By: Alex Best, Staff Writer
Photo by Alex Best
Spiritual music set the tone at Paws Pavilion Oct. 21 for an evening of prayer and celebration during the Student Government Association’s Prayer for Peace event.
The evening began with a series of prayers, each one led and recited by a representative from a different faith. The four prayers included a prayer for peace on Towson University’s campus, a prayer for the mental health of students, a prayer for greater Baltimore, and a prayer for unity.
Leora Match, a Program Director for Towson Hillel, led the prayer for unity through the Jewish hymn “Hinei Ma Tov,” roughly translating to “How good and how pleasant it is that brothers dwell together.”
“These words express the importance of coming together across boundaries as one people,” Match said. “When we come together to share a meal, ritual experience, or to be in one another’s presence…there’s power in that.”
Following the prayer, attendees had the opportunity to visit various tabling stations where they could learn more information about faith based organizations on campus.
Senior computer science major Steven Pugh attended the event on behalf of Cru, a Christian based organization that strives to lead individuals into a lifelong adventure with Christ.
“I believe that Cru has in fact captured my heart with the gospel, changed my life, and launched me in a pursuit for Christ alongside a genuine community of other believers,” Pugh said. “It was important to me that Cru was present today because it helps us extend that same invitation for those who are lost and are searching for an answer, just like I was at one point.”
Representatives from the counseling center were also at the event to educate attendees on additional resources such as the meditation rooms at the counseling center that can be used for silent prayer and reflection.
The event was the first in a series of events being organized and spearheaded by SGA Pro-Temp Jordan DeVeaux under the larger umbrella SGA initiative, Faith@TU. DeVeaux cited recent violent acts and hatred on campus as one of the considerations behind the event’s planning.
“I felt a responsibility to take advantage of having all of our faith-based organizations together in one space,” DeVeaux said.
According to DeVeaux, the event was an effort for the Faith@TU initiative to have a more tailored focus than last year, with more emphasis on opportunities for interfaith connection. She said she hopes these connections encourages people to learn more about the different faiths and experiences around them.
“I would love to see people taking the time to learn about the group their mind has categorized as ‘other,’” she said. “I would love to see members of our community take a hard look at their own biases. Question them. Ask where they came from. Now, write a new story.”
For Match, being able to gather at an event of this nature is already the first step to re-writing that story.
“Being able to preemptively gather in positive ways and build solidarity now, rather than showing support after a hateful event occurs,” Match said. “That is the way to build positive community in the world.”