CIC gearing up for 2018 Festival of Faiths

August 05, 2018 10:45 AM

Punjab News Express/Balbir Singh
INDIANAPOLIS: Setting up of 34 booths around the fountain and inviting and working with new groups for 2018 Festival of Faiths which is scheduled for October 14 (Sunday) from 1 to 5 p.m at the Veterans Memorial Plaza and Indiana War Memorial were among the various important suggestions discussed in the recent Steering Committee which met under the chairmanship of Muzaffar Ahmad.

Besides Mr Muzaffar, other members present in the meeting were   Rebecca Holloway, John Clark, Sonal Sanghani, Chirjeev Oberoi, Mary Chalmers, Cenk Kandemir, Joel Reichenbach, Thomas Puckett, Reverend Delores Thornton, Bill Foley and Center of Interfaith Cooperation Executive Director Charlie Wiles.

The first topic was to discuss any opportunities to invite and work with new groups for this year’s festival. Many suggestions were offered:

East 91st Street Christian Church has a “Jubilee Village” that is a good example of this year’s theme Compassion Through Action. John Clark will reach out to them to see if they would like to display at the festival, according to Executive Director Charlie Wiles.

Chirjeev Oberoi said that last year’s rain provided an opportunity for all of the festival exhibitors and attendees to get to know one another better. All were all dumbfounded on how well people cooperated and helped each other move everything inside the War Memorial.

Rebecca Hollowa mentioned Hands of Hope and other groups that are working to end human trafficking. John Clark will reach out to this and other groups working on this issue.

The members then discussed making the 34 booths around the fountain examples of Compassion Through Action and locating the religious communities on the sidewalks leading into the fountain. This would provide a visual and physical way to display how "we are all linked together to make positive change in the world."

Muzaffar then drew the attention of the members about the September 13 public announcement about the Fishers Interfaith Alliance from 9-10 am. The alliance is still considering an official name for the organization. Mayor Fadness will be at the event and is helping to invite all of the faith communities to participate. How can we connect and support this effort through Festival of Faiths?

Rebecca mentioned that we will have a specific diagram for outdoor and indoor exhibitor booth placements. This will cut down on the confusion if we need to move indoors.

The members also discussed the possibility of offering tables for smaller displays of Compassion Through Action somewhere around the fountain. This might be a way to get new groups to participate in the festival without having to commit to the $100 exhibitor booth.

John will oversee indoor activities and Charlie will oversee outdoor activities. John will check with War Memorial staff and Prof. Ray Haberski about guided tours of the museum and monument room upstairs.

Charlie is getting the permits and reserving space at the War Memorial. He is also contacting Bongo Boy about the Drumming Circle to open the festival.

Bew innovative ways were explored to coordinate the Opening Procession- perhaps leading with youth from Girl and Boy Scouts and/or other youth organizations.

Charlie, Ben, Robin and Thomas will  coordinate activities on the Sacred Arts stage.

Maria Chalmers is confirming food trucks and Chirjeev is sending her information about trucks that come to the State Office Building.

There was a robust discussion about Youth Activities this year. Keith and Brenda Turner from Watch Club will be coordinating activities in a Youth Zone this year.

Rebecca is planning to bring a May Poll and seeking advice from the Pagan community. Variety of other youth activities that include: Bounce House (Charlie will check on permits), Arts and Crafts (Keith and Brenda), Cubb lawn game (Rebecca), Henna (Chirjeev), Indiana Friendship Bracelet (Sonal), Passports for visiting exhibits?

Reverend Thornton will be coordinating Spoken Word Artists and possibly visual artists and authors.

Cenk will coordinating the Table Conversation inside the memorial. He will use Eventbrite to get rsvp’s. The conversation period will move to 2 hours and include a mixed age range. However we did talk about the possibility of youth led table conversations also-

We considered an 11am start time for youth conversations with an ending at 1pm so that they could then join the Opening Ceremony at 1pm. Hate Crimes and Hate Crime legislation will be a topic.

Rebecca and Charlie will work on a timeline for press and social media campaign- Charlie will meet with Ray Mills to discuss this further and coordinate with Bill Foley.

It was a good idea to move chairs directly in front of the stage to encourage folks to sit down and watch each of the performances. Volunteers will be assigned to move the chairs in place after the Drumming Circle and Opening Ceremony.

We also talked about large signage of all festival activities that could be posted in a variety of locations in Veterans Memorial Plaza.

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