Skye & Lochalsh Faiths Together


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Faiths Together held a wonderful event around the theme of Oneness, at St Columba's church in Portree on the island of Skye, on 30th November, as part of Scottish Interfaith Week.

Participants first toured the walls to read quotations from many religious traditions, organised on posters into nine basic themes: The Golden Rule, There are many paths to God, There is One God, Heaven is within, The peace that passes understanding, God is found in the heart, Living in Unity, God is Love, and Better to examine the self. Participants then sat round a central candle placed on a rainbow design, ringed by unlit votive candles, designed by Ruth Goodheir. Gerry Layton narrated her personal experience of the oneness of humanity from places she has lived, and Jim Towers spoke about the common essence of religions.

Those present were invited to say which of the many wall quotations spoke to them most and why, and light a candle. This main part of the event unfolded as a surprisingly rich and variegated discussion, with such refreshingly coherent presentness by all involved that the discussion truly took on a rare and sacred character informed by the wisdom and perspective of those present. At the end, Sonja Eckl-Riel led a Metta (loving kindness) Meditation, wishing safety, peace, happiness, and health, firstly to oneself, secondly to a good friend, thirdly to a "neutral" person, fourthly to a difficult person, and lastly to the wider community.

Reflections for Peace

Sixteen people attended this event at St. Columbas Church, Portree, which began with a meditation. Each person was given the leaflet ‘Seven Practices for Peace’ taken from the book Peace is the Way, by Deepak Chopra. Together the group reflected on four of the practices – Speaking for Peace, Acting for Peace, Creating for Peace and Sharing for Peace.


After the first three the group wrote their thoughts on paper leaves and hung them on a tree. Refreshments were served before the group considered the last practice and this provided an opportunity for those gathered to chat and get better acquainted. After looking at ‘Sharing for Peace’ each person was given a paper foot on which to write a first step towards Peace after the event. The group was then encouraged to take their foot home as a reminder to continue working towards Peace. The event finished with a few minutes of silence in the manner of the Quakers. 

Vigil for the Planet
The day dawned dry but cloudy. By 11am the sun was shining brightly as the group assembled in Somerled Square.On the way up from Broadford, Pat had observed how the colour had come back into the landscape after days of half light in the rain and wind. Pat sung a suitable Baha'i prayer at the start the vigil. A robin accompanied her from a nearby tree.

As we stood in the cold air gazing at the hills around Portree, passages were read from the following spiritual sources: Hindu, Christian, Jewish, Native American, Quakerism, Buddhism, Baha'i, Taoism, Sikhism and Islam. Buses came and went, spewing out exhaust fumes and engine noise. At times they threatened to drown the readers but the texts rose above the noise. Although the passages reflected different perspectives they all seemed to carry a similar message: The earth is God's and is sacred. It is precious as it nurtures and sustains us. When we abuse it we forfeit something of our soul.
We finished the Vigil by saying this Celtic Prayer together:

            Deep peace of the running waves to you
            Deep peace of the flowing air to you
            Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
            Deep peace of the shining stars to you
            Deep peace of the son of peace to you

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