Press Release - Inter Faith Week 2020 begins this Sunday, 8 November
Inter Faith Week begins this Sunday, 8 November
2 November 2020
Co-Chairs of the Inter Faith Network for the UK, which leads on the Week, the Rt Revd Jonathan Clark and Narendra Waghela said:
“Inter Faith Week is a time when the spotlight is on the tremendous contribution that faith communities make to society and on work for inter faith understanding and cooperation in the UK. Work to build connections between people of different faiths and beliefs is enormously important, and at this time of COVID-19 finding new ways to make connections is vital.
We are delighted that hundreds of organisations will again be taking part: from faith communities and inter faith initiatives, to schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, hospices, national and local government, housing organisations, workplaces, the police and other emergency services, chaplaincies, museums and libraries, and many others.”
The Week is open to those of all faiths and beliefs (including non-religious).
The Week is timed, as usual, to begin on Remembrance Sunday, encouraging remembering together of the service of soldiers and civilians of many backgrounds.
This year, in the context of COVID-19, the majority of activities will be online and their organisers are taking advantage of this to broaden involvement yet further. There are also some socially distanced activities planned, in keeping with local and national restrictions, such as tree and bulb plantings, as well as many activities taking place in schools, hospitals and other settings that remain open.
Activities for the Week will include panel discussions on topics such as climate change, dementia, domestic violence, online exhibitions, quizzes, conferences and training sessions, opportunities to observe live-streamed religious services and meditation, and musical and other cultural events. The Inter Faith Network for the UK will be holding an online roundtable about youth inter faith engagement. It has also been encouraging people to take part in an ‘Inter Faith Week Buddies’ scheme where two people of different faiths or beliefs are paired up to engage in dialogue via phone, Zoom or WhatsApp.
Faith community responses to COVID-19 are the focus of a number of discussions, such as: a number of high profile celebrations of local faith community responses, involving Near Neighbours and organisations such as Wellsprings Together in London (with the Mayor’s office), West Yorkshire and a number of other areas; a faith leader discussion on ‘faith in lockdown’, led by NHS Digital; a youth debate on 'Keeping the faith in a pandemic' led by Islington Faiths Forum; an online gathering on 'faith in a pandemic' led by Cheltenham Inter Faith, the University of Gloucestershire and Cheltenham Borough Council; and a Solihull Faiths Forum and Marie Curie Hospice, West Midlands event on ‘Find peace during the pandemic’.
A special van advertising Inter Faith Week 2019, organised by NHS Digital in Leeds
IFN Trustee, Mohinder Singh Chana, sharing a message about the Week
- Enquiries about the Week: IFN office: 07561 029 892 or Ashley Beck firstname.lastname@example.org at 020 8133 7021 outside office hours.
- Inter Faith Week’s aims are to: Strengthen good inter faith relations at all levels; Increase awareness of the different and distinct faith communities in the UK, in particular celebrating and building on the contribution which their members make to their neighbourhoods and to wider society; and Increase understanding between people of religious and non-religious beliefs
- More information at: www.interfaithweek.org. Interviews available.
- Social media: Hashtag is #Interfaithweek accounts are:
- Inter Faith Week is a programme of the Inter Faith Network for the UK (IFN), a charity which has been working since 1987 to promote inter faith understanding and cooperation in the UK. The work of IFN is funded by faith communities, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Trusts and other donors.
- IFN works in consultation with the Northern Ireland Inter-Faith Forum and the Inter-faith Council for Wales/ Cyngor Rhyngffydd Cymru in relation to the Week in those nations.
- A range of Inter Faith Week activities in England are being supported through the Near Neighbours programme of the Church Urban Fund, including through its Government supported small grants scheme. www.nearneighbours.org.uk
- Inter Faith Week was established in England and Wales in 2009, and in Northern Ireland in 2010.
- Scottish Interfaith Week has taken place since 2004, led by by Interfaith Scotland. (www.interfaithscotland.org). It has its own dedicated website at www.scottishinterfaithweek.org. The dates of the Week are the same as for those of Inter Faith Week. Its theme this year is ‘Connecting’.
- The final Sunday of Inter Faith Week is also Mitzvah Day, a Jewish-led day of social action involving people of all faiths and none working together in their local communities (https://mitzvahday.org.uk/). Each year, many ‘Inter Faith Mitzvah Day’ activities take place to jointly mark Inter Faith Week and Mitzvah Day.