Click here for upcoming events in 2017.
The Director of Interfaith Scotland has been undertaking a series of interfaith engagements in New Zealand in March including meeting local interfaith groups in Whangarei, Christchurch, Auckland and Dunedin and engaging with representatives of the New Zealand Government in Wellington. A strong learning and collaborative relationship has been built with the Religious Diversity Trust of New Zealand and there was much to share and learn.
So far our Communications Officer has witnessed amazing work and learned about best practices from Nicehearts ry (organisers of multicultural activites for girls and women), Naapuriäidit / Neighbourhood Mothers (a project which aims to tackle the exclusion of women with different ethnic backgrounds), Seta (Finland's main LGBTQI+ rights organisation), Jani Toivola (Finland's first black MP and also openly gay), MonaLiiku(Multinational Women's Welfare and Sports Association), Tyttöjen Talo Helsinki (Helsinki's only girl's house), to name a few!
Interfaith Scotland held an interfaith dialogue for International Women's Day at the Queens Hotel in Dundee on Wednesday 7th May. The theme was 'Health and Wellbeing for Body and Soul in Scotland'.
Since the beginning of 2018 our international intern, Simon Wiegand from Germany, has visited local interfaith groups in Dundee, Inverness and Central Scotland and delivered interfaith workshops at Oban High School together with volunteers of different faith backgrounds. He is involved in organising a youth conference in St Andrews on 21st April. Simon is also part of a project of the Inter Faith Network for the UK which is developing materials that helps young people to get involved in interfaith activities.
Over 50 people attended the annual public lecture this year which was given by Reverend Dr. Kathy Galloway and focussed on ‘Faith in Gender Justice’. Rev. Galloway is a practical theologian, activist and writer. She was ordained as a minister of the Church of Scotland in 1977, and was Head of Christian Aid Scotland from 2009-March 2016. She was formerly Warden of Iona Abbey, and Leader of the Iona Community from 2002-2009, the first woman to be elected to the post. Kathy shared with us statistics and stories from around the world of the hardships and discrimination that many women, in fact too many women, face.
Kathy challenged the diverse faith communities present to support gender justice and live up to the positive messages within their traditions that support equality. After the presentation there was an opportunity for everyone present to dialogue on the topic. The AGM took place after the annual lecture. Larry Blance from the Buddhist community was thanked for his service as Chair of Interfaith Scotland for the last three years and Alan Kay from the Jewish Community was welcomed as the new Chair of the Board. Jeremy Fox, who represented the Baha’i Community on the Board, and Marlene Finlayson, who represented local interfaith groups, were also thanked for their services to the Board.
Hosting the National Holocaust Memorial for Scotland is always a great honour for Interfaith Scotland and The Power of Words was an important theme to frame the Memorial around. Prior to the event, Dr. Lev Atlas, a Russian musician from Rostov-on-Don, approached Interfaith Scotland to ask if the Memorial could focus on the historical massacre in his hometown. Over the course of a few days in August 1942, 27,000 people were massacred by the Nazis in Rostov-on-Don, the majority of whom were Jewish. Dr Atlas and his wife Julia felt it was an important story to be told. Rostov-on-Don is linked to Glasgow through a Glasgow City Council twinning project and the Lord Provost’s Office supported Interfaith Scotland in the decision to focus the Memorial on the massacre.
The main event took place on 24th January in Glasgow Caledonian University and was attended by the Lord Provost of Glasgow and the First Minister of Scotland. Both spoke of their commitment to remembering the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. The story of the massacre in Rostov-on-Don was told through the voices of Dr. Christina Winkler, a renowned historian on the massacre; through the personal account of Julia Atlas who lost five family members in Rostov; and through a specially commissioned video interview with the former Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Lau. The latter told the profoundly moving story of how he was kept alive and rescued by a young teenage boy from Rostov on Don, Feodor Mikhailichenko. Scotland was honoured to have the surviving daughter of Feodor present at the Memorial.
