The efforts of students in the introduction to religious studies class will finally come to fruition on Tuesday—with free food and faith. Alexandra Bain’s first year class will be hosting their fifth annual Celebration in Faith and Diversity in Kinsella Auditorium on Tuesday evening from five to eight.
The class of 45 students has been preparing for the event since January. They’ve worked with the Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish and Unitarian faith communities to coordinate the event. They’ve posted advertisements in all of STU’s buildings and all over Fredericton. They even invited Justin Trudeau, although he hasn’t responded to their email yet.
The purpose of the event is to “provide Fredericton’s faith communities with a chance to meet and work with each other and become friends,” said Bain, associate professor of Religious Studies.
The event will feature a panel discussion with a question period, food and socializing. Eight or nine representatives from the faith communities will partake in the panel discussion and are expected to have booths set up for more information on their religion.
The topic for the panel discussion, Home: It’s Meaning and Significance in our Lives, was based on a collaborative decision between Bain, the students and the faith partners. The topic was chosen because of the influx of Syrian refugees to Fredericton. The class hopes that their event will help bring members of the faith community together, while welcoming the refugees.
“We sought a topic that was as positive and inclusionary as possible and, in the context of what’s happening in the world and the Syrian refugees, home becomes a very important topic for us all,” Bain said.
The Celebration in Faith and Diversity event at St. Thomas is held annually by Bain’s first year class. Although, this is the first time that it will feature a panel discussion. It’s also the first time that the group decided to hold the event on a weeknight, so as not to conflict with a religious community’s practice time.
Through her course, which emphasizes practical experience, Bain hopes her students will learn that people choose a religious community for a variety of reason.
“Overall, we’re gaining perspective on what it means to be a newcomer…We want to lead the way in community understanding,” said Andrew Hall, the student coordinator for the event.
Fredericton’s Member of Parliament, Matt Decourcey and leader of New Brunswick’s Green Party, David Coon are scheduled to attend. Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside will also be in attendance.