Interfaith prayer room opens on campus

The interfaith prayer room opened to the campus on Tuesday, April 9 thanks to efforts from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The space is furnished with resources for students, including prayer rugs. (Atticus Rice / McDaniel Free Press).The interfaith prayer room opened to the campus on Tuesday, April 9 thanks to efforts from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The space is furnished with resources for students, including prayer rugs. (Atticus Rice / McDaniel Free Press).

Students, faculty, and staff gathered together to celebrate the opening of McDaniel’s new interfaith prayer room on Tuesday, April 9, 2019.

Sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the room is designed to serve the prayer and meditation needs of students, faculty, and staff, as well as cultural and religious organizations on campus.

“Religion and spirituality are a big part of our students’ identities,” said Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion Jose Moreno, “so it’s important that we honor that.”

Located in Hill Hall 106, the room is open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

“We are really excited about having one central place for people of any faith to go together and feel connected and supported on campus,” said junior Nicolette Brookman, president of McDaniel’s InterVarsity Christian Fellowship group. “I’m personally very thankful to Jose [Moreno] and ODI for making this a priority and for inviting us alongside him in this unifying action.”

Each registered religious student organization or group will have access to the room during these hours. According to Moreno, the Jewish Student Union, Catholic Campus Ministries, Intervarsity, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Muslim Student Association, Voices of Praise, and Gospel Choir will all have group access codes.

Those not affiliated with a group can receive personal access through ODI.

InterVarsity is already planning to hold their annual 24-hour prayer room in the new space, said Brookman.

The room is stocked with prayer rugs, a resource library of various texts, including the Quran, Bible, and Torah, among others, and can also act as a space for religious/spiritual affiliated student organizations.

One feature that has students excited is the volunteer program where religious leaders will hold weekly office hours to provide guidance and religious/spiritual comfort for those in need.

“I’m hoping that many college students who don’t know where to go to get their spiritual questions answered will see this as their safe space to go and find out what they believe and to connect with people who can help them do that,” said Brookman.

“We’re currently partnering with local religious leaders who can volunteer an hour every week or every other week,” said Moreno.

These volunteers will also assist ODI with religious/spiritual programming and will be able to answer any questions about religion, faith, or spiritual guidance.

A few have already completed a training program to begin their work, Moreno said.

Brookman had the opportunity to meet some of these volunteers during the opening.

“I appreciate [their] thoughtfulness and receptiveness,” she said of their giving of their time, “and I can tell they are really ready to come in and serve students well.”

Before Hill 106 became available, Gold Room B served as an interfaith prayer space, but wasn’t incredibly effective, given that Moreno had to continually reserve the room and it was commonly locked.

The Hill 106 space has been nearly two and a half years in the making, Moreno said.

Those with questions about the room are encouraged to contact Director of Diversity and Inclusion Jose Moreno at jmoreno@mcdaniel.edu or 410-857-2265.