Westminster Interfaith: Promoting Dialogue Between People of Faith

The agency of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster for Interreligious Dialogue

Westminster Interfaith Newsletter

Issue 62 – July 2009

Inter Faith Week 15-21 November 2009

Inter Faith Week was proposed by the Inter Faith Network for the United Kingdom in the consultations that led to the Department for Communities and Local Government document: "Face to Face and Side by Side – a Framework for partnership in our multi faith society." Inter Faith Week presents an opportunity for faith communities to develop and deepen faith based relationships at every level. Celia Blackden, Executive Officer for Inter Faith Relations of Churches Together in England, has produced an initial bulletin of practical suggestions of how to prepare for and celebrate Interfaith Week, entitled, 'Action Ideas for the Week'. These include small steps towards friendship and exchange and also suggestions for collective action, which can be used by varied age groups and in different contexts. She groups these ideas into six useful categories: Work and Economics; Getting to Know You; Prayer and spirituality; Health and the Environment; Local History and shared identity; Music, Arts and Culture and Politics. Here is a sample of the suggestions:

Work and Economics

Show interest in the businesses run by your neighbours of other faiths and how they are faring in the current economic climate.

Ask your work mates: whether they know about inter faith week; what might be done to understand better the different religions represented in the workforce; whether they would like to organise a shared meal among the staff during inter faith week.

Invite business people from different faith communities to talk about how faith impacts on business principles for the sake of justice and the common good.

Explore how faith communities consider the use of goods, the reality of poverty and helping people in need. Organise a fund raising event for those suffering from a recent natural disaster or families in need in your town.

Getting to Know You

Invite your neighbour for a cup of tea. Or suggest that everyone in your church / place of worship invite a neighbouring family of another faith to tea.

Stop to talk to the person you see every day on your way to work or the shops, or strike up a conversation with people you see regularly on public transport.

Arrange an 'Open Doors' day when people can visit your church / place of worship or community centre to find out about your faith and what you are doing.

Arrange a pilgrimage of peace, visiting places of worship or community centres in your locality, taking with you people who have not done this before.

Prayer and spirituality

Tell a friend or acquaintance of another faith that you will pray for their job search, their sick relative or other pressing concern.

Arrange an event where there is input and discussion on the meaning of spirituality and the importance of prayer in different traditions. End this with spiritual readings and shared silence, perhaps accompanied by the lighting of candles.

Music, Arts and Culture

Arrange a cultural event with religious or cultural music from different traditions with explanations as to how these came about and their meaning.

Invite speakers from the faith traditions to explain the concept of art and imagery in different religious traditions, how these came about, how they have changed over the centuries and the challenges faced today.

Local History and shared identity

Explore localities in your town where different communities have lived over decades or more. See how much the built environment and stories related to places can build bridges among people and cultures.

For the complete list of Action Ideas for Interfaith Week, and other resources visit the CTE website: http://www.churches-together.net

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