I was asked to join Jason Kenyon and his team for the VERY FIRST programme of “Faiths Together” On Wednesday 19th January.
(3-4pm Wednesday Wythenshawe FM 97.4fm)
I met up with the production team and another guest Rabbi Daniel Lieberman an Orthodox Rabbi from South Manchester Synagogue in Bowden (who happened to be the youngest Rabbi in England at the tender age of 21).
The theme was Can multi-faiths work together? and Why haven’t mutifaiths worked together in the past?
These were obviously VERY BIG questions and do need serious thought and reflection. So as you can imagine I was quite nervous and so was Daniel. We both prayed side by side in different languages and in different ways but for the same purpose.
As the questions were asked it became obvious that although both Daniel and I were from different religions different contexts and have different lives of faith we were more similar than we thought.
Both of us are moderates and have a understanding of God’s love for us, that we are all special in the sight of God and made in his image. I wonder what your response to the questions would be?
- Britain is a multi faith country, what problems does that bring?
- Why should Britain be a multifaith country?
- Does politics in religion make it hard if not impossible to work together?
- Do we need faiths to work together and what benefits will it bring?
- Are there parts of your religion that could cause conflict in working together?
- What would be the benefits of mutlifaiths working together and is there and reason for it?
- How can we bring about change?
- What work does your faith do within the community outside the hours of worship?
Rabbi Daniel and myself never disagreed on what needed to be done.
Strong need for education to stop ignorance and therefore fear brewing up – (if we know very little we do tend to be fearful and make unjustified sweeping statements that we tell ourselves to believe).
To meet face to face to understand our common humanity and start talking on a subject that we have in common, rather than the things that separate us.
To come from a place of confidence in our faith that we don’t feel threatened by those who practice other faiths.
Not to be afraid to express our own faith and for the community to do the same. Christmas decorations and nativity sets are a case in point :due to ultra political correctness so many council’s feel that they cannot help celebrate Christmas in an overtly Christian way. Not wanting to offend others of different faith. This however is not the case, people of faith will celebrate anything that will bring people closer to God.To see religion as part of everyday British life is important as the Rabbi said “Other faiths must realize that this country is a Christian country and we are guests here”.
The upshot is that the voices of the fundamental extremist are always the loudest and always the most newsworthy. As people of faith and human beings, the ugly hate filled voices of the fundamentalist have to be drowned out by the hopeful, loving accepting voices of the moderates.
Rabbi Daniel and myself enjoyed the opportunity to chat almost informally, and hopefully and with addressees and details swapped the Parish Church of William Temple may become a Christian Church with Strong friendly ties to other faiths; ties that The love of God and the love of humanity have made.
Your parish Priest and Vicar