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Shaping Narratives is an initiative to build capacity in communities of color by providing leaders with training in decolonizing narratives, media and production skills and community organizing as a distribution strategy. Each participant developed a show, a local affinity group and a social media following to address issues they are passionate about. Content is being used to spark change based conversations. The shows include, Ngiiwe, Color Out Here, Meeting God, The Black Honest Truth and Cultural Ingredients:

Rishi Singh Talks To Fred Stella about resources the West Michigan Hindu Temple is offering

Shaping Narratives

Rishi Singh, hosts WGVU’s Meeting God, a TV show that uses immersive experiences of faith to explore belief and commonality in the human experience. For this segment, he talks to faith leaders about resources they are offering their congregants and the community at large. 

You're listening to shaping narratives a collection of voices from West Michigan's communities of color brought  to you by WGVU NPR and PBS in West Michigan in the partnership with the wk Kellogg Foundation, the voice of today's podcast is Rishi Singh host  of WGVU’s Meeting God. A TV show that uses immersive experiences of faith to explore belief, and commonality in the human experience. Rishi is a successful businessman and a first generation immigrant, with deep commitment to family and community. For this broadcast, he talks to faith leaders about resources they are offering their congregations and in the community at large.

We're speaking with Fred Stella he’s the outreach minister for the West Michigan Hindu temple, he's also president of interfaith dialogue Association, an affiliate of the Kaufman interfaith Institute, he hosts the radio program Common Threads over at WGVU FM every Sunday at 07:00AM and 06:30PM. Hi Fred how are you? 

I'm doing very well considering the interesting situation we find ourselves in just fine. Thank you.

Well, you know that’s why I'm calling you know, Fred with so many people laid off or struggling, it's hard to know where to turn and I think it's faiths communities across West Michigan responding to the pandemic, I think we’re all just doing the very best that we can, and what I'm what I would like to do is discuss the response from your temple, the Hindu temple in one the Hindu community is doing at the temple to help the community.

Certainly and I'm very happy to talk about that. First as a as a community how we are helping each other obviously and I know every community is doing the same thing a lot of it isn’t an organization, it's person to person, you know people who need help and you help them whether they're members of your neighborhood, whether they're members of your spiritual community, whether they're strangers you help them and so certainly in the Hindu temple community. There is a lot of that going on. As I say as there is in I'm sure all faith communities as far as what we're doing. In in our broader outreach. We have 2 wonderful young gentlemen. They are the monos brothers. Krishna and Vishnu and they are very active members of our temple, actually I just mispronounced the last name that’s  mano not manos. But they are they have set up a Website through Kaufman where people can both donate money to the community to the greater community and also volunteer their time so that if there are any people who are not able to get out and get groceries that volunteers can be contacted and the next time they go to the grocery store they can pick up whatever food they need the people in need. And the volunteers will be compensated for whatever they pay for the groceries. So I would say that is our biggest contribution to the greater community of Grand Rapids through West Michigan into temple.

Well that's that's remarkable. And for the listeners, what is the address of the temple?

The address of the temple is of 4870 Whitneyville road obviously we’re closed right now. But there are videos and pictures that are going up. So for instance, the priests are still in the temple and they are conducting prayer services on a pretty much a daily basis, and people can tune in for that or get a video of those per services.

That's wonderful and that was actually going to be my follow-up question is obviously the congregation that you have mentioned. you're not meeting per se and so the physical form, but it looks like the digital. Apps and things like that really help to kind of stay together and the whole thing it sounds like.

Oh very much so I'm actually a member of two spiritual communities Rishi. As you mentioned I have this role of outreach minister for the West Michigan into tempel , I'm also involved in a chapter of more contemplative Hindu yoga a society called self-realization fellowship and we have centers all around the world and as I mentioned of course a chapter here in Grand Rapids and we're not meeting either. But our main Ashram or for people who are not familiar with that word, monastery is located in Los Angeles and there are meditations throughout the day that people can access on Zoom so we're doing that as well.

That's remarkable and that's I think one thing to me and you always have a common bond on is a meditation I think it's so important more now in these times when anxiety,  Depression and so on all these things that can just overcome the mind and it's so wonderful to have a place in communities where you can practice meditation and really have that bonding. Right?

Oh absolutely. It works wonders when when you are cooped up in a house and there might be family tensions. And certainly I know a lot of people are very concerned about their financial situation. Meditation is a very powerful way to just sequester yourself, it doesn't remove the problems of course. What it does do is it gives you a tool for how you're going to face the problem. Remember that it's not the problem itself. It's to reaction to the problem, so if you react with undue stress and irritation Then you're you're simply going to create more problems for yourself and so yes, I'm strongly recommending that people learn meditation and you can do it so easily these days as a variety of meditation methods schools of thought on meditation but it's so easily available you can go to youtube right now and learn to meditate.

Shaping Narratives a collection of voices from West Michigan's communities of color is brought to you in partnership with the wk Kellogg Foundation, a partner with communities where children come first. Want to hear more Shaping Narratives episodes download and subscribe at WGVU dot org or wherever you get your podcasts. Please rate and subscribe if you get a chance, it helps us to know you're listening. Shaping Narratives is produced by WGVU PBS and NPR in West Michigan through the facilities of the Meijer public broadcast center in the service of Grand Valley State University. Matt Gruppen processed all the audio, Joe Bielecki edits each episode, Vance Orr designed our graphics and manages our Web presence, Phil Lanes is our director of content. The views and opinions expressed in this program are those of the hosts and their guests and do not necessarily reflect those of WGVU or Grand Valley State University.