Scottish Interfaith Week took place from 12th-19th November. The theme was ‘Creativity and the Arts’. The National Launch took place on 13th November at Discovery Point, Dundee. Over 80 events took place across the country to mark the week. More information can be found at the Scottish Interfaith Week website: www.scottishinterfaithweek.org
The annual meeting with the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon and the religious leaders of Scotland took place on 7th November in Edinburgh. The meeting was facilitated by the director of Interfaith Scotland.
On 17th October Interfaith Scotland held a national dialogue on ‘Identity and Belonging’ in partnership with Faith in Older People, Stonewall Scotland and Edinburgh University Chaplaincy in Linlithgow.
Interfaith Scotland and the Church of Scotland brought a group of young adults from the Christian and Muslim faiths to one of PROCMURA’s regional offices in Rwanda for a week of cultural exchange, dialogue and learning from 30th August - 6th September. The International Youth Leader Programme is a partnership initiative between Church of Scotland, Al Waleed Centre (Edinburgh University), Interfaith Scotland and PROCMURA (Programme for Christian & Muslim Relations in Africa). The trip will be followed by events co-ordinated by participants at Scottish Interfaith Week and an Interfaith youth conference in April 2018.
The annual networking seminar for local interfaith groups took place at Interfaith Scotland's Dialogue Centre in Glasgow on 21st August. Talks were given by members of Dumfries and Galloway Interfaith Group, Borders Interfaith Group and Edinburgh Interfaith Association. Our director outlined possible responses to crisis situations to ensure the safety and security of our faith communities. Stephen Bullock from Education Scotland looked at the topic of 'Creativity' to open discussion on the Scottish Interfaith Week theme of 'Creativity and the Arts'. The new Scottish Interfaith Week website was also launched: www.scottishinterfaithweek.org
In July, Interfaith Scotland welcomed an international intern, Simon Wiegand, who will be supporting us in the office for one year as a part of his training to become a minister with the church in Germany. Simon will be visiting local interfaith groups across Scotland to find out about their activities and to offer support for their work. He will also be involved in our youth work activities, Scottish Interfaith Week, and more!
Simon can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Staff from Interfaith Scotland and the Church of Scotland delivered training for 10 young people from the Christian and Muslim faiths on 11th July. The young people who will be visiting interfaith projects in Rwanda in early September and supporting Interfaith Scotland's youth activities on their return.
Interfaith Scotland delivered Interfaith Dialogue Training in the Ukraine from 17th - 21st July as part of a peace building programme designed by ODIHR, the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.
Interfaith Scotland delivered an interfaith workshop at the National Youth Assembly of the Church of Scotland on 22nd July. The development officer outlined the Christian imperative for interfaith dialogue and the work of Interfaith Scotland. Volunteers from the Muslim, Sikh and Baha'i faiths gave presentations on their faith.
Members of the recently established Borders Interfaith Group organised an afternoon to visit the recently opened Borders Islamic Centre in Galashiels on 16th July. The centre has recently opened and there was so much enthusiasm to attend that a larger venue had to be found to accommodate everyone. A wonderful afternoon of sharing took place in the Langlee Centre in Galashiels between members of the group and members of the Islamic Centre, facilitated by Interfaith Scotland.
The development officer gave an interfaith reflection at the Sanctuary at Kilbryde Hospice on 20th July. The Sanctuary is a beautiful space for people of all faiths and none to come and receive inspiration and support through a difficult time in their lives or the lives of their friends and relatives.
Interfaith Scotland's development officer, Frances Hume, and our new international intern, Simon Wiegand, visited the West Lothian Faith Group on 25th July to find out more about their activities and ways in which Interfaith Scotland can support the group.
Interfaith Scotland, the Scottish Refugee Council, Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees and the Mental Health Foundation hosted an event in the Scottish Parliament on 21st June sponsored by Bill Kidd MSP and in celebration of Refugee Festival Scotland 2017. Participants heard about how the renowned artist Hannah Rose Thomas connected through her art with refugees in Jordan and Calais. There was an opportunity to view Hannah Rose's artwork alongside the artwork of refugees connected with the Mental Health Foundation’s Refugee Programme.
