The Interfaith Prayer Room in Morehead is finally open. Last week (Date??), Interfaith had an open house for this new room. This area provides a solution to lack of space available for students and other members of the Roanoke College community that practice non-Christian traditions. This room is also available to those who want to learn more about interfaith.
Chaplain Chris Bowen is glad to finally have an interfaith room, as the issue became apparent right away to him.
“In my first year as Chaplain, I recognized that for our non-Christian students there wasn’t an intentional place on campus for them to pray or meditate,” said Bowen,“Although we are a historically Christian college, that does not mean that there should not be a place for students to pray or meditate in whatever tradition they come from and to have an intentional interfaith room is a welcoming thing.”
As you enter the room you are greeted with a sign that welcomes you to the Interfaith Prayer Room and asks you to “please remove your shoes and enter the room quietly.” The room is decorated with plants, candles, decorative rugs, beanbag chairs, and a sofa, all of which provides a calm atmosphere. It also has a closet with different sacred texts and a book that focuses on interfaith.
“This facility that other (?) things we needed: a bathroom, that can provide water for ceremonial washing of feet and hands, privacy, and natural light that comes in from an East facing window,” said Bowen. The room is intentionally provided for those who need such amenities.
The open house was lead by the Interfaith Council, who also provided snacks. Attendees read a quote that they hold dear to their hearts, provided an explanation and allowed for input from the group. Salihah Ali, President of Interfaith Council, read, “As long as you are standing, give a hand to those who have fallen.”
Students have already begun to use this room. Bowen and Interfaith Council invite the RC community to come pray and meditate in this room, located in Morehead Hall’s top floor. I hope Bowen is prepared for the incoming traffic for the next couple of weeks as exams start!