Doing God Together: Woking People reflect theologically

Woking People of Faith’s ‘Doing God Together’ group emerged out of the United Nations’ Interfaith Harmony week in February 2012.  The idea was to create a welcoming forum where people of all faiths and none can explore ideas and understandings of God through discussion and sharing of ideas and perspectives.  

July 2012: Exploring faith through stories

On 12th July 2012 an inaugural meeting was held at St Dunstan’s Church in Woking who offered warm hospitality. Two non-faith stories/parables were told and became the starting point for corporate reflection.  A lively discussion took place in groups made up of people of different faiths. Those who attended said:

“This was a very good context to share thoughts and build relationships – the discussion was brilliant – and perspectives from other religions valuable.

The stories and discussion groups proved a great way of making one feel involved and generating ideas. It was an excellent idea to discuss stories.

It was Wonderful to have the chance to share with people of other faiths.

The event was an eye opener and I have learned more about another faith.

I enjoyed being able to have a discussion in a relaxed setting.

This was a very interesting exploration discerning how much we share.

This was very interesting. Good atmosphere and my first time in discussion with someone of the Muslim Faith. It was very interesting to find we have so much in common.

Please do this again.”

 

April 2013: Considering beliefs about Life After Death

On 28th April 2013 a ‘Doing God Together’ meeting was held at the Shah Jahan Mosque in Woking.  Fifty local adults of all ages, (from six different faith groups) were welcomed with tea and delicious cakes. Group work began immediately with pooling of ideas about ‘Heaven and Hell’, after which, Father Peter Andrews (St Dunstan’s Catholic Church) Mrs Kauser Akhtar (Surrey Faith Links) and Rev Pippa Ross-McCabe (Woking People of Faith and Guildford Diocese) offered a montage of images, stories, and quotes about life after death from six different faith perspectives. This brief presentation became the starting point for further group work and reflection.  A lively discussion took place in groups made up of people of different faiths.

 ‘It was a marvellous privilege to share and to gain knowledge and respect for our sisters and brothers of other faiths’, commented one participant. Others reported that the open discussion had been ‘a great opportunity’, ‘interesting, useful, informative, insightful and inspiring’, and there was an almost universal call for more meetings of this kind.   The phrase,  ‘one mouth two ears’ was informally adopted by the group to capture their sense of the importance of listening for mutual learning.

A visitor from Hampshire confirmed the unique success of this forum and remarked that other local inter-faith organisations could be encouraged by this example of a  diverse and lively group. Another participant confirmed that ‘It was lovely being welcomed in and really helpful to hear about other faiths in a friendly, accepting atmosphere’ and ‘very good to hear and understand other beliefs as we have such a diverse community in Woking.’  One of the highlights for many is the discovery of how much people of different faiths and cultures have in common.

Perhaps the strongest endorsement comes from a young adult participant who simply wrote ‘cool’! 

 

Doing God Together is organised and facilitated by local interfaith charities, Woking People of Faith and Surrey Faith Links.

 


 

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