Interfaith Scotland brings together the Religious Leaders of Scotland on a bi-annual basis to discuss pertinent issues such as Religious Education, caring for the homeless and conserving the environment. The Religious Leaders Forum has been significant for the deep and lasting friendships that it has engendered and symbolises the inclusive and dynamic nature of Scottish society. The Forum allows for prompt responses when issues of national or international importance have emerged. The meetings also give a strong message to religious communities across Scotland that religious tolerance, understanding and friendship across the diverse faith communities is important.
Bi-annual Meeting May 2016
The religious leaders met at Samye Ling Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in Eskdalemuir in May. They were welcomed by Lama Yeshe Rinpoche, shared updates from their communities and discussed the upcoming Scottish Interfaith Week. A Scottish Government representative gave a presentation on the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act. Pupils from Lincluden Primary School in Dumfries had been invited and engaged the religious leaders in a lively question and answer session.
Bi-annual Meeting September 2015
The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called an Interfaith Summit on 8th September to find out more about the work being done by interfaith organisations and faith communities. She met with a cross-section of religious leaders from diverse faith traditions along with the Director of Interfaith Scotland and project managers of Interfaith Glasgow and the Edinburgh Inter-faith Association. Ms Sturgeon said, "Interfaith work and the contribution of faith groups is essential in transforming lives and building a strong, fairer and equal Scotland. By working together with all communities I want to see a safer, stronger and more inclusive society which we are all able to fully contribute to and benefit from".
Bi-annual Meeting November 2014
The Religious Leaders Forum met during Scottish Interfaith Week at Dunblane Cathedral. It was in Dunblane in 2002 that the first religious leaders forum had taken place and those present took the opportunity to reflect on the forum's achievements over the course of those 12 years.
Alongside visits to numerous religious centres, they had gone out into the community, meeting at diverse places including the STV studios, schools, and the Scottish Parliament. Other significant activities have included:
Bi-annual Meeting 27th March 2014
The Religious Leaders of Scotland met in Edinburgh on 27th March. Interfaith Scotland facilitated the meeting which was hosted by the Rt Rev Lorna Hood, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Click the link below for a news item that appears on the BBC website about the meeting:
Bi-annual Meeting 22nd April 2013
The bi-annual meeting of the religious leaders of Scotland took place at Broughton Academy, Edinburgh on 22nd April. Part of their discussion was on the difficulty that some religious people have of ensuring that they can have a religious funeral according to their beliefs. The Edinburgh Inter-Faith Association is pioneering the use of a card to indicate people’s preferences for funeral arrangements in the way that the Baha’i community do. This led to a general discussion of funeral rites and the prevailing attitudes to death and funerals in society today. As is the usual custom the leaders were joined by students studying Higher Religious, Philosophical and Moral Studies. The students asked some searching questions – 'what is the meaning of life' and 'are humans as intrinsically evil as they are good'. Bishop Chillingworth suggested changing one of the questions to ‘what gives your life meaning’. The responses to this led to a very interesting conversation with thoughtful insights from the leaders and the young people.
Bi-annual Meeting 22nd October 2012
The meeting of the Religious Leaders in Scotland in October took place at Isobel Mair School for Children with Special Disabilities in Giffnock. The leaders were welcomed by Councillor Elaine Green, Chair of the Education Committee for East Renfrewshire and the Head teacher Mrs Wallace. Before beginning their meeting Mrs Wallace conducted the visitors on a tour of the school during which the leaders were entertained by the junior choir and dance group.
The main part of the morning’s business was a conversation on how religion can contribute to the health and wellbeing of Scottish society. In the afternoon the leaders engaged with young people from the Isobel Mair School, Eastwood Secondary and Williamwood Secondary. The young people questioned the religious leaders about health and wellbeing. The conversation was broadcast to any school that wished to link in and is now on file for teachers to use as they wish.
Bi-annual Meeting 23rd April 2012
The Religious Leaders of Scotland held their previous bi-annual meeting on Monday 23rd April at the STV offices in Glasgow. They were given a presentation by STV Local and met with a number of senior executives and managers of the organisation. The Religious Leaders also had the opportunity to meet with young people in Scotland through Education Scotland's intra-net facility. The key question put by the young people was, 'Why is religion and spirituality important in Scotland today'. The day was a success and was enjoyed by all.