Westminster Interfaith: Promoting Dialogue Between People of Faith

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

Westminster Interfaith Newsletter

Issue 65 – February 2010

Inter Faith Week 2009

The Launch: With Jon (Dal Din), I was at the Launch of this week, a week which really seemed to catch people's imaginations. This Launch at the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre in Westminster was quite a prestigious affair, with Minister and MPs flitting in and out as the Division Bell informed them that their presence was required in the House. But I think there is no doubt that the highlight of the event was the presentations made by young people involved in interfaith work, coming from all faith traditions, and travelling in from up and down the country. A young man told us of his work with youth, another introduced us to his interfaith band, with instruments sacred and secular, and performed in concert. A young woman told us about the response of her organisation to the needs of women, and a schoolboy explained his interfaith experience at school.

Beyond the auditorium, in the conference space, there were excellent exhibitions from a plethora and a huge variety of groups. These, working from within their faith or working interfaith, appeared to touch nearly every area of life in order to meet needs of local people. As I attended, I felt that IFNUK are to congratulated on this conception and on the 2009 organisation.

House of Lords: There was no shortage of invitations to take part in events for Interfaith Week. But when the Universal Peace Federation of the Unification Church told me that they were, last minute, looking for a Christian speaker at their annual commemoration of the late Dr LM Singhvi (UK Indian High Commissioner) to take place in one of the committee rooms of the House of Lords, I cancelled other things to be with them.

They entitled their event: 'Joint Celebrations of Holy Days', and I was asked to speak about All Saints Day. So, to a full room, I spoke on that; Edwin Shuker a Sephardic Jew talked about Hanukkah; Imam Dr M Bacoum from the Muslim College spoke on Eid; and Vijhay Mehta, with whom I had once shared a platform at a Christian CND Conference protesting the renewal of Trident, spoke on Diwali. A delightful nonagenarian woman told of the spirituality she had found in the past few years through the work of the Unification Church, and those assembled proved a lively and participative audience.

Sr Elizabeth

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