Aberdeen Inter Faith Group

You can contact the Aberdeen Inter Faith Group by emailing Patricia Findlay: p.a.findlay@btopenworld.com


You can also contact the Chair of the group, Caroline Cormack: cormacksofcults@hotmail.co.uk

Aberdeen News

Aberdeen’s busy spring programme began in March with a talk about Judaism given by Ehud Reiter, a professor at Aberdeen University.  He shared some of his extensive knowledge about Judaism, as well as outlining the experience of the small orthodox community in Aberdeen and some of the festivals celebrated. Later in the month, a member of the Aberdeen Inter Faith Group steering committee, Stuart Hannabuss, represented Humanism at an interfaith event held at Portlethen Academy, a High School in Aberdeen.  The pupils presented about the faiths they had been researching, and had invited some members of these faiths to come and talk to them that day.

In April, the Grampian Regional Equality Council invited Aberdeen Inter Faith Group to their office to find out more about their ‘Advancing Equality’ project. They shared their knowledge about the Equality Act and how they are putting this into practice. Those in attendance found it heartening to hear about the Equality Council’s engagement with schools to promote issues relating to equality, diversity and human rights.

In May, Reverend Stephen Taylor of St Nicholas Kirk held an interfaith service as part of the Councillors’ annual service in Aberdeen. Several faith representatives contributed at this well-attended and enjoyable service of thanksgiving. Near the end of May, Ven Sujan, a Buddhist monk who lives in Aberdeen, gave ‘An Introduction to Buddhism’ talk, which outlined the main traditions within Buddhism. There was also some very interesting discussion around how people can apply Buddhist insights in their lives.

Religious Education teacher there, Patricia Findlay, organized an evening for the group around the theme of ‘Lessons from Auschwitz’.  Some sixth formers from Albyn along with other schools in Aberdeen had been part of this project, which involved meeting a Holocaust survivor, visiting Auschwitz, and participating in an event for Holocaust Memorial day in January. The students spoke eloquently and movingly about their experiences, and explained that they had made contact with people from countries where genocide has taken place more recently. The students had put great effort into their learning and deservedly won an Anne Frank award. 

AIFG hosted an evening to watch and discuss the DVD ‘Beyond Tolerance’, which explores the world of Interfaith from different perspectives. The DVD stimulated much interesting discussion and was found to be positive and inspiring by all. AIFG also hosted an annual Multi-Faith Service on Sunday 25th November at the University Chaplaincy to acknowledge and celebrate the rich diversity and talent of the student body.

On Saturday 1st December, some 35 people participated in a ‘Human Library’ event at the Central Library in Aberdeen. The event involved members of different faiths speaking in group sessions about their experience of their faith – the faith representatives were the ‘books’ and the other attendees were the ‘readers’, who listened and then discussed their questions with the ‘book’. Many faith groups participated.

Human Libraries were first developed in Denmark in 2000, and present a great opportunity for facing and overcoming prejudices by creating a space in which people can tell their stories in a sympathetic setting. They can be utilised to tackle various issues or subject areas, including different racial backgrounds, cultures, lifestyles, or religious perspectives.

AIFG rounded off their autumn programme with an event entitled ‘Light and Faith’ at their December meeting. Audrey and Keith Mellard of the Baha’i faith lit the ‘seven candles of unity’ to encourage a quiet and reflective atmosphere where ideas regarding the importance of light in different faiths could be shared. The group ended with a short silence to enjoy the candlelight, ending a varied and interesting year with a beautiful and peaceful moment.

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