What does your story say about you?
Find out at the 26th Festival of Religions, November 9-12 at Central Kentucky501 W. Main St. This year’s theme is “Sacred Stories: Contemplation and Connection“, a look at how stories define our lives, give us purpose, and make us feel part of something bigger.
“It’s through stories and the sharing of stories that we experience our humanity,” said Sarah Riggs Reed, executive director of the Center for Interfaith Relations, which is sponsoring the event. “And this year at the festival, we’re exploring the power of storytelling to change people, to move people, to deepen their sense of worth, purpose, value. Stories shape our identities and shared stories shape our communities.”
Here’s what you need to know about Religious Day 2022:
What is the Festival of Faith?
Since its inception in 1996, the Festival of Religions “has promoted interfaith understanding, cooperation and action while celebrating the timeless wisdom contained in the world’s diverse religious traditions. The nationally acclaimed festival offers meaningful dialogue with spiritual leaders, thinkers, practitioners and artists,” according to a press release announcing the event.
To better understand a person’s association with religion, culture, politics, heritage and other things that influence our identities, the festival studies ancient and modern stories through the lens of faith. During the three-day Faith Festival sessions, participants engage in storytelling activities that showcase individuality, while establishing a common bond with the rest of the group.
Najeeba Syeed, a professor of interfaith studies, Muslim scholar and activist who will be presenting at the festival, said there is a constant overlap between religion and aspects of our identity.
“I think religion can be part of forming someone’s identity, one of many factors that form a whole human being,” she said. “It’s not the only factor. Culture, national origin, even the neighborhood you grew up in shape your identity. It’s helpful to hear from people how religion has played a role in their identity, at least instead of defining it for them.”
Who organized the Festival of Faith?
The Center for Interfaith Relationsone of the nation’s most distinctive religious organizations, sponsors recurring events across the United States, including the Festival of Faiths.
This Louisville-based festival draws visitors from a variety of religious backgrounds, fostering conversation and acceptance of others’ religious beliefs.
“The work of the Center (for Interfaith Relations) here in Louisville attempts to broaden and deepen our understanding of religious neighbors near and far,” said Dr. Lewis Brogdon, director of the Institute for Black Church Studies and associate professor of preaching and black church studies. “The center also creates a space to celebrate the ways in which we are both similar and different.”
What is the 2022 theme of the Festival of Faith?
According to Riggs Reed, the “Sacred Stories: Contemplation and Connection“, the theme was born out of the pandemic and the murder of Breonna Taylor. Riggs Reed believes that the unrest Louisville has experienced in 2020 has led many people to examine the stories of their lives and wonder which stories they accept and which they reject.
“This year [Festival of Faiths] begins the day after the midterm elections,” she said. “I hope that this year, in particular, people will come together at the festival, celebrating the fact that we have much more in common than what we separate. …I hope people will leave the festival convinced of the value of their own sacred history, ready to share stories with their neighbors in a new way. …”
What events take place at the Festival of Faith?
Many events take place during the three days of the festival. It begins with the free Interfaith Opening Celebration on November 9 from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Assumption Cathedral433 S. 5th St. The Reverend Shelton J. Fabre, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Louisville, will speak and singer-songwriter Carrie Newcomer will perform.
From November 10-12, a variety of paid workshops will take place and will include a diverse group of nearly 24 participants, including a meditation expert, an Indigenous community organizer, an Old Testament scholar to a media analyst, l afrofuturist artist storäe michele and a priest.
Here is the list of events:
- Various spiritual practices
- Lessons from old stories in a new context
- Changing the Guardians of History: Millennials and Gen Z
- An evening of sacred tales
- Your Neighbour: Faith, Politics, and Radical Acceptance
- The sacred stories that connect us
- Significant Stories for Our Time: A Workshop with Matthew Fox
- Changing the Narrative: Transforming Hearts and Minds to Deepen Spiritual Life
- Faith and New Thinking about Louisville
A blood drive will also be held Nov. 11 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Muhammad Ali Center, 144 N. 6th St.
“I am honored to present with Lyla June and Najeeba Syeed, as we explore significant and sweeping changes in storytelling,” Michele told the Courier Journal. “Specifically, we’ll discuss how these stories transform our view of social justice and connect to rising and future generations of communities for change.”
During the session titled “Changing Story Keepers: Millennials and Gen Zers”, michele will perform part of her choreography and solo performance titled mama [rose.], which chronicles the experiences of a non-binary individual named Sid. Sid and their trans grandmother, Mama Rose, an archaeologist, embark on a journey to heal intergenerational trauma.
How much do Faith Festival tickets cost?
Festival of Faith passes and individual session tickets can be purchased online at kentuckyperformingarts.orgby phone at 502-584-7777, or at the Kentucky Center box office.
Passes for the entire festival are $200. Tickets for individual events are $29.95, which includes taxes and fees.
The festival will also be broadcast live onFestival of Religions YouTube channel.
COVID-19 restrictions will be in place and masks will be required when not actively eating or drinking.
For more information, visit FestivalofFaiths.org.
You can reach Jason Gonzalez, Culture and Diversity Reporter, at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @JayGon15NYC.