City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Inter Faith Week Celebrates Spirit of Diversity

By Barnaby Miln - Posted on 21 November 2011

The Edinburgh Inter-Faith Association (EIFA), with the support of the Scottish Government and the City of Edinburgh Council, will shortly hold its fifth successive Edinburgh Inter Faith Week.

The tone will be set in the days immediately prior to the start of Inter Faith Week, which officially runs from the 27th of November to the 4th of December. The Moderator of the Church of Scotland, the Right Reverend David Arnott will attend Friday prayers at Annandale Mosque, accompanied by Rabbi David Rose from the Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation. Subsequently representatives of all three faiths will attend a service at the Synagogue on the Saturday and another at St Andrew's and St George's West Church in George Street on the Sunday.

Introducing the programme, EIFA co-convenor Rabbi David Rose said, “Celebrating diversity is at the heart of this programme. We believe that tolerating the beliefs and traditions of others is not enough. We seek to build respect, understanding and cooperation and believe it is important to celebrate the diversity around us if we want to live in a genuinely harmonious and peaceful society.” 

Speaking on behalf of the City of Edinburgh Council, Lord Provost George Grubb said: "As well as possessing a richly textured religious history, Scotland's Capital is home to people of all different kinds of faith and belief. I am proud to be Lord Provost of a city which promotes individuals' freedom to follow their own spiritual path and Inter Faith Week is a fine way of furthering mutual understanding and respect among those of all faiths and none."

The programme, with contributions from the local Sikh, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Baha’i, Unitarian, Brahma Kumaris and Pagan communities, is built on the well established foundations of each of these communities opening their doors to welcome in people of all faiths and beliefs.

Under the theme of ‘Meet your neighbours’, events will take place around the city ranging from an introduction to Paganism to getting a first hand look at life in a Buddhist Priory in the heart of Portobello.

Highlights amongst the main programme of events include a talk on the ‘Spiritual in Architecture’, a nativity play in Festival Square and a conversation event at the National Library of Scotland between former Bishop of Edinburgh, Brian Smith, and the hairdresser and self-styled spiritual nomad, Charlie Miller. In collaboration with the Filmhouse, EIFA will screen ‘Little Town of Bethlehem’, a documentary about the story of three men from three different faiths in Israel and Palestine who come together to strive for an end to the cycle of violence. The screening will be followed by a question and answer session with local religious representatives and promises to be an interesting evening.