A Tibetan Buddhist monk blessed a set of meditation chimes for Sally Iseral-Shepherd, Chaplain at Rockcastle Health & Rehab. “I’m actually going to use these for my memorial service” at the building, she said. “I’m just going to ring them in honor of those who passed.”
For the second consecutive year, Signature HealthCARE is participating in the Louisville Festival of Faiths, an annual event created to celebrate diversity in faiths and strengthen the role of religion and society.
Myriad world religions, denominations, spiritual groups and nonprofit organizations have some type of presence at the festival, in the form of informational booths, speakers or presentations. It is an event that even the U.S. Senate has recognized, adopting a resolution that says “Louisville Festival of Faiths should be commended and should serve as a model for similar festivals in other communities throughout the United States.”
Past speakers include the Dalai Lama, Rabbi Harold Kushner, the Archbishop of Canterbury and a number of well-known authors and religious scholars.
The event also has a decidedly environmental bent. While last year’s theme focused on soil conservation, this year’s theme was “Sacred Air.”
Sam Clemmens set up the Signature booth at the festival, and he and Creative Programs Manager Pam Christian spent time on Thursday and Friday telling guests about Signature’s interfaith spiritual programming.
Stephen Bowling, Project Manager for the Spirituality pillar (and a scholar in his own right), attended an opening gala Thursday night. He was struck by the sheer number of attendees, as well as the number of high-profile guests and business leaders, noting that the 16-year-old festival was no longer strictly religious but also an important civic affair.
“This is a Broadway opening – it was that type of crowd,” said Bowling, a Catholic deacon for his church. “Can you imagine an event where everybody from every single faith tradition is represented? And the business world has embraced this by storm.”
Several Signature chaplains made the journey from their buildings to attend the festival, including Neal Myers and Jesse Baldridge, both from Signature buildings in Lexington, Ky., and Sally Iseral-Shepherd, Chaplain at Rockcastle Health & Rehab Center.
“Encouraging diversity – that’s everything I stand for,” she said. “I’m just glad that I’m with a company that is so open and accepting of different faiths. I’m really proud to be part of a company that’s willing to participate in this and openly willing to say, ‘this is what we believe and what we support.’ ”