Networking Seminar for Local Interfaith Groups
The annual national networking seminar for local interfaith groups took place on 15th August 2018. There were presentations from local groups about their activities of the past year including Edinburgh Women’s Interfaith Group, the Abrahamic Roots Group, Inverness Interfaith Group, Fife Interfaith Group, East Renfrewshire Faith Forum and Aberdeen Interfaith Group. The development officer Frances Hume shared about the survey that she had conducted with all the local interfaith groups in Scotland in 2017 and 2018 alongside international intern Simon Wiegand (see next article). She then led a dialogue with those present, asking members of the different interfaith groups to share examples of good practice, their hopes and dreams for the future of their group and any challenges they might have faced over the years.
Ashley Beck from the UK Interfaith Network presented their useful Local Inter Faith Guide at the meeting. Hard copies are available and it can also be downloaded from their website. In the afternoon, time was given to reflect upon the theme of Scottish Interfaith Week 2018, ‘Connecting Generations’. Presentations were given on the theme by very enthusiastic speakers from different faiths and organisations. Charandeep Singh (Scottish Chambers of Commerce Head of External Relations) from the Sikh faith, Brittany Ritell (UJIA youth worker) from the Jewish faith and Samina Ansari (CEO of Amina MWRC) from the Muslim faith shared their thoughts on including all generations within faith communities with a particular focus on ways to make young people feel welcome and included. Maureen O’Neill, director of the organisation ‘Faith in Older People’ shared about the needs of older people in faith communities. Hannah Lindsay, who was training to be an early years worker at Experiential Play shared about ways that she had put the course run by staff of Interfaith Scotland into practice, running interfaith activities with 3 – 4 year olds. Not an easy task!
After the speeches and a Q & A with the speakers, there was a further opportunity for dialogue in groups around the theme of ‘Connecting Generations’, looking at activities groups might want to plan around the theme during Scottish Interfaith Week. Finally, the director of Interfaith Scotland, Dr Maureen Sier, was celebrating a very special birthday and was surprised with a birthday cake and flowers.