Interfaith Harmony Week at LBC

In the world of interfaith dialogue the last few months have been particularly challenging. But as we mark Interfaith Harmony Week it is a good reminder that such work has never been more necessary. As part of our interfaith studies at LBC we explore both the opportunities and challenges inherent in the work. One of the most important pieces whether we are clergy or lay people engaging in meaningful interfaith encounter, is the establishment of meaningful long term relationships. These often mean we can tackle the hard times together rather than joining the throng of those who would see entire groups as ‘other’ or as ‘enemy’.  

But it isn’t always easy. For many of my colleagues relationships have been badly bruised or irreparably damaged over the last few months. Dialogues they had trusted and relied on feel tarnished either by silence or by an inability of either side to hear one another. But this hasn’t been the case for everyone. In our short World Religions and Encounter class our first year students had the opportunity to meet (as scheduled) with a leading UK Imam a couple of weeks into the current war. His experience and long held relationships with me and others in the Jewish community allowed him to engage and share openly with both his own and our pain. Things are hard at the moment, but as we continue to pray for peace, I also pray that we have the relationships and resources for work for peace together, and into the future.  

Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers