Shaking Hands

On Wednesday 6 June Anna Long, Alan Mundy and Mtr Ruth ventured down Clapham High Street to discuss over a meal with some local representatives of all three faiths.

The idea came from Ali at the Shambhala Meditation Centre on Belmont Close, who felt that different faiths could learn something from one another in our local area.

The evening was kept deliberately low-key as the aim was for us to get to know each other a bit.  We hope that over time this might lead to us building stronger relationships which will undermine prejudices, dispel myths and generate greater peace and unity between people of different faiths.

The food for the evening was provided by the Ahl-ul-Bayt Shi’a Islamic Centre from Edgeley Road who regularly cook for large numbers – having several ovens!  The beverages were provided by the Shumbalah Centre and the venue by the Methodists. 

Each faith shared a little of themselves but kept it short! Rev'd Norman Grigg spoke briefly about Methodism and offered a hymn from the Christian tradition:  “Love Divine, all Loves Excelling”.  It was was sung with gusto by the Christians present and underlined the Christian view that the essence of the divine nature is love.

Ali from the Islamic Centre spoke about the shared Muslim and Christian understanding of God as embodying peace. Mohammed then chanted a beautiful passage from the Qur’an in Arabic (using a borrowed iPhone) which he then translated for us. 

Ali then introduced the work of the Shumbalah Centre, which has its roots in Tibetan Buddhism, she spoke of their understanding of the essential goodness of humankind and creation. Richard then led us in a short meditation based on breathing.
The evening was assisted by a small grant from the Lambeth Faiths Together group

We don’t know yet what further steps we may take to build relationships between faiths here in Clapham but this was an important first step better understanding and cooperation of faith communities.