A Feast of Faiths kicked off Interfaith Week in Preston on Remembrance Sunday, marking the beginning of a week-long celebration of inter-faith understanding and awareness.Advertisement
Ladies from Preston Faith Forum, Sisters4Sisters, and various other religious and spiritual groups held a Jacob’s Join style dinner-party at the Unity Centre on Shepherd Street, bringing dishes that represented not only their different religions, but their cultures and individual tastes too.
The Feast started at 1pm and ran until 4pm and saw women and children from Preston’s Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Sikh, Baha’i, Quaker and Spiritual communities coming together for a good old chat over a smorgasbord of delicious food.
The differences in each faith were talked about, with all in attendance gaining some insight and knowledge into each other’s religions.
Not only that though, the afternoon was an opportunity to discuss the many similarities every religion holds; and there was no better way to do it than with food.
Kash Singh from the Sikh community said: “Food is very important in everything we do, as it breaks down barriers; it brings people from different religions together because it’s a basic human need.”
Kash and a lot of the women in the room hadn’t actually met one another before, only having been in contact through Faith Forums and over email.
And as they bonded over the different dishes, they discovered they had a few other things in common than just the good hearty grub.
Read more: Spending a morning with the Sister4Sisters womens group in Preston
Many of the ladies are educators; Anna Debbage from the Quaker community runs prayer dance lessons; Sofia Begum-Ali from the Islamic community and Amy Toner from the Jewish sect teach religious and cultural awareness in schools; Bhanu Patel from the Hindu community teaches sign language; and Jen Rankin from Hello Preston is heavily involved in family learning projects for Preston’s refugee communities.
Penny Craig from the Baha’i community said there are more similarities than differences between a lot of religions and that as part of her religious belief, conflict is futile; everyone, regardless of religion should work together as one, as part of a ‘Progressive Revelation’.
In relation to the Feast of Faiths, she added: “Food and women go together. Everyone is included here and everyone is welcome.”
And it wasn’t just ladies from specific religious communities who attended the Feast of Faiths either; there were ladies who didn’t associate with any particular religious denomination, including Victoria Drake who channels spirituality and positivity.
Victoria said: “Religions often teach you rigidity and I got a bit frustrated with that.
“I like to live my life by the three principles of something called ‘Permaculture’ – Earth Care, People Care, and Fair Share.”
And with plenty of food being shared, including traditional dishes such as Magaj which is a sweet Indian food served at Diwali; a chick-pea curry called Chana Chatpatti; a creamy pasta dish; a traditional Jewish meal of Bagels, Lox and Cream Cheese, a Gluten free, soya free, Vegan soup; and plenty of samosas, pakoras, olives, peanuts and popcorn; the ladies left the Feast with fully bellies, and a lot of new friendships, fully anticipating a week of wonderful interfaith activities.
For more information on the things happening in Interfaith Week 2017, or for information on how to get involved with the different faith groups in Preston visit the Faith Forum website.