Interfaith dialogue: silence, listening and food
Huge thanks to the Dialogue Society and the Fellowship Educational Society for bringing together around 70 adults and children from Reading’s different faith groups for an interfaith reception at Reading Meeting house on 17 November.
We welcomed the Mayor of Reading, Rose Williams, to open the event. Matt Rodda, MP for Reading East, and Emma Burroughs, Deputy Commander of Thames Valley Police, both spoke about the importance of listening to each other, and promoting mutual respect. These themes were echoed in the contributions from faith groups.
After a wonderful performance from Reading Community Gospel Choir, we heard readings from different sacred texts, the sound of a Buddhist bell, reflections on mindfulness, and an exploration of the different ‘layers’ of our lives. We were reminded to focus on what unites us, rather than what divides us.
Presentations from Reading City of Sanctuary and the Quaker ‘What shall we do?’ project showed new opportunities for faith groups to come together and support our community.
The Dialogue Society suggested three ways to build dialogue: silence, listening to each other and food. For the latter, we sampled ‘Noah’s pudding’ the traditional dessert made to share with friends and neighbours at the Muslim festival of Ashura. An excellent end to a positive and inspiring evening.