Harmony vigil celebrates inclusivity, diversity and respect among religions
On April 17, a community vigil titled “Raising Our Voices in Harmony” took place at the labyrinth in the park adjacent to the Presbyterian Church of Danville, on the edge of the Centre College campus.
Stodghill Professor of Religion and College Chaplain Rick Axtell described the event’s purpose as a “response to the climate of divisive political rhetoric” currently taking place across the country. He also hoped the vigil would demonstrate the value that the College and the Danville community place on civility and genuine, mutual respect.
Scriptural passages and prayers for peace and harmony were read by representatives of multiple faiths including Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Baha’i. The litany, which invited attendees to participate, focused on inclusion and unity. The approximately 150 people in attendance represented a diverse crowd.
“It was heartening to attend a public gathering that left participants feeling hopeful and positive,” says Axtell. “Rather than simply lamenting the demeaning tone of our national debate, residents of Danville and the campus community modeled a different tone. Rather than merely throwing up our hands in frustrated disgust, we joined hands to demonstrate that it does not have to be this way.”
The vigil was sponsored by the Religious Life Office at Centre as well as the College’s Diversity Office and Diversity Student Union, the Centre Jewish Student Organization and Muslim Student Association, Centro Latino, CentrePeace, the Presbyterian Church of Danville and Trinity Episcopal Church.
Participants leading the litany included City Commissioner, retired Centre professor and head of Citizens Concerned for Human Relations, Dr. J.H. Atkins; Dr. Beth Glazier-McDonald, Centre’s associate dean and H.W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Religion; Sheba Siddiqui, representing Danville’s Muslim community; Vaughn Little, Pathways Coach, Danville High School; Boyle Co. Judge Executive Harold McKinney; Danville Mayor Mike Perros; Rev. Amy Meaux from Trinity Episcopal Church, Father Tom Farrell from Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church and Rev. C.R. Payne from Greater Harvest Church; and other members of the Danville community, Centre College faculty and campus organizations.
by Mary Trollinger
April 27, 2016