The Interfaith Dinner

Yesterday, I attended the Interfaith Dinner hosted by the Edinburgh University Faith Societies and the Chaplaincy. Despite all the organising anxieties and last minute nerves, it was a brilliant event.

The Vedic Society provided fragrant curry and rice for all and the Catholic Student Union made salad and dairy-free desserts. Our Masters of Ceremonies for the evening were Nurul from the Islamic Society and Rory from the Baha’i Society, and Di the Chaplain welcomed us all with some thoughts on friendship. Each society present provided an entertainment item and a brief introduction to their beliefs. It was educational, entertaining and fun. There were songs from the Buddhist Society, Catholic Student Union, Christian Union and the Vedics presented a song and a dance. The Islamic Society had a general knowledge quiz on Islam and the Baha’i Society got everyone warmed up with introductory games.

As the Humanist Society, we decided upon an after dinner game which reflected our approaches of scientific enquiry and discussion. Each table was given a set of stickers on which a famous person’s name had been written. This was then applied to either the forehead or clothing where the person themselves couldn’t see it. Each member of the group then had to ask questions to work out who they were. We had decided upon a secular theme so each person was a famous Scot. After we had all helped with clearing up, there was an invitation to move on to the Catholic Student Union for tea and coffee.

All in all, around 70 people attended the event including Chaplaincy staff, a Student Union representative, a reporter from the Student Newspaper and seven faith societies: the Baha’i Society, Buddhist Society, Catholic Student Union, Christian Union, Humanist Society, Islamic Society and Vedic Society. It was really good to get to know other people and other faiths in the spirit of friendship. The evening allowed us to see what we had in common with other beliefs but also what was different and what we were curious about. Many of us left full of enthusiasm about possible future events and I do hope that this carries through to fruition.

2 Responses to “The Interfaith Dinner”

  1. 1 Duane L Herrmann February 18, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    The more we know of each other, the less we are afraid of their strangeness. Topeka, Kansas has had a city interfaith council since the 1970s. We (Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, Jews, Pagans, Christians, Native Americans and Baha’is) have become warm friends in that time, though that doesn’t make the news.

  2. 2 Clare February 19, 2008 at 12:22 am

    That sounds great! We’re lucky at Edinburgh University that the chaplaincy really makes an effort to make themselves open and accessible to all and to support us both as individual groups but also as an interfaith community. Like you say, bad news may grab the headlines but it’s what we create at the ground level that really reaches people and their personal experiences.

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