Quick plan activities
This page has been developed specifically for people who have decided they’d like to mark Inter Faith Week, but don’t have a lot of time to plan an activity.
The ideas on this page are all designed to be run with very little planning time, and to last for about an hour so that they can be fit into a lunch break if necessary. They can, of course, be adapted and expanded if you like, and links to more detailed ideas are also included.
In our daily life, we will all encounter people of other backgrounds. They might be family members, friends, work colleagues, neighbours or parents of our children’s friends. Given that time is tight, we suggest you start with someone you know for these activities, at least a little.
- Coffee Convos - Get together for a chat over coffee!
- Let's Watch - watch a movie together, and discuss its themes
- Let's Quiz - get people together to test their knowledge!
- Let's Walk - coming together to walk in a local park
- Let's Plant - getting together to plant trees and bulbs
- Let's Talk - quick dialogue/ conversation activity
- Let's Play - quick sport or exercise activity
- Let's Bake - share a special Inter Faith Week cake (or cakes!)
Get together with a friend or two of a different faith and belief, and have a chat over coffee. You could also tweet about it using #IFWCoffeeConvos.
Inter Faith Week is a great time to get together with people of other faiths and beliefs, enjoy a movie, and discuss the themes afterwards. This could be a film which has a particularly overt inter faith theme, but it doesn’t have to be – often the themes explored by films and TV shows touch aspects of the human experience which can provide a helpful starting point for discussion and learning.
- Find a venue with a large TV screen or projector
- Book a time
- Choose your film (or TV show)
- Bring people together
- Watch, talk and enjoy!
- (Popcorn is optional)
A great way to get people talking and make new friends is to bring them together for a quiz.
- Choose a venue and time for your quiz
- Invite people from different backgrounds
- Decide whether there will be prizes for the winners
- Compile a list of questions – including some about religions and beliefs since it is Inter Faith Week!
- Assign people to teams on the evening by pulling names out of a draw
- Have fun!
Ideas for faith/ belief rounds:
- A picture round featuring religious symbols, famous people from different traditions, photos of local places of worship, or foods associated with different faiths
- A round on a theme such as ‘people of belief’, ‘celebrations and festivals’, ‘name that holy book’ or ‘famous places of pilgrimage’
An easy way to gather together for Inter Faith Week is to organise a walk, in a park, nature reserve or area of interest nearby. This costs nothing to do, takes little advanced organisation, and is a great way to enjoy the company of others and the great outdoors.
- Gather friends from different faiths and beliefs.
- Arrange a time during the Week and a place to meet.
- Prepare yourself for any kind of weather, wear stout, comfortable shoes.
- Meet, walk, talk and enjoy!
People naturally talk when taking part in simple activities like this, and they are a great way to build and strengthen relationships in a less formal setting.
November is the perfect time to be planting trees and spring bulbs. Getting together to plant things - and maybe tidy up green spaces at the same time - is also a wonderful way to bring people together and leave a lasting symbol of inter faith cooperation. It can also be an activity which different generations can enjoy together, an opportunity to spend some quality time with your friends and neighbours of all faiths and none, while also taking a positive action in greening your local environment.
- Gather friends from different faiths and beliefs
- Choose a time during the Week (where there will be enough daylight!)
- Choose which bulbs or saplings to plant and a suitable place
- Gather together and enjoy your day of planting!
- (End with a warm drink indoors!)
The following points are included with thanks to John Marder of the Network of Buddhist Organisations, who shared them at the Inter Faith Network's National Meeting.
A few words specifically about planting trees
Due to their size and longevity, trees are the most effective plants of all in capturing and storing carbon. And because tree planting projects are often seen as ‘one-off ‘events, they are often the most popular type of of greenspace climate action. But just a few important things to point out.
- You can’t just plant them and leave them - they need all sorts of looking after while they get established; probably 2-3 years.
- Best not to plant in summer – they need lots of watering then which isn’t good ‘climate practice’. If looking for a summer activity, raise funds for tree planting and plan an event for the autumn.
- Smaller trees often make more sense, e.g. if you’re planting oaks, buy small ones. They’re much cheaper and will grow quickly with far less resource demands than larger plants. If you’re just planting one big specimen somewhere, then that’s different.
- Get expert advice on what species to choose in your situation. Trees need to be there for a long time so they must be right.
And this link might be useful: https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/how-to-plant-a-tree
Important practical choices that we can make to increase the environmental benefits of the activity
Choosing the right project is essential of course to get the land and resources you need, and the support from the community. But having chosen your project here are some practical ways you can make it as climate friendly as possible.
- Choose construction materials wisely. Check out their carbon footprint as best you can. Choose recycled materials and those that can be recycled after use. Choose local materials and avoid concrete.
- And plants too. Use hardy plants suited to the conditions you have. Field grown plants might be best. Try to avoid plants grown in heated greenhouses, peat-based composts and non-recyclable containers.
- Save mains water. Watering doesn’t only use water but energy too. So be water-wise. Harvest rainwater. Plant in autumn/early spring.
- Mulch when soil is wet and try to avoid container-growing.
- Recycle green waste. Send to local recycling or, better still, compost on site. Yes it does produce Co2 but so does breathing. Good aerobic garden composting is climate friendly.
- Maintain soil organic matter. Apply mulches, sow green manures and use no-dig methods for crop production. Avoid fertilisers, especially synthetic ones.
- Use natural energy. This means hand tools for everything. Battery powered machines may be possible as may renewable technologies for lighting etc. But avoid petrol power.
The idea here is simple - get together with a small group of people of different faith and belief backgrounds, and have a conversation. You could do this over a cup of tea (or whatever you like to drink), but the main thing is to ensure everyone is comfortable. Some possible topics for conversation are included above.
If you would like more information about planning a dialogue activity, check out the Inter Faith Network for the UK's free publication Let's Talk: Practical pointers for inter faith dialogue.
If you do take part, we would love it if you told us! Why not download a message card and post a selfie of you and your friends holding it using the #InterFaithWeek hashtag?
Sport, physical activity and exercise are great ways to bring people together! The idea here is to get together with a small group of people of different faith and belief backgrounds, and play together. You can do this in a very informal way, using 'jumpers for goalposts' in a local park or hall, or you could try to arrange a more structured activity or add a competition dimension. The key, though, is to have fun doing it!
If you would like more information about planning an inter faith activity around sport or physical activity, check out the Inter Faith Network for the UK's web page here. It includes some activity ideas for different types of group (which can be adapted for other types of group, too). It also includes information about an event IFN held in partnership with Sporting Equals during last year's Inter Faith Week, and a link to download the report on that event.
If you do take part, we would love it if you told us! Why not take a selfie of your group or team and share it on social media using the #InterFaithWeek hashtag? Click here for information about our social media channels and downloadable 'message cards'.
Why not get together with some friends or workmates of different faith and belief backgrounds, and plan a day during Inter Faith Week where you will share an Inter Faith Week cake (or cakes!) together?
NB: Not everyone can eat everything - whether it is a faith-based dietary requirement, a decision based on beliefs or an allergy, it is important to ask people about their dietary needs. If you can't find a cake that will suit everyone, why not ask people to bring along a kind of cake they are able to eat? The Inter Faith Network for the UK has also produced a handy briefing note on Catering and faith-based dietary practice.
If you do take part, why not take a photo of your cake(s) and share them with us using the #InterFaithWeek hashtag?
Published 8 August 2022