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Interfaith Season’s Faith Fair to feature focus on missing youth in churches

Faith Fair is the premier event of the Salt Lake Interfaith Roundable’s Interfaith Season

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Betty Yanowitz, originally of New York City and now living in Holladay, takes a picture of Bob Prottas, originally of Seattle, Washington, and now living in Salt Lake City, and his wife Sue Prottas, originally of Vancouver, Canada, and now living in Salt Lake City, during the Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable’s “Generosity of Faith Fair” open house at the Center for Spiritual Living in South Salt Lake on Monday, Feb. 19, 2018. Sue said that she and Yanowitz are both members of the Roundtable representing the Jewish community.

Jacob Wiegand, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Faith communities in Utah are concerned about the rising generation.

“We have plenty of older members in our faith congregations, but where are the young people? They are missing,” said George Cannon, a volunteer member of the Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable.

“It’s not just a problem for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it’s a problem for the Hindus, Muslims and Jews. Everybody is struggling to hold on to their youth because there are so many secular distractions.”

To address the problem, as many as 10 faith communities will come together on Wednesday, Feb. 12, for a “Faith Fair” featuring a panel discussion with youth representatives from different religions to discuss the question, “Where are the missing youth in our churches today?”

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Neale R. Neelameggham, originally of Chennai, India, and now living in Salt Lake City, speaks with George Cannon of Salt Lake City, left, about Hinduism next to Deepika Singareddy, originally of Hyderabad, India, and now living in Salt Lake City, during the Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable’s “Generosity of Faith Fair” open house at the Center for Spiritual Living in South Salt Lake on Monday, Feb. 19, 2018. Neelameggham and Singareddy represented the Hindu Temple of Utah at the fair.

Jacob Wiegand, Deseret News

The Faith Fair is one of a dozen events listed on the Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable’s calendar in February and March, activities designed to invite the public to learn more about different faith traditions in Utah, according to interfaithroundtable.org.

This year’s list of activities start on Feb. 6 and continue until March 11, with most of the events organized by the host faith community.

Josie Stone, who serves as chairwoman of Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable, said the group has grown steadily since it started during the 2002 Winter Olympics. She finds the different interfaith events educational and worthwhile.

“We are so fortunate to be in this environment that enriches us all, practices tolerance and understanding, and one always ready to learn more about our fellow human beings, our neighbors,” Stone said. “The interfaith season activities and other events throughout the year are planned specifically to give our community an opportunity to learn more about other faiths by going to their house of worship or share in a lecture, talk to the members and realize that we are essentially all the same, the same goals in life for our families, the preservation of traditions, making a living, getting an education, wanting a peaceful world, fighting injustice, etc.

“It is all so humbling and enlightening and so worthwhile. I love all the events, large and small, always come away refreshed and knowing more, and perhaps the most surprising to many people is that seeing the deep faith and traditions of others has the blessed reward of strengthening one’s own faith and commitment.”

The Faith Fair will be a premier event, Cannon said.

During the first hour of the activity, members of the Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Scientology, Islamic, Catholic congregations and others will each have table and answer questions about their faith.

The second half will feature a panel of youth representatives from the different faith communities, possibly including an atheist. They will discuss the question, “Where are the missing youth?” and talk about their respective faith journeys, according to Cannon.

“It’s an interesting blend of religions and it’s going to be an interesting discussion,” he said.

On Saturday, Feb. 29, the Sikh Temple of Salt Lake will host a gathering to educate visitors about its faith and religious customs, followed by a “Langar,” a traditional Indian meal.

“It’s not just coming and listening to a little bit more about their religion, but it’s also partaking in a part of their culture which is their cuisine,” Cannon said.

Another popular activity each year is the Interfaith bus tour on Tuesday, March 3. This year the participants tour the Krishna Temple of Salt Lake and the Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church.

“People always love the bus tour because they go together as people interested in the community,” Cannon said. “You get to meet a lot of people on the bus tour.”

Members of the different religions will gather at the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Temple Square on Saturday, March 8, for an Interfaith Music Evening, “Many Faiths — One Family.” The event will include a combination of music and dance, with remarks by a Jewish rabbi, an imam from a local mosque and a general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Cannon said.

The calendar also includes an activity with the Christian Scientists on March 10.

More information about the activities can be found at interfaithroundtable.org.

  • Thursday, Feb. 6 — “An Evening of Zen Buddhism,” Two Arrows Zen, Artspace Suite 155, 230 S. 500 West in Salt Lake City, 7-9 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 12 — Faith Fair, Columbus Center, South Salt Lake Parks and Recreation, 2531 S. 400 East, 6-8:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Feb. 15 — “The Sultan and the Saint,” a documentary screening, Emerald Hills Institute, Salt Lake Library Auditorium, 210 E. 400 South in Salt Lake City, 3-5 p.m. RSVP is required at info@emeraldhillsinstitute.org
  • Tuesday, Feb. 18 — Intergenerational Interfaith Dialogue, The Golden Rule P., 1229 E. South Temple in Salt Lake City, 6:30-8 p.m.
  • Friday, Feb. 21 — El Khadeeja Mosque, location TBA, 6-8 p.m.
  • Sunday, Feb. 23 — Heritage Concert, Calvary Baptist Church, 1090 S. State in Salt Lake City, time TBA.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 25 — Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper, Cathedral of St. Marks, 231 E. 100 South in Salt Lake City, 5:30-7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 26 — Interfaith Refugee Day of Prayer, Mosaic Interfaith M., 4392 S. 900 East in Millcreek, 10 a.m. to noon.
  • Saturday, Feb. 29 — Sikh Temple with Langar (traditional meal), 4897 S. Redwood Road in Taylorsville, 5:30-7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, March 3 — Interfaith Bus Tour, 6-8:30 p.m. Visit the Krishna Temple, 6:30 p.m.; Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church, 7:30 p.m. Space is limited. RSVP is required at saltlakeinterfaith@gmail.com
  • Thursday, March 5 — Sri Ganesha Hindu Temple, 1143 W. South Jordan Parkway in South Jordan, 6:30-8 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 8 — Interfaith Music Evening, “Many Faiths — One Family,” Salt Lake Tabernacle on Temple Square, 6 p.m.
  • Tuesday, March 10 — Christian Science Second Church, 1165 S. Foothill Dr. in Salt Lake City, 6-7:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 11 — Welfare Square Tour, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 751 W. 700 South in Salt Lake City, 6-7:30 p.m.

Editor’s note: This has been updated to reflect that the “The Sultan and the Saint” screen on Feb. 15 and the Interfaith Bus Tour on March 3 both require RSVPs and where to do so.