Unification News for April 2004
Interfaith Drama Project in London
by Simon Cooper
On Saturday 14th February, 40 people from different faiths (including Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Budhism) came together to take part in the start of the World CARP-UK and RYS ( Religious Youth Service www.rys.net) interfaith youth drama project.
The day had been set 3 months ago and preparations had been continuous throughout that time period. The project organisers (Ravindra Galhena, Ajay Rai, Marshal Desouza, Sarah Chasseaud, Rita Zaccarelli, and Simon Cooper) had been working hard together. The event was a great success for all who participated.
The main two parts to the day’s schedule were four service projects at different holy sites in the West London area, and then in the afternoon drama exercises and skits based around stories from the different faiths.
To break up the parts of the day we heard reports from the four teams about the sites they visited and what they had learned that was new to them. They showed each other digital photographs of the places they visited on the projector. There was then a moving and inspiring presentation by William Haines a Religious Education teacher from a North London Comprehensive school who fully endorsed the projects goals and visions.
The goal of the day was to experience a deeper understanding of our own faith and that of others through service and drama. The conclusion was that a large number of the youth and university students who participated held an hour long meeting at the end of the day after the event had ended to discuss the formation of the drama group, and iron out practical matters such as when and where they would rehearse.
Hence the other key goal of the day: that this interfaith drama group would take form and that it would be the start of ten weeks of rehearsals in preparation for a major performance.
Their plan is to then take the piece of drama (based on their different faiths) to school assemblies around the UK and promote the common values that their faiths hold dear. In this way they hope to pass on their experience from the 14th February.
One participant, Tasneem Housain (a student from University College London who is a Muslim), said: "I am a firm believer in these kind of initiatives which aim to emphasize common values in different faiths as a means of religious tolerance. I would like to thank you all for giving me the opportunity to be part of this. Today was a great opportunity for me to meet other people of different faiths, with the same opinion that humanity and tolerance is just as important."
The event was also able to receive publicity on the regular news bulletins on Radio Jackie that broadcasts all across South West London as one of our CARP members is a newsreader on the station and telephoned up during the day to interview one of the project directors.
When we finally took our group photograph at the end of the day there was a real sense of accomplishing something for God in the atmosphere: barriers had been broken down and a warm and good spirit had been allowed to enter into each persons heart.
The event had been sponsored financially by the Timebank Respect initiative that has been set up by the Government and the Prince’s Trust in order to promote harmony between youth of different faiths. It is also supported by the BBC.
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