the weekend after next is the interfaith forum, here in hamilton. i really haven't been pulling my weight over the last week or so, because see yesterday's post. i'm feeling slightly better today, but i didn't get much sleep last night with the insomnia, so that's a bit of a set back.
so anyway, today i went out with our caterers - anglican action's "just food" which is a not-for-profit that puts any profits back into social services - to church college. this is the mormon college that is no longer being funded by however their international funding works, so is an empty shell of a school with accommodation and excellent facilities. the mormons still make as much use of it as they can, which is why the interfaith council is getting to use it for our forum, for which we are extremely grateful.
the mormon community have been extremely friendly and helpful, taking us around the facilities whenever we ask and providing whatever assistance they can.
the menu has been an interesting exercise. we have to cater for vegetarians and vegans. the meat has to be halal so purchased from the halal butchers (firdaus butchers at 5 cross roads in hamilton). it also means no pork, because of muslims and jews; and no beef because of hindus. the mormons don't take tea or coffee, so there will be none of that, including no coffee cake or coffee slices at tea breaks.
it sounds complicated, but we've come up with a great menu, and it's actually been a pleasure to be able to accommodate the needs of various groups of people. and it's been wonderful to be able to do it without anyone thinking it's wierd or troublesome. it's just a matter of respecting people's beliefs and caring enough about them to make the effort. the way we've organised the menu is really the essence of interfaith ie the ability to just get along and to accept without making a fuss about it.
so i'm standing there in the massive kitchen at the college, me a hijabi muslim woman, with some anglicans and a mormon. and i'm thinking how wonderful it is that there is so much positive energy in this room, so much of a desire to be helpful and to work together to get the best outcome. and i'm thinking that this is really what life should be like all the time, in all spheres. there's no reason that it couldn't be, except for all the barriers in our head. and when we choose to put those barriers aside because we believe in something bigger and better, then wonderful things happen.
i know i'm not going to participating in the programme of the forum too much. that's my own choice - i'd much rather be doing the behind-the-scenes stuff to ensure the thing runs smoothly. that's what being part of the host group is about. but even so, i'll be really enjoying being part of an event that's bringing people together, and allowing important conversations to happen.
if you can make it, even for a day, please do register. you'll find the details you need here.