Here is some of the work we have been carrying out
Festivals Exchange Programme (2015-2016)
This pilot programme was funded by Glasgow City Council’s ‘Vibrancy’ fund. Its purpose was to celebrate the rich religious and cultural diversity of Glasgow’s South East and to foster friendship-building and improved interfaith understanding by providing opportunities for people from different faith and belief backgrounds to gain a better understanding and first hand experience of each other’s religious festivals. The programme brought about a greater understanding of the different religious communities that exist in the South East and greater appreciation of them; less apprehension surrounding religious difference; and increased confidence to engage with people from diverse faith and belief backgrounds.
Bandi Chhor Divas (Sikh Festival Event) 11 Sept 2016, Glasgow Gurdwara
“Everybody was so welcoming, from the welcomers, the ladies in the kitchen, the service goers, this in itself paints a wonderful picture of the Sikh community”
We worked with volunteers from each of these communities to open up a religious festival to witnesses from other faith and belief traditions, making sure that guests felt welcome and comfortable and had opportunities to ask questions about what they’d experienced. The three festivals chosen were: Bandi Chhor Divasa traditional Sikh festival in November; Christmas, the most well known of Christian festivals; and Mawlid an-nabi, a Muslim festival which took place in January.
Christmas (Christian Festival Event) 24th Dec 2015, Gorbals Parish Church
“Tonight made me want to make more connections (with other faith communities)”
“This was valuable because I was able to experience a Christmas service that I would otherwise have felt intimidated to attend without an invitation”
Mawlid al-Nabi (Muslim Festival Event) Zia ul Quran Mosque, 7th January 2016
“It was a great pleasure to be welcomed into the mosque, and to sit in the atmosphere of worship, and observe the pattern of the prayers – spoken and sung. I greatly enjoyed the chance to talk with people of Muslim faith, with a freedom to ask simple questions”
If you are interested in organising or taking part in a Festivals Exchange event with members of other faith or belief traditions, check out our hosting guidelines below
Sharing Stories with Glasgow Life, March 2016
I found everyone’s story to be engaging and illuminating, from the heart and very commendable. For me, this was Interfaith at its best.
In 2014, Interfaith Glasgow successfully delivered a project called ‘Talking Books’ with Police Scotland in 2014. In 2015, we contacted Glasgow Life to see if we could do something similar using volunteers to tell personal stories about their faith and belief traditions in order to promote understanding of different beliefs to a service provider.
We recruited 10 volunteers from various faith and belief traditions. The volunteers met for three preparatory workshops in order to get to know each other, learn more about each other’s faiths and to work on their stories. We used some traditional storytelling techniques to help the participants gain confidence.
On the 23rd of March we held a final storytelling circle session with some of the Glasgow Life staff. After each story there was an opportunity for some questions and some of the stories sparked some excellent dialogue; for example, the volunteer who chose the story of how she came to wear her hijab.
Community Meals with South east Integration Network
Summer Show and Tell Interfaith Picnic, Hidden Gardens, 9 Aug 2015
This event, hosted by the Hidden Gardens, saw 20 participants from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds from the South East of Glasgow come together to share food and dialogue. Fortunately, the rain held off and the picnic took place outside in the beautiful setting of the Gardens. Participants brought along objects relating to their spiritual outlook or ethical values, which they discussed with other participants in order to facilitate friendship-building and increase mutual understanding.
Scottish Interfaith Week Jointly-Hosted Interfaith Community Dinner, Pollokshields Parish Church, 30 Nov 2015
The meal was jointly hosted by the Christian community at Pollokshields Parish Church and the Muslim community at Madrasa Taleem ul Islam, and the food was cooked by these communities, requiring a significant degree of interfaith cooperation between these communities in planning for and delivering the event. As the theme of Interfaith Week 2015 was ‘Care for the Environment’ we decided to take as the dialogue topic the question of why care for the environment is important from different faith and belief perspectives. The tables were arranged around a tree art installation (created by South East based artist, Nafeesa Umar) and guests were invited throughout the evening to adorn the tree with statements about why (from their particular faith or belief perspective) guests believed we should care for the environment.
Sikh-hosted Interfaith Community Meal, Glasgow Gurdwara, 2 Feb 2016
“Really welcoming environment. I really enjoyed the atmosphere of inclusion. Great idea to ask us to sit with people we didn’t know. Enjoyed meeting regulars at the Gurdwara!”
This community meal was hosted by the Sikh community at Glasgow Gurdwara and included a tour of the Gurdwara and an explaination of the importance the Langar kitchen plays in the Sikh faith. There were 14 participants from different religion and belief backgrounds, including: Muslim (sunni and shia), Christian, Sikh, Humanist, and Non-Religious. These included a group from WSREC’s ‘Challenging Sectarianism Across Generations’ project, who were very appreciative of the opportunity.
