Blog from IFN intern, Zac Lloyd
As the current Intern at the Inter Faith Network, I have been very lucky to visit a number of amazing places, and to meet some incredible people during this year’s Inter Faith Week.
After attending the APPG on Inter Faith Relations in the House of Lords on Tuesday evening, to hear about the valuable work of local inter faith groups across the country, Inter Faith Week took me to Leicester, one of the UK’s most religiously diverse cities. In Leicester, I attended a conference jointly held by Trade Sexual Health and the St. Philips Centre on a pioneering project to strengthen relations between the LGBT community and faith groups in the city. I was then privileged to visit the Jain Centre, a fascinating building, and learnt something of the Jain presence in Leicester and its essential beliefs and practices. In the evening, I travelled to the St. Philips centre for a discussion on leadership in faith communities, led by the British Army and attended by faith and community leaders from across the city.
Thursday took me to Bristol for the Bristol Multi Faith Forum’s ‘Faith Walks’, one of many faith walks being held across the country this week. In total we visited six places of worship during the day, and heard from representatives of the Hindu, Baha’i, Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Sikh faiths. We were given a warm welcome by all, and at each learned something of the contribution they make to the communities they serve.
Lastly, Inter Faith Week will take me to the Interfaith Friends Dinner at Noor ul Islam in Leytonstone, East London, where there will be another opportunity for dialogue, to share food and hear something of one another’s cultures, values and beliefs.
These events have given me a taste of the breadth of events that Inter Faith Week offers, and have given me a more comprehensive understanding of the diversity of the UK’s faith communities, and the richness and vitality that they bring to their communities. Inter Faith Week is a valuable way to engage with people that you might not have before, and helps us all to build a more understanding and cooperative society. Inter Faith Week really has shown me why strengthening inter faith relations is so important, as this assists in the creation of vibrant, generous and outward-facing communities that benefit everyone.