Good to hear that the World Parliament of Religions started back in 1893!
This year it comes to Melbourne, Australia.
I personally attended the Interfaith Week launch for England on 12th November, the Scottish one is run separately.
It was inspiring to see so many children or should I say ‘young people’ talking about the importance of working, learning and respecting each other. I’ve often said that coming together for a common cause can produce unity as a positive side-effect.
Ironically, on the same day as the launch, on route I took a short cut to the conference venue, the Queen Elizabeth II centre. I walked through the gardens of Westminster Abbey. A large part of the lawns were decked in crosses and poppy’s for those who had fallen in past and present wars. We only have to hope that the work being done between faiths can help build a foundation to a better world.
Recently, I appeared on Good Morning Sunday (22nd November 2009), a wonderful inspirational show hosted by Aled Jones at BBC Radio 2.
I was asked to deliver a moment of reflection. I choose to talk about whether children were inspired by Interfaith activities.
Could Interfaith work reveal another approach? Here is an audio excerpt from the show if you missed it.
In addition, an earlier version of the transcript for the reflection segment at the end:
My moment of reflection this week is about considering whether Interfaith work can bring about greater understanding, especially for today’s youth.
Earlier this year I was appointed as chair for the Interfaith Youth Trust. The Inter Faith Youth Trust was formerly known as the Alma Royalton-Kisch Trust and is the only UK charitable trust solely set-up to fund inter faith projects for young people. Every quarter the trustees from many different religions and also humanists sit down together to review applications from youth groups. Events range from interfaith football tournaments to concerts and gathering together to explore differences in cuisine.
Interestingly, last year the trust organised a meeting at the House of Lords with different faith organisations to explore what works well for the youth. One of the conclusions was that interfaith work should be driven by the youth with a guiding hand from an organisation.
One example that stood out was organised by an Interfaith group in Scotland with an emphasis on eco-awareness. Kids camped out and explored environmental issues from their religion’s perspective. On return from the camp they produced a leaflet that described and drew common threads between religions about respecting our world.
The result was that they actually learnt more about their own religion and facilitated greater mutual understanding and personal friendship.