Manchester University
Oak Leaves

September 15, 2017

VIA Demonstrates Unity, Peace through Spirituality

Avis McGowen 

Students were invited to hear faithful testimonies by the touring trio “Keeping Faith: Three Sisters of Stories,” in Cordier Auditorium on Sept. 5 at 3:30 at Manchester University.

Narrators Kim Schultz, Rohina Malik and Susan Stone, are the three women who shared the spotlight on stage as they described their personal beliefs and interconnected the differences among the Christian, Muslim and Jewish teachings and beliefs. 

The event was open to campus students and the surrounding residents. The auditorium was filled with a variety of class peers ranging from first-years to seniors.

Each speaker took a different approach on presenting their religion and devotional. Schultz opened by singing “Amazing Grace,” which soon proved to be the intermediary song between each speaker.

The narrators shared their own religious views and experiences in front of the audience while being accompanied by instrumental music. Attendees were exposed to cultural hymns that were sung at the beginning and end of the program.

Students were intrigued as the speakers spoke of how the faiths interconnected. “I really liked the storytelling and that it brought three different faiths together,” said Brittany Miller, first-year. 

Their stories consisted of real-life sightings and encounters that progressed their spirituality throughout their lives. Schultz told of an angelic sight appearing to her in the hospital and how prayer can overcome trials and tribulations in everyday life.

The storytellers also spoke of how to overcome barriers of religious stereotypes and how to react to them. Malik recalled encountering a man after the 9/11 attack. As a Muslim woman, she had received various hateful remarks due to her faith, but when a man approached her to claim she was a “terrorist,” she opted to pray for the man and ask for his heart to obtain love that he lacked. 

This piece of the theatrical presentation depicted a real-life issue that continues today. Malik gave insight on how many Muslims struggle with being victims of misconceptions. “I especially liked the story about 9/11 because a lot of people misunderstand Muslims," said Mikayla Baumgarte, first-year. "Like the speaker said, we shouldn’t hate someone because they have a different religion than us, especially if they aren’t hurting anyone.”

As the VIA came to a close, the speakers gathered together in the middle of the stage and presided with their own ending prayers. Each narrator took one another's hand and gave a final bow on stage.

Students were able to attend this VIA event and receive credit that will go towards a graduation requirement. Some attendees were assigned to write about their experiences for class afterwards.

A Q&A followed the performance, during which students were offered a microphone to ask the performers questions. Students also gave compliments to the presenters onstage.