Saturday, 28 February 2009

6th national interfaith forum

another busy week. thursday nigth we were at the hamilton gardens to watch slip of the tongue perform another shakespeare play. this year they decided to do taming of the shrew. it was performed very well, but still can't say i like the play! still, the kids had a good time.

yesterday was the women's interfaith forum in auckland. i could only attend the afternoon session, but it was a great experience. it was wonderful to see maori, pasifika and ethnic minority women attending as well. the day was mostly about sharing experiences, with women talking about spiritually significant events in their lives. again, when i get a moment, i'll write up some excerpts from my speech (which is currently all in my head!).

last night the 6th national interfaith forum started and is continuing until sunday afternoon. i had to come back tonight, but it was a lovely weekend. the programme today was held at the buddhist temple in east tamaki, which is quite an amazing place. last night we were hosted by the LDS community on pah rd, manukau with food being provided by the hindu community from blockhouse bay.

while i really enjoyed the programme, the best part of the interfaith forum were the breaks, where some really special conversations happened. i had a great discussion with glyn carpenter of the vision network about religious education in schools. and also with a couple of chinese catholics who were 7th generation indonesians. also caught up with a lot of friends and generally amazing people.

the best bit was really the regional reports, where interfaith councils around the country updated us on events they had organised around the country. there is so much effort being put into bringing people together for postive experiences and learning. this work is community based, and very rarely gets any coverage. but it is so crucial in diffusing tension, and building community.

nice to see participation from a member of the rationalist & humanist society. there may have been more than 1 person, but i only came across the one guy.

and it was wonderful to meet dr maureen sier, the development officer of the equality unit of the government of scotland. her main brief is the development of interfaith activities, and she gave us a comprehensive report of what is happening in scotland.

so, yet another busy weekend, and next weekend isn't looking much better!

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