Posts Tagged ‘Totnes inter faith forum’

Inter Faith Week Diary

Inter Faith Week was a very eventful week for me, and found me in Exeter on 16 November and Newcastle on 18 November. Both events were confirmations of the fantastic inter faith work being done in Exeter, Newcastle and around the UK. It was a real pleasure to be part of it.

Exeter ‘Educating Ourselves and Our Children’

This multi faith event was organized by Devon Faiths Forum, Plymouth Centre for Faiths and Cultural Diversity, Torbay Inter Faith Forum, Exeter Inter Faith Group and Totnes Inter Faith Forum. Held at Exeter Library Music room, it not only included some great music and Qur’an recitation but also some wonderful traditional homemade food from the different faith groups involved.

It was a great opportunity to learn about the different faiths in Devon and the existing inter faith relationships between communities. Although not intentionally, the Christian Muslim Forum stall ended up between local Muslims from Exeter mosque and the local church inter faith group. I received a great deal of interest in the Forum’s Ethical Witness guidelines from both Muslim and Christians. It was a great chance to elaborate on what the witness guidelines mean and consider the merits of our Christian-Muslim Friendship Project. We will be developing the Friendship project in Exeter in the coming weeks, working with the local mosque and church.

After a chance to meet individual representatives of various faiths we retired to the library music room for a beautiful recitation of the Qur’an by a member of Exeter mosque which was translated into English. This was followed by my, and others, first lesson on wearing a Sikh turban. Martyn Goss from Devon Faiths Forum graciously volunteered to demonstrate the wearing of the turban. When the cloth was unravelled it was nearly as wide as the room that we were in! We were introduced to the significance of the turban and given the opportunity to ask questions about the Sikh faith.

From the Hindu community we were entertained by a wonderful dance accompanied by a traditional and modern South Indian music. The Exeter inter faith choir followed with Christian, Pagan, Jewish and Hindu traditional songs. This event was a truly wonderful celebration of the existing inter faith relationships in Devon. I look forward to working with the various communities in Exeter and developing further strong and sustainable relationships between Christians and Muslims.

Newcastle ‘A Multi-Cultural Experience’

People in Newcastle take pride in being helpful and courteous and I can confirm this through my experiences of being lost in Newcastle and seeking help! Individuals certainly go out of their way to help in general and this is certainly extended to people of other faiths and among the different faith groups in Newcastle. I was very pleased to be invited to an inter faith event held at Knop Law and Milecastle Primary School organised by the ‘Outside in’ Holy Nativity community project and the Newcastle Council of Faiths as well as individuals active in inter faith work. Key speakers from Islamic, Christian, Jewish, Jain, Bahai and Hindu communities gave their thoughts on the value and power of inter faith relationships, peace and social cohesion. All spoke powerful words of love, reconciliation and peace.

I received a very positive response to the mosque-church friendship project and hope to work with the local church and mosque in the future. As in Exeter, I discussed and outlined the importance of longstanding relationships between Muslims and Christians, and discussed the Ethical Witness guidelines. It was good to meet with people familiar with the Christian Muslim Forum and our work. The President of the mosque has a strong relationship with the Christian community and is part of Newcastle Council of Faiths. This relationship has been vital when challenges have occurred in the past, as in other communities in the U.K.

By far the most powerful demonstration and value of inter faith community was represented by the very talented children, who sang and danced contemporary and traditional faith songs, they were certainly the stars of the evening. I very much share the sentiments of the Sheriff of Newcastle when she mentioned the pride she had in the children’s understanding with regards to people of other faiths and their ability to teach us all what it means to live with faith in a diverse multi cultural community.

Daniel Edge
Peace Worker