Faith and Forgiveness
This project engaged 16 s5 pupils from Shawlands Academy in the lead up to Scottish Interfaith Week 2014, where four dialogue events were held reaching a total of over 150 people. The aim was to create stimulating contexts for young people and adults from diverse faith and belief backgrounds to engage in meaningful dialogue on an issue of mutual interest – in this case “forgiveness”. To this end Interfaith Glasgow brought a highly acclaimed exhibition “The F Word: Images of Forgiveness”, designed by The Forgiveness Project, to Shawlands Academy for the duration of Interfaith Week.
Working in partnership with Shawlands Academy Interfaith Glasgow’s Development Officer worked with a group of 16 S5 pupils, giving them a practical, participatory introduction to dialogue facilitation and to dialogue on the theme of forgiveness. These pupils assisted in the delivery of four events associated with the exhibition during Interfaith Week itself: three for school pupils and one evening dialogue event for the wider community.
Two of The Forgiveness Project’s speakers, who had contributed their stories to the exhibition, were invited to speak at two events each, so as to provide a personal connection with issues surrounding forgiveness. Feedback suggested that the topic of forgiveness, the exhibition and the speakers provided exactly the stimulus we hoped for – as one participant said it was “inspiring – Great for dialogue.” The pupils from Shawlands Academy who had been involved in the preparatory sessions felt they had gained a great deal from the project, including a rare opportunity to engage their peers in interfaith dialogue, training in dialogue and facilitation skills and the practical application of those skills.
You can read the full report with pictures here: Faith and Forgiveness 2014 Final Report
Scottish Interfaith Week 2014
For more information about our work during Scottish Interfaith Week 2014 click here
Faith & the Environment
With support from the Forestry Commission we delivered a project over summer 2014 called Faith & the Environment. The aim of this project was to engage faith & belief communities with the woodlands by running a series of pre-engagement exercises and having a “Woodland Discovery Day” on the 31st of August 2014. This project brought over 200 people from a variety of backgrounds together in an neutral venue to experience an urban woodland also to learn how some of faith and belief traditions link with the natural world.
Stepping into Diversity
We established a partnership with the West of Scotland Regional Equality Council to run an interfaith youth project called “Stepping into Diversity”. This project brought young people from Sikh, Muslim and Pagan backgrounds together to create a film called “We Belong to Glasgow” which explores what it is like to be a young person of faith in the city.
Getting to Know You (2014)
Interfaith Glasgow held two networking events in the late Spring this year – a chance for people to meet others who are interested in similar areas of interfaith engagement be that working with young people, interfaith dialogue on matters of belief and practice, friendship building and community events or working together on social action projects. Each event lasted 3 hours and although there was a chance to hear what Interfaith Glasgow have been up to over the last year, the majority of that time was spent networking. Folk got a chance to chat with people in their local area by pointing out the places they feel connected to on a big map of Glasgow before splitting up to attend “networking encounters” on the areas of interest they had selected. Just a few of the suggestions that came from these encounters were:
Young People: Awards and competitions are a good way of engaging and motivating young people.
Community events and activities: Common areas such as supporting mental health and appreciating the environment are good focal points for events.
Spirituality and religious dialogue: It is important to make people aware that interfaith dialogue is not about having to agree or believe the same thing.
Social Action: There is a need for better promotion and awareness of the numerous anti-poverty projects in the city in order to increase co-operation.
The feedback was generally great – people valued the opportunity to connect with others in a focussed way and appreciated being given the option of attending a morning or evening event. They also enjoyed the shared meal and the specially made, egg-free “Interfaith Glasgow” cake!
Talking Books (2014)
We brought together a group of 13 volunteers from Baha’i, Christian, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Hindu, Jewish, Islamic, Spiritual and Sikh backgrounds to become “Talking Books” and to share over 4 sessions experiences from their faith and belief traditions. The group took these stories to a training session with Police Scotland staff in Glasgow during March 2014 to enhance the understanding that Police Scotland had of the diversity that is right here in Glasgow.
Interfaith Week 2013
For more information on Interfaith Week 2013 click here
Networking Seminar (2013)
Held at St Mungo’s Museum, the seminar brought together more than 50 members of faith communities (from 9 different religious traditions) and people involved in interfaith and intercultural activity in Glasgow to discuss the findings of our recent research, to share ideas about the future of interfaith engagement in Glasgow, and to explore ways of working more effectively together. The majority of feedback has been very positive, including such comments as: “energising”, “inspiring”, “useful”, “a fresh start”.
Interfaith Week 2012
For more information on Interfaith Week 2012 click here