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Interfaith Society Calendar of events for the first term 2006-07

Venue: All meetings will be held in Oxford Room at St Peters chaplaincy unless otherwise indicated.

Time: All meetings start at 7: 30 pm unless mentioned

Tuesday 26th September: Introduction to the Society

 

We had a brief introduction to the Society, an icebreaker game (getting to know each other), consisting of introducing each other in pairs to everyone else, some singing (A traditional humourous Russian folk song (along with cartoon) sung by Oxana, and a Christian hymn Ubi Caritas Et Amor, Ubi Caritas Deus Ubi Est prepared by James). Then we asked all present members to introduce their own faith. Finally we had tea and coffee.  


Wednesday Sep 27: Visit to the Gita Bhavan Hindu temple

We went to Gita Bhavan Mandir in Wilbraham Road, Chorlton, for the Welcome Evening organised by Hindu Society. It consisted of a traditional Hindu Arati (offering) and singing devotional songs, followed by a delicious dinner. 


Monday 2 October: Yom Kippur (Jewish Day of Atonement)


Tuesday 3rd October: Scripture Study

 

Each of us again introduced themselves and their religion. We had some music yet again. Then we had a scripture study: each person produced their favourite quote from their scripture, including the Bible (Christian scripture), Quaker faith and practice, Bhagavad Gita (Hindu scripture), Dhammapada (Buddhist scripture), Quran (Islamic scripture). Then we will had tea and biscuits as usual. 

 

Sunday October 8: Visit to the Manchester Reform Synagogue

The visit to the synagogue was a huge success, I believe. the service was beautiful and moving, everyone was friendly, shaking the branches was exciting and the tent outside was beautiful. I hope we could come there again for some other holiday. We had a security check on entering the synagogue, and the men had to cover their heads. There was a traditional Torah reading (in Hebrew) by the Rabbi and a few other people during the service.


Tuesday 10th October: Visit to Bahai centre, Fallowfield

 

First Shimon gave an introduction to the Bahai faith, and Nicholas answered questions. Then we were shown pictures of various Bahai temples all over the world. After that we had tea and biscuits kindly provided by our hosts, and had a discussion that lasted until 12:45 am for some of us (poor Nicholas!).  For those who want to know more about the Bahai faith, heres a website http://bahai.org.uk/

 

Tuesday 17th October: Scripture Study and guest lecture on Bahai faith by Dr Tim Anglin

 

After the usual icebreaker, we had a nice presentation including some
presentations about different religions mostly by people who did not follow that religion including about Hinduism (by John), Zoroastrianism (by Nicholas), 7th day adventist (by Shimon), the Quaker faith (by Hugo), a fact about Judaism (by Michael). We had a few people including myself, James and Mo who could not speak about the faith they had prepared due to lack of time but dont worry: we shall have their presentation at the next available oppurtunity. We also had a session
of question about the Bahai faith that was kindly led by Tim.

 

Saturday 21 October: Diwali (Hindu)

 

Tuesday 24 October: Eid-Ul-Fitr (Muslim) 

 

Tuesday 24th October: Film (Comedy) Social

 

Because of reading week it seems not many people turned up: we saw a movie as planned: My Big Fat Greek Wedding. We also decided on the plan of the events for coming weeks.  

 

Tuesday 31st October: Visit to Gurudwara Sri Guru Harkrishan Sahib Ji (Sikh temple) near Salford

 

We visited the gurudwara. All of us enjoyed the readings from the
Guru Granth Sahib (the sikh holy scripture), the lovely kirtan or devotional music, the prasad (blessing) of delicious halwa sweets and most of all the great food and hospitality.

Special thanks to Mo for finding out about the Gurudwara, Tim for driving us all there (simply couldnt have walked to the place !!!) and also to our new friend Gurdeep Singh (at the gurudwara) for so kindly telling us so much about Sikhism and sharing with us the story of his life, not minding that his own food got cold for talking to us for hours! If any of you are interested in attending their Saturday service from around 7 pm (and the meal afterwards) for which we have been invited, its name is Gurudwara Sri Guru Harkrishan Sahib ji and address is 12 Sherborne Street, Manchester, M3 1FE Website: http://www.gsghks.org.uk/   

 

Wednesday 1st November: Abraham and Sarah’s table POSTPONED. Instead we had a meal and discussion in Sanam restaurant, Rusholme.

 

Sunday 5 November: Guru Nanak's birthday (Sikh)

 

Tuesday 7th November: Film Night, a multifaith comedy

 

We watched a multifaith film organised by Oxana. Its called "The mad adventures of Rabbi Jacob". Its IMDB link is http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0069747/ Oxana writes about it "It is a French comedy from the 1970s. It is about a man who starts off as a French Catholic chauvinist, but then has to disguise himself as a Rabbi and hide in the Jewish community to save himslef and an arab revolutionary. It is very funny and uplifting. " 


Sunday 12 November: Bahaullah's birthday (Bahai)

 

Tuesday 14th November: Scripture Study / debate

 

We had a reading from the Bahai Kitab-i Iqan (Book of certitude) , one from the Hindu Bhagavad Gita ,  some Buddhist Zen Haikus (Japanese poems on the theme of nature and how we an derive spiritual teachings from nature) by Oxana, a reading from a Holy Quran (as translated by Abdullah Yusaf Ali) in both Arabic and English and a Psalm reading from the Holy Bible along with some Egyptian Coptic orthodox hymns.

 

Tuesday 21st November: Social

 

We met and discussed the future of the multifaith society and decided to rename it as the Interfaith society. We finalised plans for multifaith week, Abraham's table etc. We also had a bit of paper cutting, helping out with decorations for a party in the chaplaincy, and finally had some tea.

 

Tuesday 28th November: Interfaith discussion

We had a really interesting, lively, informative and friendly discussion touching on many different topics including the following:
1. Perspectives on food: Vegetarianism and different religions perspectives on whether it is ok to eat animals and which animals and also how they are killed in Jewish Kosher tradition, for example.
2. Perspectives on reincarnation (Buddhist/Hindu) and life after death as per the Buddhist, Christian and Jewish views
3. Perspectives on God and what is nature of being human, what is good and evil, what happens to sinners, what is karma theory, what is eternal vs created and destroyed, the diferent concepts of Trinity in Hinduism and Christianity
4. Worshipping idols and perspectives on what is really meant by idol worship

4-8 December: 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?
VENUE: MR1
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
 

Tuesday 5th December: 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

 

7 December: Abraham's table, a multifaith evening with food. Theme is "Faith: saving people, saving earth?"

Handout from Justine (speaker from People and planet): Ten Tips To Save The World (PDF File)

Tuesday 12th December

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.

Multifaith Calendar

Unfortunately we havent developed our our own comprehensive calendar of different faiths yet. However, you can browse the BBC multifaith calendar at http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/tools/calendar/

There is also a 2007 multifaith calendar for Manchester published by Northwards Housing. 

University Term Times

For Manchester http://www.manchester.ac.uk/aboutus/dates/

For Manchester Metropolitan http://www.mmu.ac.uk/currentstudents/termdates/