The first oftwo events in Dumfries organised to mark Scottish Interfaith Week was an artsand crafts morning. Members of the Women’s Group at the Dumfries & GallowayMulticultural Association (DGMA) gathered to make cards, which they would thengive to someone of a different generation from themselves. The ladies hailedfrom a variety of countries including Poland, China, Malaysia, and Iran, aswell as the UK. It was a relaxed morning of friendship (with food!) and morethan one lady touchingly remarked that they had never made a card before.
The second Interfaith Week event took place at the new Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary in their Sanctuary space. The evening event brought together members of different faith and non-faith groups for dialogue around the theme, ‘Connecting Generations’, which was not an overtly religious one. For the first time ever, attendance exceeded our expectations! The mixture of traditions was good, though not immediately obvious to the onlooker: Church of Scotland, Episcopalian, Methodist, Bethany (Independent Christian), Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, World Peace Prayer Society, Baha’i, Jewish, Quaker and one or two with no affiliation.
After a welcome and introduction to the Sanctuary by one of the Spiritual Care Volunteers, small groups discussed aspects of inter-generational relationships, such as skill-sharing, respect, and ways of encouraging contact and co-operation between the generations. It proved difficult to bring the discussions to a close, which must be a good sign! Thoughts and comments were then pinned up to be shared. Respect featured prominently in the comments as being essential for harmonious relationships. Practical ways to encourage the generations to mix included sharing of food and skills, learning from each other, giving time to listen well and communicate meaningfully, sharing of music, and projects to introduce young people into residential care homes for older people, where they can be a breath of fresh air.
Several guests left their contact details, so we hope that this may herald the beginning of a renewed interest in interfaith work locally.