The word unity has a number of definitions:
The state or quality of being one; singleness.
The state or quality of being in accord; harmony.
The combination or arrangement of parts into a whole; unification.
A combination or union thus formed.
Singleness or constancy of purpose or action; continuity: In an army you need unity of purpose (Emmeline Pankhurst womens rights freedom fighter).
Its also a term that came to mind when I recently found out about the wonderful activities of the Interfaith organisation. The Inter Faith Network for the UK works to build good relations between the communities of all the major faiths in Britain: Baha’i; Buddhist; Christian; Hindu; Jain; Jewish; Muslim; Sikh; and Zoroastrian.
The Network links over 100 member bodies. These include representative bodies from the major faith communities; national inter faith organisations; local inter faith groups; academic institutions and bodies concerned with multi faith education. Its Trustees include men and women from all the member faiths it links.
Recently, theyve issued a booklet called CONNECT. Different Faiths Shared Values. It was published in association with Timebank and the National Youth Agency.
Reading through the booklet one gets a sense of hope from all the case studies and direct quotes from those that have been involved with each project. The booklet acts as both a guide for making connections and friendships across the different communities we have representative in the UK and ideas for respecting each other. I was especially impressed by how unity became the outcome of the time people spent together. By appreciating each others customs, views and religious beliefs, Im confident that a deeper sense of understanding and mutual respect can emerge.
One of the myths the guide disputes right at the beginning of the booklet is: Religion divides people. All religions really hate each other! NB We all know its the minority extremists that can spoil it for the majority. However, it offers a great suggestion the fact that if we (from different backgrounds) get together to help each other, contribute to charity and aid the improvement of the environment, we can find a common cause to unify around.
I hope that the world politicians or those that are in positions of influence and power can take onboard some of these ideas Maybe we have the answers just staring at us, but were too busy to notice !
Physical copies of CONNECT can be ordered. You can download a copy from:
The booklet also provides a list of useful links to start your own interfaith projects and learn more about those around you.
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