Interfaith Week 13–20 November is an opportunity to strengthen good inter-faith relations at all levels. We can increase awareness of faith communities in the UK, celebrating and building on the contribution which their members make to their neighbourhoods and to wider society.
The Week is ever more important, helping people continue to come together; make new links and friendships; educate against prejudice and hatred; and volunteer together to help others. There are lots of great ideas for activities – virtual and in person.
Interfaith Week begins each year on Remembrance Sunday, encouraging remembering together of the service of people of different backgrounds. In Ashford last year people gathered to pray around the first world war tank that is on display near the town centre.
This was repeated this year on 10 Nov with a renewed focus on praying for peace.
As preparation for the Week, there is an exhibition being held in St. Peter’s Church,Canterbury. Saturday Nov 12 is the last day, so catch it while it is open !
I visited it earlier in the week, and took the photos. But there are many pictures we cannot reproduce here because of artists’ copyright. The selection below will give you a flavour of the exhibition without breaking copyright.
Note there can be no copyright to an icon because of the faith tradition that means the artists paint anonymously, as Sara Schumacher explains:
“Anonymity of artists also manifests itself within theology, most specifically among icon artists within the Orthodox faith. Traditionally, artists who paint Orthodox icons not only work within the confines of the visual tradition of how the icons look but they also remain anonymous as the icon’s artist. The reason for this is because the icon acts as a ‘window to heaven’, as a way by which the worshipper is led through the icon and into communion with the object of prayer. While the icon is an object of great beauty and craftsmanship, it is primarily serving as a guide in worship. In this context, the potential distraction that could come with knowing the artist is eliminated by anonymity. Additionally, the artist does not paint an icon in order to make a name for themselves but does so in order to serve the worship of God.”
Here is the leaflet for the event which features an Indian painting:
Here is one from Bahai:
The Exhibition makes one ponder on the similarities of the moral teachings of the great religions of the world:
So that is a good note on which to end this article and remind you to visit the exhibition before it closes !