Past Events and Activities

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To give a flavour of issues with which our organisation is concerned and interested in, please see below Cheltenham Inter Faith’s recent event list.  Please check to see our upcoming events list which includes talks, visits and discussion evening.

January 14th  2016

“Mysticism”

Marianne Rankin, the Director of Communications for the Alistair Hardy Trust, a body that collects and analyses world wide spiritual experiences, spoke from an extensive knowledge of more than 10,000 reported cases.

February 4th  2016

“Integrity and Integration

Richard McKay, Roman Catholic Parish Priest of the multi-ethnic St Paul’s district of Bristol, spoke on this subject.  With 65 different language groups using his church and his parish hosting an important Refugee and Asylum Seeker Centre, Father Richard spoke from first hand experience of the challenges faced by refugees of different faiths and the need for greater understanding by government and local authorities.

 March 10th  2016

We enjoyed a  talk from Dr Harriett Crabtree, Director of the Interfaith Network of the UK, to which CIF is affiliated.  The topic for the evening was “Interfaith Relations in the UK today”.

Dr Crabtree studied, lived and worked at the Centre for the Study of World Religions  at Harvard Divinity School for many years.

 April 11th  2016 Professor Trevor Cooling spoke on “The Role of Religious Education in community cohesion”.  Professor Cooling is Chair of the Religious Education Council of England and Wales and Professor of Religious Education at Christ Church University, Canterbury.
 May 3rd  2016   We enjoyed a Severn Forum Lecture from Chris Hewer.

“Christianity and Islam: Similar Problems, Different Solutions?” – How we handle texts and what are the limits of compromise? Chris Hewer was formerly Advisor on Interfaith Relations to the Bishop of Birmingham and is a Fellow of St Ethelburga Centre of Reconciliation, London.  He works full time in Christian-Muslim relations, has published many popular books and is very well known internationally.

 May 25th 2016  “Islamic Art” A fully illustrated talk was given by Barbara Curry in Winchcombe Methodist Church Hall.

This was an interesting view of the work of artists, glaziers, potters and calligraphers from every part of the Arab world from medieval times and with reference to the teaching of the Quran’an.

 June 2nd 2016

Oxford InterFaith Friendship Walk.

The group joined the walk  and departed from the Jewish Centre in Richmond Road and arrived at the Central Mosque for a meal provided by the Mosque and the Jewish Community. Stopping for prayers, scripture readings and reflections at many points through the City with contributions from all the world’s main religions.

 June 6th 2016  “Refugees and Asylum Seekers – meeting their religious needs” 

At the Cheltenham Friends Meeting House. Adele Owen, Director of Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers spoke on this urgent issue.

June 2016 Youth interfaith Iftar (evening meal to break the Muslim fast)

This was held in Lambeth palace shortly after the referendum on Brexit.  It was well attended and both the Archbishop of Canterbury and Sadiq Khan were present

 October 6th 2016  “Scriptural Reasoning among people of different faiths”  Dr Georgina Jardim  led us in an exercise of scriptural reasoning from the Bible and the Qur’an.  This is an emerging practice of people from different faiths, reading their scriptures together.  Interfaith dialogue is broadened by this practice – engagement of people from different faith backgrounds.
 November 13th- 20th  The major event for the 2016 Interfaith Week was the ‘Welcoming of the Outsider’.  It was an interfaith response to the current Refugee Crisis.  We were delighted at the high university student response.  The event was jointly arranged by CIF, the University and Cheltenham Borough Council.  ‘Scriptural Reasoning’ formed part of the evening led by Dr Georgina Jardim when we looked at teachings about welcoming the stranger to the Koran and Bible.

A Syrian couple spoke of their welcome locally after the flight from Syria.  We watched a film made by students about the work of GARAS (Gloucestershire Association for Refugees and Asylum Seekers) and another about celebrities whose families had found welcome refuge in our country in the past.

There was plenty of time for group discussion and interacting with local people of all faiths.  It was an excellent evening that contributed greatly to local interfaith understanding and was well covered by BBC Radio Gloucester.

 

 

January 26th  2017

“The Holocaust remembered

The suffering of so many was remembered with a service in the Council Chamber, Municipal Offices of Cheltenham Borough Council.After the act of remembrance there was time to view an exhibition around the theme and refreshments were served.

February 4th  2016

“Srebrinicia Remembered

A talk on Religious Reconciliation in the former Yugoslavia was given by

Anousheh Hagdadi – the Secretary of ‘Srebrinica Remembered’.

We listened and learned from what had been achieved by those seeking peace and reconciliation following the war so close to our own country.

 23rd March 2017  Janet Trotter is a Dame of the British Empire (DBE) and Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire.  An academic and an administrator in higher education, she  spoke on “Interfaith relations in the county and future prospects” The talk was preceded by the AGM chaired by Father Peter Slocombe