The Johns Hopkins Gazette: February 24, 2003
February 24, 2003
VOL. 32, NO. 23


'Open Hands Open Hearts': Exploring Diverse Faith Traditions

A celebration of religion and spirituality at Johns Hopkins University

By Amy Cowles

Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

A lecture about the future of Catholicism, yoga for beginners and a round of Celestial Jeopardy are some of the highlights of "Open Hands Open Hearts: Exploring Diverse Faith Traditions," the university's second annual religious awareness days. Events began on Sunday and will continue through Tuesday, March 4, on the Homewood campus.

Presented by the Religious Awareness Days Steering Committee, "Open Hands Open Hearts" aims to raise awareness about the wide diversity of faith backgrounds, both locally and globally, while pursuing a broad range of issues facing faith communities in the modern era.

"Open Hands Open Hearts" is produced under the auspices of Campus Ministries and is the result of a collaborative effort of the Interfaith Council, Campus Ministries and student representatives from a variety of Johns Hopkins faith organizations. The program allows for public open discussion of matters concerning faith, an idea that has excited the Interfaith Council since its inception. Organizers say that after the tragedy of Sept. 11, the idea took on new meaning and a newfound importance, and that the need to foster mutual understanding and cooperation among different faiths is vital in the work of recovery.

"During 'Open Hands Open Hearts,' we invite you to explore the questions of faith, and to engage with an openness the diverse dimensions of self and of mind," says Sharon Kugler, university chaplain. "We hope to provide participants with the opportunity to learn about various religious walks of life from numerous perspectives, and to stimulate deeper thought about one's own tradition and the relationships among different faith traditions.

"We hope you will listen," she said, "not just with your ears but also with your eyes, with your feet, with your hands and with your heart. We hope you will choose to join us in this ultimately life-affirming journey."

This year's schedule features lectures and panel discussions that address various issues such as the traditions of nonviolence and a roundtable discussion of interreligious families. Students' creative contributions will be showcased in a digital media presentation. There will be an Indian dance performance and an opportunity to walk through a meditative labyrinth.

Events are open only to the Johns Hopkins community unless otherwise noted. For more information, call the Bunting-Meyerhoff Interfaith Center at 410-261-1880 or go to

Tuesday, Feb. 25

7 p.m., Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith Center
"Mortally Wounded or Recovering? The Future of Catholicism," a lecture by Chester Gillis, chair of the Theology Department at Georgetown University

What do Catholics think of their church? What do others think of Catholics? Does the church command respect and authority among contemporary Catholics? Chester Gillis, author of Roman Catholicism in America and Catholic Faith in America, discusses these issues and others, and the possible challenges and visions for the future. Open to the public. Reception to follow.

Wednesday, Feb. 26

9 a.m., Ralph S. O'Connor Recreation Center
Beginners Yoga Class

Learn why this ancient spiritual discipline has gained widespread popularity in modern times. Breathe deeply, reconnect your body-mind and join yoga instructor Christi for this introductory class. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. Johns Hopkins ID required.

10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Ralph S. O'Connor Recreation Center
The Labyrinth: A Walking Meditation

The labyrinth has long stood as a metaphor for life's journey, combining the senses of unity and purposeful wandering into a complicated and beautiful symbol. Labyrinths were first constructed in ancient Greece and have passed since from culture to culture.

5 to 6:30 p.m., Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith Center
"Motions of the Heart: Nonviolence Across Religious Traditions"

Can different religious traditions, each claiming to be the true faith, come together and work toward a greater peace? How do various faiths make peace with one another? Clergy from the Homewood campus will address these and other questions. Light dinner will be served. Dietary laws observed.

7 p.m., Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith Center
Buddhist Meditation

An introduction to Buddhist meditation and a short service called the Heart Sutra, led by Hoji Scott, minister of the Johns Hopkins University Buddhist Society.

9 to 11 p.m., Ralph S. O'Connor Recreation Center
Indian Dance

Join JOSH, Johns Hopkins' all-women Indian dance team, and the Interfaith Council for a lesson in Raas, a traditional Indian folk dance. Raas has its roots in the stories of Lord Krishna, who as a young man performed this intricate dance with the village girls. Raas involves a pair of wooden sticks called dandiya, and is done each fall all over the state of Gujarat, India, to live music. The Hindu Students Council hosts the annual Diwali Dhamaaka, where everyone is invited to dance Raas. No dancing experience is necessary for this workshop. Wear comfortable clothing.

Thursday, Feb. 27

Noon, 160 Mattin Center
Interreligious Families: A Roundtable Discussion

An informal roundtable discussion about issues and concerns surrounding interfaith relationships and families. A taco-bar lunch will be served.

3 to 6 p.m., 210 Hodson Hall
Digital Media Presentations

A series of student-presented media projects exploring diverse faith traditions and religion in modern times.

Friday, Feb. 28

1:15 p.m., Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith Center
Muslim Juma'h Prayer Service

The weekly 45-minute Juma'h service offers Muslims a reminder of the ultimate goal in life: worshiping and obeying God.

5:30 p.m., various locations
Jewish Services

Prayers, discussion, meditation, singing and dancing. Orthodox services will be held in the Kosher Dining Hall, AMR 1 basement; Conservative, basement of the Interfaith Center; Reform, chapel of the Interfaith Center.

6:30 p.m., Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith Center
Chinese Shabbat Dinner

There are more kosher Chinese restaurants in the world than any other type of kosher restaurant. Come to Chinese Shabbat and find out why. All faiths are encouraged to join this interdenominational event.

9 p.m., Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith Center
Coffee House

Sponsored by the Hopkins Christian Fellowship, the event offers hot drinks and other refreshments as well as live entertainment provided by members of the fellowship. Performances will follow both Christian and secular themes. Karaoke will follow if time permits.

Saturday, March 1

8 p.m., AMR Multipurpose Room
Karaoke Night

Join the Interfaith Council in a celebration of voice, spirit, song and karaoke. Junk food provided.

Sunday, March 2

11 a.m., Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith Center
Hindu Aarti

Join the Hindu Student Council for its weekly prayer called Aarti. It includes fire, which represents purity, and also singing of a traditional hymn. The service lasts approximately 20 minutes and will be followed by a discussion of Hindu philosophy.

11 a.m., Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith Center
Roman Catholic Mass

Learn about the Catholic tradition with the Rev. Thomas Ryan and members of the Catholic community, who will be ready to explain the symbolism and ritual of the 2,000-year-old liturgy. Doughnuts will be served after mass.

6 p.m., Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith Center
Taize Services

The Taize service is a contemplative Christian service of prayer, chanting and silent meditation with a focus on peace and reconciliation.

8 p.m., University Baptist Church, 3501 N. Charles St.
The Gathering

The Gathering is a contemporary, student-led college worship service that takes place Sunday nights in the chapel at University Baptist Church. College pastor Jamie Sipsma gives a message, and the music team leads singing and worship. Celebrants use music, art, poetry and multimedia.

Monday, March 3

5 p.m., Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith Center
Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies Text Study

After centuries marked by intolerance and often violence, Jews and Christians in recent decades have begun to learn to appreciate the many points of convergence between the two traditions while also celebrating the distinctive character of each. In the second of four study sessions with scholars from the Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies, texts from the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), the New Testament and rabbinic literature will be studied. Dinner will be served. Dietary laws observed.

Tuesday, March 4

7 p.m., Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith Center
Celestial Jeopardy and Dessert Night

Campus religious leaders compete in a lighthearted game show format where they will test their knowledge of each other's traditions. The game will be followed by a smorgasbord of sweets and desserts.