Creighton’s Campus Ministry hosted its second interfaith field trip to a Greek Orthodox Church on Saturday.
Campus Ministry began formulating these field trips after a group of students from various faiths attended the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Salt Lake City in 2015, according to Kyle Lierk, director of Campus Ministry.
“There’s so much stigma around certain religions, especially if you’ve never experienced a religion before, so we’re trying to break those stereotypes,” said Nicole Chacho, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences and member of St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church.
Saturday’s trip to St. John’s Greek Orthodox Church included witnessing a prayer style important to the faith tradition, according to a Student Leadership and Involvement Center email.
“It’s really a beautiful religion,” said Chacho. “You’ll see it walking through the door. Everything is hand-carved, just absolutely beautiful and everything is so symbolic in the church and it’s not something you can experience just going once to a little service. It’s just everything we do within the service has meaning so I just hope people can take that away.”
The Greek Orthodox Church, which is one of the oldest forms of Christianity, has more than 5 million practitioners within the United States alone, according to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. It is a form of Eastern Christianity, which embraces a more mystical theology as opposed to the more legalistic views of the Western Church.
The trip, organized by Chacho and Campus Ministry, allowed students to ex- perience a faith tradition different from their own.
“I think it’s really important for us to cultivate the different faiths, and since Creighton is a Jesuit university, it is important for it to make its students see the differences that exist in faith,” said Stephanie Rodriguez, a sophomore in the Heider College of Business.
Planning the event was relatively easy, according to Chacho, and Campus Ministry is planning to continue incorporating interfaith events into its work.
“My hope is that it continues to deepen understanding and awareness and friendship because I do think that’s what this time at a university: to deepen our learning but also to grow in our relationships,” said Lierk. “So I think that my hope is that we begin to understand our differences and to appreciate those, but also celebrate what is common about what we believe.”
Campus Ministry is currently planning another interfaith event involving the traditional Sikh meal, Langar, that is set to occur in late March.
“I think right now, especially with what’s going on in our country; I think that any time we can come together and try and understand each other’s differences that’s going to be a lot healthier for us as people and as a country,” said Lierk. “So I’m just excited that it’s happening at this moment.”