National Interfaith Week Sunday 16 – Saturday 22 November 2014, and this will be its sixth year.
The week seeks a number of objectives, but most significantly, to strengthen good relations at all levels between faiths, increase awareness of the different and distinct communities, celebrate and build on the contribution to both communities and society, and also improve understanding between people of religious and non-religious beliefs.
Hundreds of organisations will be holding events to mark the Week, such as ‘Faith trails’ and ‘open door days’ to explore different places of worship, dialogues such as ‘A Rabbi and a Priest re-read the story of Eve’ and discussion about ”What role has your cultural inheritance had on your faith/spiritual practice?”.
There are Interfaith arts, cultural and music events, themed assemblies and lessons, social action projects, museum and library events, talks and conferences, and much more.
Prime Minister David Cameron stressed that Interfaith week is now a ‘well regarded fixture in the faith calendar’ and that ‘plays an important role in bringing together people’, whilst encouraging participation. He concludes, saying that there is no better way of “celebrating the richness and diversity of faith in our country.”
The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg echoed this sentiment, calling the Week a ‘brilliant opportunity for people of different backgrounds to make new connections, find out more about each other and celebrate together’. Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles emphasised the particularly poignant role of Interfaith social action to bring communities closer together,”
This year the Week has a special focus on youth and intergenerational involvement in developing interfaith understanding and cooperation.
Co-Chairs of the Interfaith Network for the UK, the Rt Revd Richard Atkinson and Vivian Wineman, with Vice-Chair Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala, will be joined by interfaith colleagues and younger interfaith activists.
The Co-Chairs stressed the value of Interfaith in helping understanding and cooperation, and emphasised that it has been growing over the course of the last year. They outlined that it is a time when “people in communities around the country highlight the significance of faith and the contribution that faith communities make to society”.