Hampstead Unitarians host Interfaith Workshop to explore dialogue between religions

17 November 2021

On 14 November, to mark the beginning of the annual Interfaith Week, an afternoon workshop was held at Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, in Hampstead.

It featured three speakers from different religions backgrounds:

Hindu Unitarian Indra Sikdar spoke about the diverse origins of the Hindu faith and its pluralistic approach which teaches that there are ‘many ways to God’.

The Muslim musician and academic Julia Ayesha posed questions about what people of faith need to do in order to prepare themselves for the ultimate ideal and aspiration of living in unity.

Daniel Pashaie, of the local Baha’i community, spoke about the independent investigation of truth, which is one of the fundamental teachings of the Baha’i faith. He asked the group: ‘What are some truths that are common to all religions and how can we use them to foster unity among the peoples of the world?’

Rev Kate Dean, minister of Rosslyn Hill Chapel, led the workshop with her colleague Rev Michael Allured of Golders Green Unitarians. Speaking after the event, she said: ‘It was an honour to bring together such a diverse group who were so attentive and took part in very deep and rich discussions on the subject. Interfaith dialogue and mutual understanding are so important and, I believe, can set us on the path to peace. We invite anyone who would like to join us as we continue this work to come along on Sunday 16th January, when our morning service at 11am will be led by myself and Professor Faraneh Vargha-Khadem to mark the Baha’I festival of World Religion Day. Afterwards, there will be one-hour discussion on the themes of the service.

Daniel shared a quotation from the Ruhi Institute, based on Baha’i Writings, which seemed to sum up what we were trying to do with this event: “We must be lovers of light, no matter from what lamp it appears. We must be lovers of the rose no matter in what garden it blooms. We must be seekers of truth, no matter from what source it comes. Attachment to one lamp can prevent us from appreciating the light when it shines in another. In seeking the truth, we must rid ourselves of preconceived notions and give up our prejudices. If our cup is full of self, there is no room in it for the water of life.”’

Photo: (L-R) Julia Ayesha, Indra Sikdar, Daniel Pashaie, taken by Rev. Kate Dean