The Jerry Israel Interfaith Service Medallion is named after our seventh president (1998–2005), who was known for encouraging students, faculty, and staff to engage one another in searching conversations (with honesty, respect, and humility) in the midst of living out their religious convictions, each aspiring to clarity and understanding in the mutual quest for truth. It will be awarded to a student who displays exceptional commitment to service in an interfaith context.

For more information see The Jerry Israel Interfaith Service Award

The Annual Interfaith Peace Service

The first annual UIndy Interfaith Peace Service was in April 2005. An event for the entire campus, it is an interfaith gathering for prayer and solidarity with one another. The event reflects the gathering in the Schwitzer Student Center atrium of September 11, 2001, when the campus community met in shock and sorrow—but also in solidarity—in the aftermath of the violence. On that day, the faiths represented on campus were acknowledged by an inclusive use of scripture, prayer, and ritual. The Interfaith Peace Service is a reminder that the work against violence of all kinds and for peace in our world goes on daily.

The McCleary Chapel & Meditation Room

McCleary Chapel has been the central sacred space at UIndy since July 2001. Dedicated as "a house of prayer for all people," the chapel is on the second floor of the Schwitzer Student Center. Persons of all traditions are invited to practice their faith. The chapel is open for prayer and meditation, as well as religious life programming. Adjacent to the McCleary Chapel is the Meditation Room. This small circular space is also available for prayer and meditation, and is so used by individuals and small groups. Next to this sacred space is a small station for preparation for prayer important in some traditions.

For more information see University Chapel Policies and Guidelines

The Crossings Mural

In 2006, the University commissioned the Crossings Mural to depict the values, ideas, and images of how religious life has been and can be lived at UIndy. The mural lifts up the five living traditions of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism found on our campus. Our hope is that all of us who are connected with UIndy can find a connection there to our own religious/spiritual experience when viewing. You'll find this mural on the outside wall of the Meditation Room.

For more information see Crossings Project Mural

The World Peace Pole

The World Peace Pole, depicting the words "May Peace Prevail on Earth" in eight languages, has stood on the landing of the Atrium stairs in Schwitzer Student Center since its dedication at a campus gathering on September 11, 2002. At that time, during the "Gathering of Remembrance, Hope, and Peace," the peace pole was unveiled by then-President Jerry Israel. It signifies to all who come to our campus center that peace is a value that gives meaning to UIndy students, faculty, and staff, even in the midst of our differing backgrounds and traditions. A miniature Peace Pole was presented to President Israel at that time. Today, a similar miniature Peace Pole, presented to President Beverley Pitts, points to the value of peace at UIndy to guests who visit her office.

Curricular Opportunities at UIndy

Our Philosophy and Religion Department offers the course World Religions (REL 300), allowing students the rich opportunity to explore the various religious traditions in a survey format. Also, there is an occasional course on Interfaith Dialogue, permitting an academic exploration of the history and approaches to our religiously pluralistic world.

For more information see Philosophy & Religion

About the 'Interfaith Programs' symbol at UIndy

Imagine a tree—one that has a number of different leaves sprouting from a living, growing entity. That's one way of imagining the interfaith programming that we are involved in at the University of Indianapolis. The "tree" has been planted and nurtured, and slowly but surely we are seeing the buds of possibility turn into beautiful leaves of interreligious dialogue and service—different leaves, representing differing religious heritages and tradition, but connected in this organic, developing effort to bring the best of our faiths together in common efforts.