Center for Interfaith Cooperation

Hoosiers of Many Faiths in Community

Rose Timpe on the first Festival of Faiths

Global Indy Scholar Rose Timpe attended the inaugural Festival of Faiths in 2013. She offers this report. Rose Timpe is enrolled in SPEA’s nonprofit management certificate program. She works as a development intern at the Children’s Bureau. She is extremely passionate about community outreach and development. She enjoys volunteering and working with local nonprofits in Indianapolis such as School on Wheels, CYO, IYI, and YNPNIndy.

As someone who is very interested in faith and how it plays a pivotal role in societies around the world, I was excited and curious about the Inaugural Festival of Faiths event in Indianapolis. Most of our differences and wars in the history of the world were and still based on religion. And personally, I feel we look to our differences more so than our likeness to understand that we want the same things through our faiths – love, compassion, understanding, humility, and forgiveness.

My first thoughts when approaching the festival were the location and day. I think since Sunday is typically a day of rest, church, and prayer, it seemed appropriate to have it on a Sunday. The location, Veterans Memorial Plaza, also impressed me, not because we already have multiple community events here, but it sent a message to the public that the government stands behind diverse cooperation between faiths. The Center for Interfaith Cooperation, the organization that hosted the event, chose the Memorial Plaza for specific reasons: “Inside the War Memo­r­ial there will be exhibits that high­light our strong ecu­meni­cal and inter­faith efforts that strengthen our com­mu­nity and bring us together to con­front com­mon con­cerns…your con­gre­ga­tion can get involved in pro­grams that fight hunger, improve the envi­ron­ment, help the home­less and reduce the grow­ing scourge of vio­lence.”

Most of the groups that were present were religious: from Christian to Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist, Mormon, Jewish, Quakers, Sikh, Hinduism, and many other religions (some I’ve never heard of!), which totaled 51 different groups. It was very eye-opening for me to talk to different faiths and learn to appreciate what they practice and believe in, and I was a little shocked by how many different representations of faith Indianapolis has. Not only did the Festival of Faiths have religious representation, but they also had other groups present as well. Nonprofits were in the mix, as well as groups that promote peace, anti-war efforts, and a little fair trade shopping. I thought it was especially interesting to talk to the anti-war groups: they were not your usual “protesting” type of organization (or from what we’ve seen through the media). I valued all the opinions of those that were different from my own and that was the essence of the day: learning about others’ faiths and respecting the differences. As a city that is striving to be a global stopping point for international visitors, I think having festivals that celebrate diversity is a great starting point. Religion is such a hot topic and it’s tricky, especially when people’s lives are centered on their faith. Indianapolis is becoming an open city: to art, to faith, to food, to diversity, etc. I feel proud to be a part of a city, like Indianapolis. “Cen­tral Indi­ana has a long his­tory of hon­or­ing our reli­gious diver­sity. In a world where reli­gious dif­fer­ences too often sep­a­rate peo­ple and com­mu­ni­ties, Hoosiers have learned to work together to under­stand and respect our grow­ing multi-faith soci­ety” (Center for Interfaith Cooperation).

I really appreciated what the Festival of Faiths represented; especially bringing religions together that might not normally seem “friendly” in today’s society. I think as a conservative state, we need to expand our minds and have a greater understanding of different cultures, and the Festival of Faiths was a great starting point for Indianapolis to expand our minds. I am looking forward to attending next year’s Festival of Faiths and hopefully more Indianapolis residents come out to celebrate all religions and viewpoints.

Works Cited

Disis, Jill. “Inaugural Festival of Faiths Brings Community Together.” Indianapolis Star. Indianapolis Star, 13 Oct. 2013. Web. 24 Nov. 2013.

“Indy’s Inaugural Festival of Faiths.” Center for Interfaith Cooperation RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2013.