One of WPoF's core objectives is encouraging interfaith dialogue and discussion. The more we know about each other, the less we fear the unknown.
And we facilitate this by offering a travelling team of speakers, who are more than happy - individually or by way of a panel - to visit faith institutions to participate in that dialogue and discussion.
We particularly welcome invitations to local churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, gurdwaras and other places of worship. In this context, please find details of our speakers below.
Alongside this, WPoF have initiated the 'Education Project', which aims to work with Schools (Primary and Secondary), Colleges and any Educational Institutes to enrich students' experience of Religious Studies with direct links to practising people of faiths and beliefs.
Speakers from different faiths and beliefs visit the school/college and deliver a presentation, assembly and/or Q&A style session. The visit can be tailored to suit the schools time and the format can be discussed beforehand.
We have had very positive feedback from schools and below are some reports from schools that have been visited
Education Project - Updates
Multi-Faith Day, St Mary's Primary School, Byfleet - Friday 20th September 2019: The day began at 9am with a whole school assembly. Marian Nash talked about 'shoes' which told a story. Five children each held up a pair of her shoes. Another matched a sentence they read aloud to a pair of shoes. Marian then went on to show photos she took in Budapest of a Holocaust Memorial. These metal shoes reminded us that the people were cruel to the Jews; they made them strip off their clothes, then march to the river. Only the shoes remained, after they were forced to jump into the icy waters of the River Danube to drown and be washed away. The Hungarians did this just because the Jews were different and worshipped in a building that looked different to churches. Finally she showed a slide of a famous saying, 'Walk a mile in my shoes' to understand, but don't judge. She concluded that Woking People of Faith tried to get to know people from other religions. By talking and eating together, we discover our similarities; consequently we can live in peace and harmony. One of the children read a prayer they had written. Following this, Marian, with Simon Trick visited Years 1, 2 and 3 for 20 minutes per class talking about their faiths (Christianity and Baha'i); what these religions had to say about peace and answered any questions. Zafar Iqbal and Rev John McCabe, the Rector of St Mary's Church went to Years 4, 5 and 6 to talk about Islam and Christianity. At break time they each reported back that the children had enjoyed the assembly and had asked relevant questions. The team left at lunchtime. The teachers gave tasks to the children on other religions such as Buddhism and Judaism during the course of the day. The teacher who organised the day sent the following feedback:
A Bahai, Buddhist, Jew, Christian, Humanist and Muslim joined the New Monument School Assembly on Tuesday the 3rd July 2018. A few minutes were spent introducing themselves. A varied programme had been arranged to keep KS1 & 2 pupils interested for an hour. The children joined in with an action song, then KS1 had a story about different coloured crayons being used together to make one beautiful picture with pupils being the pencils. KS2 were shown a video about how DNA testing shows we are not who we think we are, because people who said they were one pure nationality, discovered that they had ethnic origins from countries all over the world. Then everyone stood up to sing 'If you're happy and you know it' to get some exercise. An activity followed where selected pupils were asked to try and eat raisins with a spoon without bending their arms. After much difficulty, the pupils watching suggested that if they fed each other and worked together as a team, they would help each other to gain the reward. Finally, Simon introduced everyone to an echo/action song called 'We are drops'. To conclude, the speakers each gave their version of the Golden Rule.
•He should not wish for others what he does not wish for himself (Bahai)
•I will act towards others exactly as I would act towards myself (Buddhism)
•Do to others as you would have them do to you (Christianity)
•What is harmful to yourself, do not do to your fellow men (Judaism)
•Treat other people as you'd want to be treated in their situation; don't do things you wouldn't have done to you (Humanism)
•None of you truly believes, until he wishes for his brothers what he wishes for himself (Islam)
This message was received by about 200 pupils, who actively listened; were engaged; and extremely well-behaved.
A statement from New Monument School reads as follows: "On Tuesday the 3rd July 2018, New Monument School held our first ever Multi-Faith Day supported by Woking People of Faith. The aim of the event was to foster in pupils a curiosity for other religions and ways of life, as well as help them develop a greater understanding, respect and tolerance for beliefs which might be different to their own; thus promoting community cohesion in the long run. Very many thanks to our guests representing Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, the Church of England, Humanism and the Baha'i faith for a wonderfully enriching experience."
A statement from Bishop David Brown School reads as follows: "Year 8 students at Bishop David Brown thoroughly enjoyed their Multi-Faith Day. It was an excellent opportunity for them to meet people of different faiths in a way that allowed them to ask questions in an interactive, open way. The students particularly enjoyed being able to quiz the delegates on current affairs and the ethical issues, learning how different faiths respond to these and the similarities and differences between them."
If you are a member of staff of a school and would like one or more of our speakers to visit your school please contact the WPOF administrator on firstname.lastname@example.org. The details of our speakers can be found on the speakers page https://wpof.org.uk/page/speakers/