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Saturday, March 25, 2017
Unique interfaith programme seeks to build community bridges
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¬†A unique 18-month course is being launched at Heythrop College in London next year, aimed at getting people of different faiths to understand each other better, and thereby contribute to more tolerant and harmonious communities. Faiths Together is described as an opportunity for inter-religious learning ≠ for 'learning by doing'. The Course Director, Fr Michael Barnes SJ, says one of the most important aspects of the course will be the intermingling of people and experience. "There is a crucial process involved here: moving people from encounters with each other to engagement with difficult issues and then to dialogue and genuine understanding," says Fr Barnes. "It will involve exploring and examining our differences in order to appreciate and relish the richness in each others' traditions and beliefs. By listening and talking with people of other faiths, our aim will be to help build a 'community of communities' ≠ a group of people strong and proud in their own identities, but open and welcoming to all, and grounded in knowledge of and respect for the beliefs and practices of their neighbours." Faiths Together, which will last from January 2007 until June 2008, will be able to accommodate around 20 students. The course will combine college presentations and discussion with community-based activities. Wednesday evening lectures and discussions at Heythrop College, part of the University of London, will be complemented by visits to a broad range of communities and meetings with people of different faiths. Many of these will take place in Southall, West London, where the Jesuit-led inter-faith centre, De Nobili House, is based. Experience of life in a place like Southall shows that the experience of diversity can be a stimulus to growth and understanding. The Course Tutor, Dr Tony McCaffry, describes the partnership between Heythrop and Southall as an unprecedented bridge-building opportunity. "Students will be encouraged not only to learn about and from people of different faith traditions, but to learn with them," he says. "They will all be equal partners in this learning experience, everyone intrinsic to the process ≠ not guests or observers, but fully engaged in dialogue, in listening and in action. This is what will make the course so different, so unique, so innovative." For more information see: Source: Jesuit Communications
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