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News Release 13 November 2014

NATIONAL INTER FAITH WEEK

Sunday 16 – Saturday 22 November 2014

ifw-2014-launch

National Inter Faith Week begins on Sunday in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This will be its sixth year. The Week’s aims are:

  • Strengthening good inter faith relations at all levels
  • Increasing awareness of the different and distinct faith communities in the UK, celebrating and building on the contribution which their members make to their neighbourhoods and to wider society
  • Increasing understanding between people of religious and non-religious beliefs

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

Notes:

  1. For further information or photographs, please contact: Ashley Beck This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it 07931 008554.
  2. Inter Faith Week was established in England and Wales in 2009. Scottish Inter Faith Week has taken place with great success since 2004 and is led by Interfaith Scotland (www.interfaithscotland.org). This year it begins on Sunday 23 November.
  3. The Inter Faith Network for the UK manages the Inter Faith Week website: www.interfaithweek.org and leads on the Week. Within Wales, the lead is taken by the Inter-faith Council for Wales (www.interfaithwales.org), and within Northern Ireland, the lead is taken by the Northern Ireland Inter-Faith Forum (http://niinterfaithforum.org).
  4. Follow Inter Faith Week on Facebook at www.facebook.com/IFWeek and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/IFWeek.
  5. The Inter Faith Network for the UK (www.interfaith.org.uk) was founded in 1987 to advance public knowledge and mutual understanding of the teachings, traditions and practices of the different faith communities in Britain and to promote good relations between people of different faiths in this country.  It works with its member bodies and others to carry out these aims.  Inter Faith Week is one of its key programmes.
  6. Sunday 16 November, the first day of Inter Faith Week, is also Mitzvah Day (www.mitzvahday.org.uk) - a Jewish-led day of social action involving people of all faiths and none working together in their local communities. Many events are being jointly held to mark both Inter Faith Week and Mitzvah Day, and are branded as ‘Inter Faith Mitzvah Day’ events.
  7. The event on 13 November is: Young voices, young agents for change: spotlight on inter faith activity and education developed with and for young people” held by the Inter Faith Network for the UK, with involvement from 40+ organisations working in this area and with support from the Church Urban Fund; Golden Tours Foundation; Inter Faith Youth Trust; the National Association of SACREs; and Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe and supporters of the general programme of the Inter Faith Network including faith communities and the Department for Communities and Local Government. 
  8. Photo credit: Myles Fisher

 

ANNEX

 A taster of events being held in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for Inter Faith Week:

 

  • ‘Faith trails’ and ‘open door days’ to explore different places of worship, such as those being arranged by Preston Faith Forum, Calderdale Inter Faith Council and Watford Interfaith Association.
  • Dialogues such as ‘A Rabbi and a Priest re-read the story of Eve’ (Council of Christians and Jews, Staines and District) and discussion about ”What role has your cultural inheritance had on your faith/spiritual practice?” at the University of Sheffield ‘Interfaith Café’.
  • Inter faith arts, cultural and music events such as ‘Space for Peace’, including music and dance, at the Vedic Temple in Southampton (with Southampton Council of Faiths, Foundation Music and others); a youth art and photography competition run by the St Philip’s Centre in Leicester and the national ‘Faith through a Lens’ competition run by Congregational Insurance and in association with Churches Together in England and the Inter Faith Network for the UK.
  • Themed assemblies and lessons in many schools, such as Red Hill Primary in Worcester where pupils are designing and running an assembly with visitors from Worcester Inter Faith Forum.
  • Multi faith social action projects,  such as a ‘celebration of caring’ being held by Cheltenham Interfaith with University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham Borough Council Cheltenham Open Door Gloucestershire with Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers and Oakley Neighbourhood Project and a Multi Faith Tidy Up at Hatfield Cemetery organised by St Albans Council will local faith groups.
  • Exhibitions about different faiths and beliefs such as that being held by Cornwall Faith Forum with the Compass at Tremough CUC University.
  • Museum and library events such an event using the sacred treasures of the British Library to illuminate religious tolerance and co‐operation (Camden Council with the British Library) and an event (arranged by the York Minister Collections Team and York Interfaith) drawing on the collections “What can we learn from the English Reformation about religious tolerance and intolerance today?”
  • Talks and conferences on topics from faith perspectives on marriage (Bushey Inter Faith Forum); faith-based social action; multi faith approaches to child safe-guarding (the NSPCC); ‘tackling violence and abuse in faith communities’ (Kahrmel Wellness, Coventry); religious issues in health and social care provision (FaithAction and Faith Network for Manchester);  freedom of expression and the media (Joseph Interfaith Foundation);  religious tensions in the Holy Land and their wider impact (Islington Faiths Forum); to ‘encountering prayer’ - a day of inter faith dialogue arranged by Newcastle Diocese.
  • Sports events such as an Inter Faith Street 20 Cricket Tournament held by Bolton Inter Faith Council and Bolton Wanderers Community Trust and a festival of football for people of different faiths/organisations celebrating unity, peace and respect and fundraising for Children in Need held by AHC FC at the Blackburn Soccerdome.
  • Quizzes such as ‘Know your neighbour’ (Enfield Faith Forum with Palmers Green United Reformed Church).
  • Storytelling events and a play reading by readers of different backgrounds of Nathan the Wise at Community House, Newport.

 

Youth focus

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

 

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Inter Faith Week is a project of the
Inter Faith Network for the UK

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