The second Interfaith Symposium seeks to build on the success of the first gathering held in March that attracted more than 250 people. The symposium on Sunday, Oct. 14 at 4 p.m. is open to people of all faiths and backgrounds who want to learn more other religions, holidays, prayers, customs and their history.
Martha Siegel, a symposium organizer, said the objective is to bring people of different backgrounds together and give them a chance to speak with each other as a step toward promoting peace and understanding. The symposiums developed from meetings of the Nyack Interfaith Clergy Association, which looks at various ways to promote interfaith discussion.
“The goals of the symposium are to educate on different faiths, history and worship and community to give people a chance to ask questions and express their own particular concerns about what may be in a different faith and to intermingle informally to get to know each other as people,” said Siegel.
The New City resident explained those attending the Sunday Evensong Service at Grace Episcopal Church in Nyack will have a chance to learn about the music-based worship service and what the different parts of it mean. Also known as Vespers, it is based on “Anglican tradition, which traces it roots to the early church, monastic Roman Catholic and early Reformation communities.” It includes song, psalmody, reading scripture and prayer. Siegel described the setting of the church as a “magnificent, peaceful place to be.”
Those attending can participate in the service to the extent they are comfortable. Space will be provided for Maghrip Prayers at 6 p.m. Following the service, there will be a comment and question session and an informal reception for people to talk casually.
“People can get to know each other on a personal level which is so vital to promote understanding among people, understanding among religions,” said Siegel, who is a member of Temple Beth Torah of Upper Nyack.
Siegel said she got involved because she feels it is important for people to gain knowledge about other cultures.
“We need to bring an understanding of each other, each other’s religions,” she said.
The first Interfaith Symposium drew more than 250 people to the Islamic Center in Valley Cottage. According to Siegel, it encouraged some people to attend Ramadan services and a Passover Seder to learn more about other religions.
In addition to the Islamic Center, Grace Episcopal Church and Temple Beth Torah, the other participating houses of worship are: Congregation Sons of Israel, First Immanuel Missionary Baptist Church, First Reformed Church of Nyack, St. Ann’s Catholic Church and Temple Beth Torah. Siegel said the next symposium is already in the planning stages and Temple Beth Torah and Congregation Sons of Israel will host a joint session.