Several religious organizations at Truman State have their own on-campus places of worship like the Newman Center or the Lutheran Campus Center. However, smaller organizations have been delegated to classrooms and have no centers of worship nearby. With the opening of the Interfaith Center, smaller religious organizations have a chance to practice their faith together in a place they can call their own.
The Interfaith Center, located in Kirk Building 116, is a recent addition to Truman’s campus, created in response to President Obama’s “Interfaith Challenge”. It is meant to be a safe, open space where students may meditate, observe their religion’s customs, and find out more about those with different beliefs.
Eboni X Miller, president of the Muslim Students Association, says she believes the Interfaith Center will help the MSA achieve their main goals which includes educating Truman Students and breaking down negative stereotypes.
Devin Gant, the president of Hillel—the only Jewish organization on Truman’s campus—says he hopes the more centralized location will make religious groups more aware of each other.
“I think a lot of people still don’t know what Hillel is,” Gant says. “Name recognition is everything here. Everyone knows [all the big organizations] because they are large and…they do things. It’s very difficult to get that kind of exposure.”
Gant said he acknowledges the possibility of holding partnership events that will help groups such as Hillel gain more recognition. Though the MSA is currently the main organization uses it, Hillel would like to give it a try soon.
“While every group might not take advantage of it, and every individual here may only know it as another building on campus,” Gant says, “The fact that we actually have a place of communal worship for any religious organization, of peace, tolerance, and respect towards others, is really fantastic… we actually have a really amazing opportunity to have a religious community here that thrives.”
The Interfaith Center will be hosting “Paychecks and Prayers” on Friday, Oct. 23. The event covers the topic of how successful leaders legally manage religious diversity in a professional setting. The discussion series will be facilitated by Jeff Lingwall, Assistant Professor of Business Administration, and Chris Wray, former federal law clerk.
The event will have two sessions at 1:30 and 3 p.m.