January 04, 2017
Los Angeles, CA
In last September, members of the religious and spiritual community from throughout Orange County, California, came together to take part in a blessing service upon the inauguration of the college’s new president, Daniele C. Struppa, Ph.D.
Dean Gail J. Stearns of Chapman University’s Fish Interfaith Center extended an invitation to Shinnyo-en USA’s Los Angeles temple, to participate in the week-long festivities surrounding the inauguration of Dr. Struppa, the new head of the university. Now celebrating its 155th year, Chapman is known for its distinguishing strengths in leadership and civic engagement, in the arts and entertainment disciplines, and in specialized sectors of technology and science. The university is also known for fostering interfaith relations across university campuses.
As a part of the inauguration, Shinnyo-en’s Rev. Nichelle Madrigal was invited to join the service held at The Fish Interfaith Center. Others in attendance included Rev. Dr. Sharon E. Watkins, General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada; The Rev. Canon John H. Taylor, Vicar, St. John Chrysostom Episcopal Church and School of Rancho Santa Margarita; as well as other national and local faith leaders from around the southern California area.
The interfaith service included the participation of more than 150 guests including members of the Orange County clergy, Chapman University’s Board of Directors, and students. Other Buddhist, Islamic and Jewish clergy were also in attendance, providing a full representation of faith leaders from the region.
The main ceremony opened with an interfaith invocation by a native American elder, a Jewish Cantor, an Imam, Rev. Madrigal of Shinnyo-en, and Dr. Stearns. The Catholic Diocese of Orange was represented by Bishop Kevin Vann, who presented Dr. Struppa with a proclamation from His Holiness Pope Francis. As Rev. Madrigal expressed, “The blessing service and inauguration were truly impressive ceremonies that included many touching moments despite the formality and pageantry.” She added, “It was a true honor to represent Shinnyo-en at Chapman University, and we look forward to potential for furthering our relations with the school, as I can see many shared values between the university and our Sangha.”