‘Spirituality is becoming popular. Even sociologists have become spiritual!’ said Professor Ursula King while discussing her latest book, ‘The Search for Spirituality: Our Global Quest for Meaning and Fulfillment’. She referred to a cultural vision of spiritual oneness beyond diversity of race, nationality and religion that is evolving within the human species. It is an evolution that was not discussed by Darwin but it is happening nevertheless.
'Gustav Jung referred to a coming together of the interconnectedness of humanity.' Prof. King defined spirituality in terms of the web of life, through the relationship to oneself, to others, to the environment and the Divine Spirit, Creator or God. The growing edge of spirituality, she explained, was not under our control and therefore is full of mystery as we pass through the stages of our life. We need to educate children about spirituality because we need to know how to allow our spirit to flourish throughout the ‘dance of life’. Interfaith dialogue can enable a person to discover the spirituality within another faith. This can help us to develop both spiritual literacy and the awareness that we have great resources within us. Photos link here
On the first of May 2009, Paul Currie set out to walk the length and breadth of the UK from near Thurso to Southampton via Ireland, around 1000 miles. His intention was to raise funds and awareness to establish an Interfaith Youth Hostel. He took no money with him and no support. After 40 days he reached the sea at Christchurch. See his blog here.
The UN International Day of Families was supported by an enthusiastic, interfaith audience revealing the universal interest and concern for the family. There were presentations on ‘Preparation and Early Support for Family Life’ from Christian, Sikh, Muslim, Hindu, Jain and Unificationists as well as an explanation of the value of Couple Relationship Education by the Chair of the UPF Marriage and Family Committee, Eddie Hartley. The conclusion was presented by the Chair of the Westminster United Nations’ Association, David Wardop, who referred to the United Nations as a world family whose work of quiet diplomacy solves many of the world’s problems. The UN International Day of Families is one that is regularly supported by the UPF worldwide. The event in the UPF HQ is one of several occurring around the UK.
Message from Canon Andrew White read out to the recent ‘Joint Celebration of Holy events of the Three Faiths of Abraham’.
‘Greetings from Baghdad, I am so sorry that I am unable to be with you today especially as my great friend and member of my board Dr Raheem Kahn is behind this event.
Today you come together as members of the three great monotheistic faiths, Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Together we have one great thing in common we all believe that G-d is one. We all believe that G-d is part of our life and we believe interfaith activity does not make us weak in our faith it should makes us stronger and indeed more orthodox in what we believe and practice. Unlike many in the West I do not live and work with those who do not believe much. Most people believe firmly in their faith. Yet they are serious about engaging with the other. (Photo Link)
While the G20 Summit was meeting in the Excel Centre and violent demonstrations were disturbing the City of London’s banking sector, the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) was holding a conference with civil society and faith-based groups in the House of Parliament’s largest committee room, entitled, ‘New Vision Amid the Economic Crisis’. This contrasted the moral vision promoted by civil society and faith based groups with the pragmatic approach of the G20 Nations’ Summit. Many in the session echoed the ‘Put People First’ demonstration theme that this was a time for a new perspective and not just a return to ‘business as usual’. In the lead up to the G20 UPF had issued a Statement emphasising the need for ethical change:
‘If there is to be lasting change, the G-20 must acknowledge that the current financial crisis did not happen by accident, and it was by no means inevitable. The root cause of the problem has as much to do with moral, indeed spiritual failure, as governmental or financial mismanagement. For this reason, improved fiscal, economic and trade policies alone are not enough. The attitudes and behaviour of people, institutions and even entire nations must change.’