We are so delighted to have welcomed Reading Interfaith Group to Connect Reading!
Sarah Griffin, Chair of Reading Interfaith Group, took some time to answer some questions and tell us all about the organisation and how we can connect with all they’re doing.
Reading Interfaith Group
Throughout history religion can be used for good or evil and it is often misunderstood. To me spirituality is a life-long learning process to make us humble, accountable and better at being human.
Reading Interfaith Group’s mission is
- To enable members of different faiths to learn about and experience each other’s beliefs, practices, and traditions.
- To acknowledge each other’s differing spiritual paths
- To challenge misinformation and prejudice.
- To promote friendship through interfaith dialogue and hospitality locally and nationally.
- To support interfaith initiatives organised in the Reading area by faith and community leaders.
What was your biggest challenge last year?
The biggest challenge was moving our group founded in 1983 into the 21st century whilst maintaining its informality and uncompromising commitment to inclusion. We updated our constitution, created a new website and now produce a regular newsletter. Internet banking was however the most annoying and frustrating challenge!
What have you learned?
Quite early on we learnt not to focus or numbers or whether anything would be successful. Instead, we should concentrate on whether something seems like the right thing to do. We noted how most people are happiest when they can be of use to others. In challenging times for any religious belief, trustees deliberately encouraged a culture of support. Giving each other confidence allowed us to achieve so much more.
What has been your biggest creative triumph as an organisation?
The Friendship Walks which began in response to 9/11 and took place annually for just over a decade. They provided an opportunity to walk with many other people and visit many different places of worship together. Although they involved some organisation, “triumph” belongs to so many different places of worship in the town. Their welcome and hospitality showed that whatever else goes on in the wider world Reading people choose to remain united.
Why did you join Connect Reading?
Reading Interfaith Group appreciates Connect Reading’s contribution to the community. We recognise the importance of partnership to fulfil our aims. Connect Reading can introduce us to other groups, communicate widely and help us make best use of resources.
What are you most looking forward to?
The internet has been a wonderful asset over lockdown, but now we are looking forward to the end of isolation for so many and meeting people properly again. Eating a cake on zoom is not quite the same thing as sharing it! We are looking forward to widening our scope of faith groups we are in contact with and learning about each other. Sharing hospitality is also an effective way of making friends.
How can people connect with you and support what you’re doing?
Reading Interfaith Group is fully inclusive of all spirituality and faith backgrounds. It’s absolutely free and we ask only that you share our aims.
Our next event will be a Family Picnic, taking place on Sunday 25th July from 3pm at King’s Meadow in Reading. Please bring your own food, drink, hand sanitiser and any games you would like to share with others. This event is free and open to everyone.
We have a website at http://www.rifg.uk/ and encourage supporters to sign up for our regular newsletter at https://mailchi.mp/bc21c95d2f6a/reading-interfaith Contributions to our newsletter of about 200 words are particularly welcome. These can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.