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Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
3003 N. Charles Street, Suite 100
Baltimore, Maryland 21218-3843
Phone: (410) 516-7160 | Fax (410) 516-5251

February 19, 2003
CONTACT: Michael Balazs
(410) 243-6630

Open Hands Open Hearts:
Exploring Diverse Faith Traditions

A Celebration of Religion and Spirituality
at Johns Hopkins University

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 Johns Hopkins University's second annual religious awareness days. Events are scheduled Sunday, Feb. 23, through Tuesday, March 4, on the university's Homewood campus, 3400 N. Charles St. in Baltimore.

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 the result of a collaborative effort between the Johns Hopkins University's Interfaith Council and Campus Ministries, as well as 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. After the tragedy of Sept. 11, the idea took on new meaning and a newfound importance; the need to foster mutual understanding and cooperation among different faiths is vital in the work of recovery from a long history of misconceptions and abuse and to developing a context for building peace, organizers say.

"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 relationship among different faith traditions. We hope you will listen, 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 non-violence and a round table discussion of inter-religious families. Students' creative contributions will be showcased in a digital media presentation. There will be a movie night, an Indian dance performance and an opportunity to walk through Campus Ministries' meditative labyrinth. New this year is Open Your Eyes, a dinner catered by two different faith groups in an effort to promote the knowledge and understanding of others' beliefs. "Open Hands Open Hearts: Exploring Diverse Faith Traditions" is produced under the auspices of the Johns Hopkins University Campus Ministries.

Following is a list of free events open to the Johns Hopkins community only unless noted. For more information about these events, call the Bunting-Meyerhoff Interfaith Center at (410) 261-1880, or go to www.jhu.edu/~chaplain/. While the events are not open to the public, members of the media who wish to cover these events should contact Amy Cowles at 410-516-7160.

Sunday, Feb. 23
Sandwich Sundays, 4:30 - 5:30 p.m.
Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith Center, 3509 N. Charles St.

Just another lazy Sunday? Maybe not. Contribute and come together. Help assemble lunches for donation to Sisters Together And Reaching (STAR), a non-profit organization in Baltimore for women with HIV and AIDS.

Open Your Eyes: Jewish and Hindu Students, 6 p.m.
Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith Center, 3509 N. Charles St.

This banquet will kickoff the weeklong events of "Open Hearts Open Hands." Please join the Jewish Students Association and the Hindu Students Council for a catered kosher dinner, and help explore the intricacies and beauty of "Concepts of G*D" in both faiths. Dinner will begin at 6 p.m. and will be served in the Multipurpose room of the Interfaith Center. Dietary laws observed.

Tuesday, Feb. 25, 7 p.m.
"Mortally Wounded or Recovering? The Future of Catholicism," a Lecture by Chester Gillis
Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith Center, 3509 N. Charles St.

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. Gillis is professor and chair of the Theology Department at Georgetown University. Free and open to public. Reception to follow.

Wednesday, Feb. 26 - "A Day of Motion"
Beginners Yoga Class, 9 a.m.
Ralph S. O'Connor Recreation Center

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 a free introductory class. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. Johns Hopkins ID required.

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

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 from culture to culture since. Consisting of a single, universal path, the labyrinth is meant to inspire reflection and contemplation.

"Motions of the Heart: Non-Violence Across Religious Traditions," 5 p.m.- 6:30 p.m.
Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith Center, 3509 N. Charles St.

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? Ministers from the Johns Hopkins University Homewood campus will address these and other questions in an open panel discussion. Light dinner will be served. Dietary laws observed.

Buddhist meditation, 7 p.m.
Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith Center, 3509 N. Charles St.

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.

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

Join the girls of JOSH, Johns Hopkins' all-girl 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
"Inter-Religious Families: A Round Table Discussion," noon
Mattin Center 160

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

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

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

Friday, Feb. 28
Friday Muslim Juma'h Prayer Service, 1:15 p.m.
Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith Center, 3509 N. Charles St.

The weekly Muslim Juma'h service on Fridays offers a reminder of the ultimate goal in life: worshipping and obeying God. The 45-minute service consists of an insightful lecture followed by a short prayer. Come and find out how Muslims worship and connect to God.

Friday Night Jewish Services, 5:30 p.m.
Orthodox: Kosher Dining Hall, AMR I Basement
Conservative: basement, Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith Center, 3509 N. Charles St.
Reform: chapel, Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith Center There will be singing, dancing, prayers, discussion and meditation.

Chinese Shabbat Dinner, 6:30 p.m.
Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith Center, 3509 N. Charles St.

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

Coffee House sponsored by the Hopkins Christian Fellowship, 9 p.m.
Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith Center, 3509 N. Charles St.

Hang out with the Hopkins Christian Fellowship while enjoying 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.
Karaoke Night
AMR Multipurpose Room

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

Sunday, March 2
Hindu Aarti provided by the Hindu Student Council, 11 a.m.
Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith Center, 3509 N. Charles St.

Join the Hindu Student Council for its weekly prayer called Aarti, an illustration of the Hindu faith. 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.

Roman Catholic Mass, 11 a.m.
Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith Center, 3509 N. Charles St.

Come learn about the Catholic tradition with celebrant the Rev. Thomas Ryan. Members of the Catholic Community will be ready to explain the symbolism and ritual of this 2000-year-old liturgy. Donuts will be served after mass.

Taizé Services, 6 p.m.
Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith Center, 3509 N. Charles St.

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

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

The Gathering is a contemporary college worship service that meets Sunday nights in the chapel at University Baptist Church. The service is led by college students, and is specifically for college students. The college pastor, Jamie Sipsma, gives a message, and the music team leads singing and worship. Celebrants use everything from great music and messages to relevant art, poetry, and multimedia in providing a safe and open place to experience God. For information, e-mail Sipsma at jamie@ubcbaltimore.org.

Monday, March 3, 5 p.m.
Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies Text Study
Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith Center, 3509 N. Charles St.

For many centuries, the Jewish-Christian encounter has been marked by intolerance and often violence. In recent decades, Jews and Christians 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 text study sessions with scholars from the Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies, we will study texts from the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), the New Testament, and rabbinic literature. Dinner will be served. Dietary laws observed.

Tuesday, March 4, 7 p.m.
Celestial Jeopardy and Dessert Night
Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith Center, 3509 N. Charles St.

Join the fun as campus ministers compete in a lighthearted game show format where they will test their knowledge of each other's religious traditions. The game will be followed by a smorgasbord of sweets and desserts.

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