Prayer Beads and Interfaith Dialogue

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The Prayer Bead Workshop hosted by the Interfaith Interns embodied what it means to be a part of a pluralist community in the most tangible way. The tradition of using beads to invoke spirituality supersedes borders and is seen across cultures -across faiths. We were eager to host this activity for the DePauw community as we felt that not only was it a meditative and a fun study break in the midst of Finals but it also illustrated the unity behind our differences. Nearly all of our faith traditions implement the use of beads, whether for reflection, prayer, etc. Yet no set of beads looks alike; they differ in number, shape, color, and size.

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This essentially is what lies at the foundation of true Interfaith dialogue: a celebration of difference. Too often interfaith conversation turns into looking for how we are all similar, but the beauty also lies in the uniqueness within each of our belief systems. It is for these reasons that we hosted this event, during which various Interfaith Interns shared the significance behind these beads for their own faiths. Attendees were then provided with their own beads and string, which they could use to construct their own “prayer” beads.

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This opportunity allowed for both Interfaith education as well as personal reflection for participants. We hope to continue offering events such as these in the future to truly make DePauw a vibrant, pluralist campus; open to not only exploring other faiths, but exploring one’s own.

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Author: Jessica Tilley

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