Religious Observances

August 27, 2019

Cal Lutheran Faculty and Staff,

In a few short days we will be welcoming new and returning students to Cal Lutheran. Our students, faculty and staff come from multi-faceted gender, cultural, ethnic, philosophical and religious identities that make this a pluralistic community of learning. We have an ongoing opportunity to enter into the cultural and religious realm of our neighbors and friends learning from them about their deeply held values and practices.

The strategic plan acknowledges that our campus culture must be more inclusive and equitable in order to enhance education for all students. For Cal Lutheran, this means a commitment to diversity of race, class, culture, nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, politics, and physical or mental abilities. The first goal of the strategic plan is that the university will continue evolving into a more inclusive campus. This goal builds on the ELCA statement on “A Declaration of Our Inter-Religious Commitment” which was recently adopted at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly in August. Click here to view the statement.

I use this note as a reminder of the importance of your awareness and respect of the traditions and celebrations that your colleagues, students, friends, and neighbors may choose to honor throughout the year.

Please find a list of several, but not all, dates of observances which may be celebrated by members of the Cal Lutheran community during the 2019-2020 academic year below:


2019 Observances
Fall 2019

Eid al Adha (Islam)

Begins evening of August 12 through August 15

Rosh Hashanah (Judaism)

September 30

Navaratri (Hindu)

September 29 through October 7

Dassera (Hindu)

October 8

Yom Kippur Judaism

October 9

Birth of Báb (Baha’i)

October 20

Je Tsongkhapa's Enlightenment Dat (Buddhism)

October 25

Diwali (Hindu, Jain, Sikh)

October 27
Hannukah (Judaism) Begins evening of December 23 through December 30

A resource that can assist us in learning about a variety of 2019 observances is available at the Anti-Defamation League’s Calendar of Observances. Observances held within the 2020 calendar year are available here

I want to take this opportunity to invite the Cal Lutheran community to experience and respect the Sabbath Hour on the Thousand Oaks campus, Thursdays from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. This is a gift of time when no classes or labs are scheduled so one can pause and reflect. All offices are to be closed during this time so that students, faculty and staff may have the chance to attend University Chapel or utilize this time for mindful reflection. At Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, weekly Eucharist is held on Wednesdays at 11:00 a.m. 

Additionally, on the Thousand Oaks campus, the Wennes Interfaith Meditation Chapel is open every day all day for mindful reflection. Printed resources from many faith traditions are available as are meditation cushions, prayer rugs, incense, and icons.  One can walk the path of the labyrinth located behind Samuelson Chapel for reflection or prayer. On Thursdays, one can meet at the back gate of the Facilities building at 11:15 a.m. for a hike up to the cross. 

While we are a community that is increasingly varied in its religious expressions, we remain joined together by values that celebrate our very differences. Thank you for your support as we work together to achieve mutual understanding among all people of different worldviews and religions and to inspire all to work together for the common good. 

Melissa Maxwell-Doherty
Vice President, Mission and Identity