On a very cold and rainy evening in November we celebrated Interfaith Week with an event on the nature of Peace attended by 40 people.
As they arrived people were asked to write down what their own idea of Peace was, not merely an absence of war. We then had members of several different faith communities each talking for 5 minutes on the nature of Peace according to their own faith. During this part Alex Starr the new Faith Officer for the Police also spoke about what Peace means to him personally and to the community of Croydon. The next part was a short meditation led by our Buddhist vice Chair, Les Kemp, which was very relaxing.
We then asked people to talk at their tables and discuss What Is Peace? and What are the Building Blocks of Peace? This discussion part was very interesting as some people started to have new ideas on the subject.
The results of the questions can be seen on our website as well as many other photographs from the evening.
The last activity was to use materials provided to create a physical object or symbol of Peace. Saba, from our committee, who runs a creative and artistic charity, introduced this part. The planning group had wondered if this would work or whether people would be too shy to do this creative activity but by now everyone was happy in each other’s company and worked together to come up with drawings and models which they spoke about in the feedback session. The discussion of each group’s work extended the evening but everyone was happy with the results and several people thought they would try to replicate the evening's activities in their own communities.
If you would like to run an event like this in your own community do contact us if you need some support. Alex Starr is considering the possibility of running the event again with children from the different faiths so do look out for news of that.
Shujah Iqbal, Croydon Council Communities department, gave the following report to the council BAME group:
The peace event was quite a success and was well attended by a diverse range of people.
It consisted of three parts;
1. Speakers spoke about what peace meant to them from a perspective of faith or personal philosophy
2. At tables we took part group discussions and recorded our reflections
3. Finally, each table were invited to create an artistic representation of what art meant to them. On my table we created objects and animals out of play-do, which apart from being fun and also helped us open up and express ourselves when we shared where our own personal concept came from.
Some attendees present announced that they would now go on to hold a similar event in the our communities. Finally, it was also suggested by PC Alex Starr that it would be worthwhile running a similar event in schools.