Congratulations

Interfaith Glasgow was delighted to be asked to speak at the formal opening of the new University of Strathclyde Chaplaincy Centre.  This is a wonderful new opportunity that is open to all students and staff regardless of faith background to use a social, reflection and dialogue area.  We especially like the sacred space area and look forward to watching the centre develop and it is used buy students from all backgrounds.  In particular congratulations to the University of Strathclyde Chaplain Rev David T Young for his hard work to make today happen. Check out their webpage here University of Strathclyde Chaplaincy Centre 

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A Great Start…..

On Monday night I shared on this blog my thoughts about the interfaith week event between faith community representatives and Deaf Connections in Glasgow.  This was a first of a kind event for all event and I was really unsure of what to expect but I was certainly very eager to see what routes the discussion would take.

Attended by 13 people from Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Hindu backgrounds, Deaf, Hearing and Hard of Hearing but all wiling to have a dialogue about what it is actually like to be Deaf or Hard of Hearing and the barriers that do exist in becoming a fully engaged part of your faith community and also the examples of good things that have been done to include people in their faith.  While I was preparing my opening welcome for this event I thought I would do a wee internet search and find out what exists for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people who belong to a faith online.  The search results were mixed and while there were some very good examples of how the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities have been included in their wider faith communities and also how some have also created their own faith circles which reflect a common experience there were also glaring omissions for some faiths.  With this in mind it became very clear early on in our discussion that regardless of faith that the barriers experienced by those present were the same. The isolation felt when participating in a life event at a place of worship, the frustration felt at not being able to be fully engaged in your faith because everything is taught in spoken and written forms.  From the hearing representatives of faith communities there were questions but also practical suggestions about how the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities can work together to raise awareness to their faith communities of what they need and also what support is available.  Tuesday morning was the beginning of a journey and Interfaith Glasgow came away from the event thinking what was the interfaith aspect of this event and realised that assembled in that room where people in that room from a variety of faith backgrounds but sharing an experience that was common but also talking about solutions and also a positive way forward and there it was an interfaith dialogue which was based on a shared experience and one that will hopefully develop through a shared journey towards lasting change.

Thank you to everyone at Deaf Connections, Ishara and the Asian Deaf Club and the representatives of faith communities who took the time to attend this engaging event.  A final thanks goes to Mark’s Deli for the lovely lunch

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Interfaith through shared experience

A big focus of interfaith is dialogue and a common misconception is that interfaith dialogue is only about the discussion of faith which does play a role but there are also other opportunties through dialogue that bring people of faith and belief together. This can include concern for a common issue, relationship building and also a shared experience that comes from being a person of faith or belief.  Tomorrow Interfaith Glasgow in partnership with the Ishara Project at Deaf Connections in Glasgow will be holding a sharing and discussion session (followed by lunch, of course) where people from the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community will share with hearing people from a variety of faith backgrounds the barriers that people who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing face when they want to practice and evolve their faith and also examples of good practice where people have been able to become more involved i their faith because their needs have been recognised.  I am thinking about tomorrow and wondering what will people share, will it be bad or will it be good and as always I ask myself now, the night before, is this truly interfaith because this event will be looking at different faiths and how they respond to the needs of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities.  The answer I arrive that is yes it is in fact very interfaith not only from the presence of those involved but from the shared experience of having faith but finding barriers to practicing it and this is something that can be shared across the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community and I hope tomorrow that a frank and fruitful discussion takes us forward onto a future dialogue. 

Womens Interfaith Coffee Morning

Interfaith Glasgow is absolutely full of enthusiasm (and cake) after our first interfaith coffee morning today in aid of Macmillian Cancer Care.  At Pollokshaws Burgh Hall in the south-side of Glasgow we hosted over 30 women from a variety of faith including Christian, Muslim, Sikh and Hindu and non-faith backgrounds to come together to support Macmillan.  This event was an opportunity for old friends to connect and also for women who had never been at an interfaith event to talk to one another and find out a bit more about each other.  There was some really wonderful cakes and snacks on offer and the kind women from Al-Meezan brought along gift which were sold in aid of Macmillan and all in we raised £215.65, what a great result!

This event was such a good example of how interfaith can actually work as cancer does not recognise faith, religion or belief but by working together we can all help those who are suffering and need to use the vital services that an organisation like Macmillan provide 

The feedback from this event has been really positive and we hope that from this event Interfaith Glasgow will be able to support women from across Glasgow who want to be involved in interfaith friendship building, cooperation and dialogue but on their terms and they told us what they wanted and we hope to start working on this very soon.  This event would not have been possible without the donation received from those who attended including the donation of Kosher Baked Goods from Mark’s Deli in Giffnock, the Gift Stall from Al-Meezan and the wonderful range of cakes and snacks provided by everyone including the Lanarkshire Muslim Women’s Alliance and Ibrahimic Roots Group s well as the individuals who brought something along.  Thanks also to Sophena Ali of Revivial for her hand massage stall (https://www.facebook.com/RevivalGlasgow/timeline?filter=3) , Shamalia Sattar from her Henna painting and Nikki Pardsani for her Jewellery workshop (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Niks-Creative-station/282231388471068).  Thanks also to Susan Selkirk and Naira Dar from Macmillan and sharing their wonderful work including the new Glasgow library service http://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/libraries/macmillan-at-glasgow-libraries/Pages/default.aspx

Thanks to everyone who attended and we look forward to seeing everyone again soon 

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The Imam and the Pastor

Interfaith Glasgow’s first event of Interfaith Week was the showing of the Imam and the Pastor at the African Caribbean Centre Glasgow.  This film tells the story of two men (one Muslim and one Christian) living in Northern Nigeria and how their own experience of inter-religious conflict has brought them together to counsel others away from religious violence.  This event was attended by 15 people and provoked some thought provoking discussion at the end including where does a message ‘like this’ go from one country to another and also a request ti show the film to the Gambian community in Scotland.  The African Caribbean Centre was really welcoming and a big thank you to Chief, Graham, Harriette and Anne for all of their help 

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Romanian Orthodox

The first day of interfaith week for Interfaith Glasgow was busy one.  Started off by attending the interfaith service at Wallneuk North Parish Church in Paisley where the Director of Interfaith Scotland, Dr Maureen Sier, delivered a presentation on interfaith work to the congregation and guests from other faiths who form the new Renfrewshire Interfaith Association which Interfaith Glasgow’s wishes well in its work.  After this event I attended an information event for the Romanian community in Glasgow at the Romanian Orthodox Congregation premises in Old Shettleeston Church.  It was really wonderful to experience the church and take in the decotr and icons and also the food which was served.  As an Orthodox Congregation the congregants where observing the nativity fast which is observed from the 15th of November through to the 24th of December.  As part of this fast the consumption of red meat, eggs, dairy products and poultry is forbidden and the consumption of fish and oil is limited to certain days of the week.  The food reflected this and included pastes made from deans, bread and stuffed cabbage leaves which were all delicious.  To read a bit more about the nativity fast please visit http://www.antiochian.org/NativityFast

Busy Day

Well it looks like a busy day to kick off Scottish Interfaith Week.  Interfaith Glasgow will be running about this morning and has already made a batch of cakes for tomorrows Macmillan Interfaith Coffee Morning.  Heading of to Wallneuk Parish Church in Paisley now to listen to an Interfaith Service being led by Dr Maureen Sier then off to an information event at the Romanian Orthodox Church in Glasgow to engage with members of the Orthodox community and then off to showcase “The Imam and the Pastor” at the African Caribbean Centre in Glasgow.  Will share all later on tonight 🙂