Standing under the crucifix in St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church on Thursday, four members of the Hindu Temple Society of Augusta chanted a prayer to their Lord Shiva.
In full Hindu dress, Indrani Ganguly, Kiran Karanth, C. Mohan Wakade and Somenath Shenoy demonstrated the types of hymns and chants typical of their worship.
Members of the Sikh community from the Guru Singh Sabha Temple and the sisters from the Order of St. Helena also demonstrated their own chants and hymns as part of the Interfaith Fellowship of Augusta’s Sounds of Faith.
The two-part series will continue in the fall with presentations by the Jewish, Muslim and congregational Christian traditions.
“This came about from a number of conversations with other members of the Interfaith Fellowship,” said the Rev. Jason Haddox, of St. Augustine.
The group meets monthly to discuss civic issues and ways to share their faith traditions with one another and the community at large.
“Someone said, ‘Well, we all have this tradition of singing in worship called chanting, whether it’s in a group or by oneself. What if we came together and shared those traditions?’ ” he said.
Surinderjit Singh, of the Guru Singh Sabha temple, said the chants that were chosen to represent the Sikh tradition were hymns in which stanzas are repeated and represent the belief that people are all from one God.
Sister Ellen Francis said the chants shared by the sisters of the Order of St. Helena were a simplified version of the ones sung daily in the convent.
“We didn’t have to practice because that’s what we do every day,” she said.
The sisters attend chapel services five times a day and chant during at least two of them for 45 minutes.
“We chant the entire 150 psalms every two weeks,” she said.
Ellen Francis, also a member of the Interfaith Fellowship, said she hoped music would draw more people to their mission of understanding and fellowship with people of other faiths.
“We’d just love for the wider community to know that these different traditions exist and they are a part of the work and life of Augusta,” she said.
Lorraine Barlett, a member at First Baptist Church of Augusta, said she found the demonstrations peaceful and contemplative.
“I just thought it was a very nice experience to have other types of cultures outside my usual Christian experience,” she said of Thursday’s presentation.