The All Faiths Network (AFN) held it's yearly Interfaith Week event on 13 November 2020 to celebrate religions in their diverse manifestations as well as demonstrate how religions can work together. This year brought us new challenges with a UK-wide lockdown and many months of disrupted society, so they went on-line to hold a memorable and uplifting 2-hour event. AFN members were determined to rise above all these issues and show that religious communities contribute so much to breaking through the negative surrounding us to bring about a better world.
Martin Weightman, AFN’s Director said, “Our theme was to show that the creativity of the spirit and an understanding that we are much, much more than just a physical existence can bring us to overcoming barriers imposed through lockdown. To this end we not only held a stunning series of performances through our on-line concert but also released a book ‘People of Faith Rising Above Covid-19’ showing how religious and cultural communities have worked to overcome these problems. The e-book will be available in the next days on Amazon and the hard copy soon after. Faiths working together is a natural for people with good hearts and thoughts.”
Religions of many faiths and cultures were brought together through creative performance and prayer. Hindu, Muslim, Jew, Christian, Scientology, Sikh, Buddhist and many more explored African, Asian and Western cultures through their own spiritual visions. We heard Arabic devotional poetry, a Buddhist Zen sutra, a Scientology Prayer for Total Freedom, divine gospel, Jewish psalms, Islamic prayer, not to mention a cultural dance piece spanning five African countries by Ateker International Development Organisation (AIDO). Our youth were represented too with Hindu classical dances, Hindu children in prayer and accomplished young Sikh musicians and singers.
Tracey Coleman, AFN’s Events Manager praised all the performers and those who gave prayers. She said, “Tonight we united in the beauty of faith, culture, music and dance. What struck me was the sheer ability that faith and culture have in lifting up a human being from the problems of life. Celebration of Faith transcends the material world into a realm of higher creativity, aesthetics and beauty.”
Dr Abdul Basit Syed, Founder Chairman of “World Humanitarian Drive (WHD)” joined the event on behalf of “Faiths Together in Croydon.” Dr Abdul Basit Syed, recited a moving poetry of “ Faiths Together” written by him, followed by a “Peace Pledge - of WHD” which was recited back by all audience and guests which includes the following: