Prayers in Harmony attracts interest from all faiths and none

Jewish (Lior), Sikh (Mr Mandla) and Jain (Arvinder) friends have a catch-up and a group photo

Jewish (Lior), Sikh (Mr Mandla) and Jain (Arvinder) friends have a catch-up and a group photo

On Thursday 20th November the Nishkam Centre was honoured to host a multi-faith event, Prayers in Harmony, to mark Interfaith Week 2015. It also served as show of solidarity with the recent Paris events and the other atrocities around the world.

The event began with a meet and greet over light refreshments allowing all to get

Matloob Hussain shares some beautiful couplets with the audience

Matloob Hussain shares some beautiful couplets with the audience

to know someone new. Conversations became increasingly enthusiastic as people found common ground and related to one another on a more personal level. Chairs were set in cabaret style creating a welcoming atmosphere allowing conversations to flow.In the midst of a cold and windy Thursday morning, people from various faiths and none, gathered to spread warmth and love. Many people from the local community, as well as some dedicated faith leaders, came to reflect on the collective meaning of prayer with the aim of bringing the city’s major faiths religions even closer together.

All the guests were then invited into the Heritage Centre to view the specially resurrected the Sound & Silence Exhibition which had previously been on display at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. The exhibition highlighted the 24 Moral and Spiritual Dispositions, which were created by the Standing Advisory Committee on Religious Education (SACRE).

Birmingham SACRE is made up of representatives from across Birmingham’s faith traditions, along with representatives from

Yann and Ann look at the 24 Spiritual & Moral Dispositions Exhibition

Yann and Ann look at the 24 Spiritual & Moral Dispositions Exhibition

the City Council and teachers’ unions, who come together to develop and monitor the implementation of the Religious Education (RE) syllabus across the city. The curriculum arising from Birmingham’s RE syllabus is designed to help pupils investigate twenty-four key ‘dispositions’ agreed by all of the city’s faiths. These ‘dispositions’, or qualities, are the goals of successful teaching of the RE syllabus.

Once the guests had viewed the exhibition, which also included an impressive model replica of the Harmandir Sahib (Amritsar, India) (referred to by many as the ‘Golden Temple’) they took their seats for the next phase of the day. A representative from each faith tradition was invited to share a prayer, reflection or a story in relation to their faith. Islamic, Christian, Quaker, Catholic, Jewish, Buddhist and Sikh stories, prayers and reflections were shared and enjoyed by all. A beautiful violin piece was played by Rabbi Dr Lior Kaminestsky.

Dr. Andrew Smith, the Bishop of Birmingham’s Director of Inter-faith Relations said, “For many Christians prayer is about entering in to the presence of God and the Father”.

Dr Andrew Smith sharing the Christian reflection on prayer

Dr Andrew Smith sharing the Christian reflection on prayer

Chris Martin from the Quaker faith, shared “This very much resonates with how I feel about prayer – ‘Prayer is not an occasional nod, given in passing to God. It’s more like a marriage, a closeness of living, a constant receiving and giving’.”

“God is everywhere, every place that you allow him to come in. And prayer is one of the ways to let God come into our hearts” echoed Rabbi Lior Kaminetsky from the Jewish community.

Arvinder Jain from the Jain faith said that every human being has the potential to become God in essence we could all be a ‘the liberated soul’.

Sister Brigitte from the Catholic faith contributed, “Every person is created in love, and all that was required of His Creation

 

was that we should love Him in return.”

“You don’t find anything about prayer or meditation in books. Only when you practice you find out what it’s all about” iterated Yann Lovelock from the Buddhist tradition.

“Islam itself linguistically, means peace, but also submission to God; submission to the ultimate reality which is God. And that’s the whole point of Prayer; prayer is submission and directing your heart to God.” said Shoaib Hafiz from the Islam faith.

Yann, Buddhist speaker, shares his key messages

Yann, Buddhist speaker, shares his key messages

There were many laughs and even a few tears as the various reflections touched the hearts of all who attended. Thanks and gratitude were exchanged and a feeling of spiritual bliss was left in the air. The Prayer Exhibition will be available to view by appointment at the Nishkam Centre, and many Interfaith Events are to be implemented in the future.

 

 

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