Clergy and staff at Chichester Cathedral were delighted to host fifty students and their teachers in a day of learning and activity on Wednesday 27 March. As part of their GCSE Religious Studies Course, this inspiring interfaith study day provided a valuable opportunity for the young people to meet speakers from different religious traditions.
The students from local secondary schools came together at the Cathedral to find out more about the living faiths being practiced in the world today. Representatives from five different places of worship locally, including a Buddhist Monastery, Gurdwara, Mosque, Synagogue and the Cathedral, participated in sessions with students to share their faith perspective and answer questions the students raised. A student reflected: “It was very inspiring and heart-warming to hear about people’s personal experiences – I don’t know much about these faiths and found it very interesting to learn more.”
The study day supported the teaching of the examination syllabus with one teacher commenting “All my students were thrilled with the speakers – the interfaith sessions were excellent and informative. This was brand new for our students and gave them a deeper understanding of beliefs and practices.”
The Dean of Chichester, The Very Reverend Stephen Waine, who joined in the study day, said “It is really important for young people to have the opportunity to meet people from different religious traditions in person, to have a conversation and develop their understanding. We live in a world where we hear a lot about intolerance between people of different faiths. In reality, there is so much common ground and many people from different faith perspectives are working extremely hard to encourage understanding and respect between people in their communities. The Cathedral is extremely grateful to our interfaith guests for their generous participation in today’s event and for making it possible.”
The Cathedral’s Interfaith guests included:
- Baljit Kang, Siri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara, Crawley
- Pamela Hartog, Brighton & Hove Progressive Synagogue
- Sheikh Fazle Abbas Datoo, Imam, Wessex Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat, Fareham
- Simon Ralfe, Chithurst Buddhist Monastery
- Liza Cook, Chichester Cathedral
The image shows The Very Revd. Stephen Waine, Dean of Chichester, with Simon Ralfe from Chithurst Buddhist Monastery.