NATIONAL INTER FAITH WEEK
Sunday 16 – Saturday 22 November 2014
National Inter Faith Week begins on Sunday in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This will be its sixth year. The Week’s aims are:
Hundreds of organisations will be holding events to mark the Week, such as: local faith groups and inter faith organisations; schools, universities, colleges and other educational bodies; local authorities; youth organisations; emergency services; hospitals; businesses; voluntary organisations; chaplaincies; and others. A map showing events is at http://www.interfaithweek.org/map and this Release has a short annex with a sampling of different types of events being held.
Launch of Inter Faith Week
The Week is being officially advance launched at an event today, 13 November, at the Coin Street Community Centre in London.
This year the Week has a special focus on youth and intergenerational involvement in developing inter faith understanding and cooperation. Reflecting this, Co-Chairs of the Inter Faith Network for the UK, the Rt Revd Richard Atkinson and Vivian Wineman, with Vice-Chair Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala, are joined in launching the Week by inter faith colleagues and by young people of different faiths and practitioners who have come together for a special one day sharing of good practice event focusing on developing inter faith activity and education for and with young people.
The Co-Chairs said: “Inter faith understanding and cooperation are of year-round and ever growing importance but National Inter Faith Week provides a special time in the year when the spotlight falls on these issues. It is a time when people in communities around the country highlight the significance of faith and the contribution that faith communities make to society. Young and old of all backgrounds get the chance to find out more about their neighbours’ faiths and beliefs and to discuss, debate, learn, contribute together to projects and celebrate their diversity. Finding commonalities, sharing what matters most deeply to us, asking questions, exploring differences of view – these are all part of the Week. We hope that as many people as possible will take the opportunity to join in one of the hundreds of events happening.”
Prime Minister David Cameron has said about the Week: “"Inter Faith Week is now a well regarded fixture in the faith calendar and I am delighted it is going from strength to strength. The Week plays an important role in bringing together people, and I would encourage everyone to get behind this year's activities. There is no better way of celebrating the richness and diversity of faith in our country."
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said: “The Week is a brilliant opportunity for people of different backgrounds to make new connections, find out more about each other and celebrate together the great multicultural society we have here in the UK. My best wishes to everyone involved in making Inter Faith Week what it is today. I hope many communities up and down the country will get involved to make this year another great success.”
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles has said: "Inter faith social action brings our communities closer together and Inter Faith Week is a terrific opportunity to highlight this, whilst celebrating the practical contribution that our faith groups make to society. I hope that people of different faiths and beliefs - from local authorities, schools, and voluntary organisations across the country, will take part in some of the events that will be happening across their communities.”
13 November 2014
A taster of events being held in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for Inter Faith Week:
This year, a number of events have a youth focus, for example Leeds Muslim Youth Forum is launching an Interfaith Campaign encouraging young people to play an active role in civic and community life working with faith groups to tackle many community issues, build interfaith relations and develop opportunities for collaborative work and the sharing of resources and good practice. Religious Education and its importance is reflected in a number of events such as ‘Believe in Bradford’ - an interactive day conference bringing together pupils from schools across the Bradford district organised by the Bradford Interfaith Centre.
Reflecting from a multi faith perspective on World War 1
Commemorating and reflecting on World War 1 at the time of its centenary is also a theme in a number of Inter Faith Week programmes such as ‘World War 1: Faiths Then and Now’ (Norwich InterFaith Link); Contribution of Faith Communities in the First World War (Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe); ‘Everyman remembered’, a workshop for schools exploring the religious and cultural backgrounds of all those that lost their lives during World War 1 being held by the Burnley and Pendle RE Centre; and a series of ‘Hands on Faith’ workshops in Dewsbury and Huddersfield (Kirklees Faiths Forum) with different places of worship looking at aspects of WW1.
Stories from Sikh soldiers and their families will be displayed at the Punjabi School at the Guru Nanak Temple as a pop‐up exhibition created as part of the Project 'Empire Faiths and World War 1: The Sikhs and World War one'. Hull and East Riding Interfaith is holding a discussion on war and peace for the 100 years since the start of World War 1 and considering the question “Is war ever justified? What do different faith and belief traditions have to say about the evils of war?” Peacemaking is a theme in a number of events such as Hounslow Friends of Faith’s ‘Faith involvement in peacemaking’ talk and ‘Inspirations for Peace’ (Faith in Lancaster).
Religious and non-religious dialogue
Religious and non-religious dialogue is also a more prominent theme this year with events such as “Humanism in Europe: working together across religion & belief traditions” held by the European Network on Religion and Belief and the London Boroughs Faiths Network.
For a full listing of known events see www.interfaithweek.org