On 6th June the national interfaith organisations for Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England met in Northern Ireland to explore best practice in supporting interfaith dialogue at the national level in their respective areas.
On 24th May Interfaith Scotland hosted a round table discussion with academics, media experts, representatives of Police Scotland and members of the Muslim community to explore how we could collectively mitigate the negative impact of the media reporting of Islam. A report will follow and it is hoped that further dialogue and action will be taken, including the possibility of ‘guidelines’.
On 25th May Interfaith Scotland hosted 20 students and professors from Lehigh University in Philadelphia. The students were keen to learn about interfaith relations in Scotland and how they might promote interfaith dialogue in the US.
The development officer brought two volunteers from our 'Face to Faith' programme to four local primary schools in Fort William and the Ardnamurchan Peninsula from 16th - 18th May. Pupils responded well to the programme. The development officer also gave a presentation about interfaith dialogue at Newbattle Community High School in Dalkeith.
For more details about 'Face to Faith' click here.
The bi-annual religious leaders forum took place in the Berkeley Street Gurdwara in Glasgow on 9th May.
The development officer set up a meeting in the Scottish Borders for anyone who might have an interest in being part of a local interfaith group there. 12 people from a number of different faiths came along to the first meeting at Borders General Hospital Chaplaincy Centre in Melrose on 9th March. There was an interest shown by those gathered to reach out to different faith communities in their local area and hold interfaith events. The first event was a 'pot luck lunch' which took place on 7th May at the Chaplaincy Centre.
Interfaith Scotland hosted a dialogue on 27th April on the theme of ‘Spiritual Care for People Living with Dementia in Scotland’ at our dialogue centre in Glasgow. There was a presentation of findings from the spiritual care survey of people living with dementia in Scottish care homes given by Simon Jaquet, Director of SJCS followed by dialogue.
It has been a busy few weeks for our 'face to faith' schools programme. St Modan's High School in Stirling and Oban High School invited volunteers to speak at their annual 'interfaith days' both of which took place in February. Interfaith Scotland provided eight volunteers from the Christian, Muslim, Baha'i, Hindu, Sikh and Jewish faiths. You can read more about our schools 'face to faith' programme here.
A group of pupils from schools across East Renfrewshire organised an 'Interfaith Quiz' for World Harmony Week with the assistance of Interfaith Scotland and East Renfrewshire Council. The quiz took place at St Ninian's High School in February. Around 200 pupils from six local schools attended the fun and informative evening and it is planned that this will become an annual event for schools in East Renfrewshire.
Interfaith Scotland worked in partnership with East Dunbartonshire Council to arrange the National Holocaust Memorial Day commemorative event, which took place in Bishopbriggs on 26th January 2017. The key note speakers for 2017 were Saskia Tepe who is the daughter of a Holocaust survivor and author of ‘Surviving Brigitte’s Secrets’ and Umetesi Stewart, who is a survivor of the Rwandan genocide, now living in Scotland. Saskia and Umetesi spent several days speaking at a number of events. Read more here
Interfaith Scotland worked in partnership with Glasgow University to host an Interfaith Service for Peace in the University Chapel on Sunday 22nd January. Saskia Tepe shared the story of her mother who was a Holocaust Survivor amd of their time together with volunteers, linking this to the plight of current refugees across the world.
Interfaith Scotland's Director, Dr Maureen Sier, delivered the Time for Reflection on the theme of Holocaust Memorial Day on 17th January.
Interfaith Scotland has a blog on which you can read stories from our staff and volunteers. Do check it out! https://interfaithscotland.wordpress.com/
Sister Isabel Smyth, founder of Interfaith Scotland, also has an interesting and informative blog which you can read at:
You can find out about Interfaith Scotland events that took place from 2011 - 2016 in our events archive. Click on the links below for the year that you are interested in.
Events in 2011
Events in 2012
Events in 2013
Events in 2014
Events in 2015
Events in 2016
Our blog can be found at https://interfaithscotland.wordpress.com
Flemington House (2nd floor)
110 Flemington Street
0141 558 0778
Or use our online contact form.
Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Charity Number: SC029486.