Tuesday, 12 December 2006

Dec 12: Last meeting of year

Today's interfaith society meeting was the last meeting of the year. The next meeting will be on Tuesday 23 January 2007, after the XMas holidays.

We had a few new muslim friends today, including Abdul Hannan, Issa and others, and a no-religion friend Yoji. First we discussed about the future of the society. It was decided to continue with our programme of visits to places of worship. So far this year we have been to a Jewish reform synagogue (in city centre), Bahai centre (in fallowfield), Hindu temple (in chorlton), and Sikh Gurudwara (near Salford). Abdul suggested we could visit a Mosque either ithe Didsbury Mosque or in Cheetam Hill. Other candidates for a visit are a Catholic Church, Anglican Cathedral, Buddhist temple, Jain community centre in Longsight etc.

We also reviewed the multifaith week in the student union that was last week, and the very interesting interfaith dialogues on Religion and Gender (Thursday), Religion and Conflict (Monday), Faith and Environment (during Abraham's table on Thursday), Religion and science (on Friday) etc. We can also continue to discuss such important issues from different religious persepctives in a friendly atmosphere in the interfaith society meetings as well. After all, most religions have similar perspectives to many such issues and it will be worth stressing on our commonalities and where we agree.

Abdul also played a very interesting recorded speech by Tony Blair and a piece from a US radio show (although it was a hoax) about discrimination against muslims. We had a long and friendly discussion about the issue from various perspectives both faith and non faith. Abdul also spoke his views about the meaning of tolerance and how followers of different religions should get together to fight discrimination.

Finally, John informed us that the next Abraham's table will be sometime in March 2007 (also jointly organised by interfaith society and the multifaith reference group, and including delicious food like last week!) and Tariq Ramadan, who is a very famous writer, will be invited as a speaker.

Tuesday, 5 December 2006

Dec 5: Interfaith workshop

Today, in the interfaith society meeting, we had an interfaith workshop as scheduled.

Nassim and Anisa conducted a nice and soothing Tranquility Zone with music and Bahai quotes about unity in religion, and then spoke a little about what the Bahai faith is all about, including its principles of unity of God, unity of religion etc. Unfortunately Kalpa from Hindu soc couldnt make it, but Joy gave a small talk on Hinduism and its rich variety of beliefs (including about God and the various aspects and forms of God to suit people of various personalities) and meditations (such as meditating on OM and in the full lotus posture), and and a taster of "Who am I" meditation. Kevin, John and Claire gave a short speech on Christianity and its diversity and what it meant to them, and also about the love and sacrifice of Jesus for all mankind and his perfection and that Christianity is also about life before death, as in the Christian Aid slogan. Oxana spoke about how she became a Buddhist and about gender equality in Buddhism, and about a Zen Buddhism inspired martial art called Ko Do Ryu which is completely non violent, the idea being to not attack the other person but use their own force to skillfully defend oneself, and how this philosophy of giving way to others resonates with the Zen Buddhist attitude of letting things be and just sitting. Finally, Oxana gave a nice demonstration of the martial art for those of us who were there, including a few simple forms or Kata (sanchin and seisan) and their application in sparring, and an introduction to the pushing hands technique. It was especially interesting to see how keeping the hand in physical contact with the other person helped to anticipate their movements. You can see more from http://www.kodoryu.com/kobudo.php

Earlier we had a meeting with Natalie and Hana, and decided to meet again (probably last meeting of the year) for next Tuesday at 5 pm and finalise the arrangements for the interfaith society. We also decided that future interfaith society meetings will be from 5 pm - 6 pm. I hope it will make it easier for some of you to attend, who are busy at other times.

We also agreed that its best not to have a formal hierarchy of people to run the interfaith society, but rather to have at least one representative from major world religions in the committee, more than one is also not a problem. The provisional representatives from different religions at present are as follows (maybe later once the society gets established and gets lots of members, we will have a formal election):
Islamic rep: Hana Jewish Rep: Natalie Buddhist rep: Oxana
Christian rep: Kevin Hindu rep: Kalpa Bahai rep: Nicholas, Anisa
Sikh rep: Not decided yet

Monday, 4 December 2006

Dec 4-8: Multifaith week in Student Union

Multifaith week in Student Union

Venue is Manchester University Student Union unless mentioned
(Rooms MR1, MR2, MR3 are on 2nd floor of student union, St Peters Chaplaincy is on Oxford Road opposite to Blackwells bookshop and near Precinct centre, Grove House is the white building on Oxford Road opposite to McDonalds, Holy name church is the big Catholic church on Oxford Road near Catholic chaplaincy opposite to student union, Holy Trinity platt church is in the Plattfields park, near the end of Rusholme very near Oxford Road)
Monday 4th:
1pm - 2pm Interfaith Dialogue: Why does religion appear to cause conflict?
7.30pm Buddhist Meditation class VENUE: MR3
Tuesday 5th:
1pm - 2pm Interfaith Dialogue: Religion, Gender, Society. Spiritual path : is it a lonely one? VENUE: Women only in MR3, Men only in MR2
5pm Manchester Debating Union Does religion cause conflict? VENUE: Meet in Students Union Foyer
6pm Interfaith Workshop by Interfaith Society VENUE: St Peter's Chaplaincy
Wednesday 6th:
10am - 4pm MULTI-FAITH EXHIBITION: Information Stalls, Creative Space, Art workshops, Music, Dance, Food and Excellent Company VENUE: Council Chamber and MR1, Students Union 2nd Floor
Thursday 7th:
1pm - 2pm Interfaith Student Dialogue: Is tolerance violence? Secular and Religious VENUE: MR1
2pm - 3pm Talk by Christian Science Organisation
Healing through prayer VENUE: MR1
6pm 'Abraham and Sarah's Table', "Faith: Saving People, Saving Earth?" VENUE: St Peter's Chaplaincy
7.30pm Talk by Buddhist Society 'Ko-Do Ryu: a non-violent martial art' VENUE: (Reading Room, Grove House, Whitworth Park)
Friday 8th:
1pm - 2pm Interfaith Dialogue: Can science and religion co-exist? VENUE: MR1
7.30pm Christian Union Carol Concert. Festive refreshments served afterwards. VENUE: Holy Trinity Platt Church.
You are also invited to:
Saturday 9th:
5:45pm International Christmas Carol Service VENUE: St Peter's Chaplaincy
Wednesday 13th
7pm University of Manchester Carols by Candlelight VENUE: Holy Name Church, Oxford Road