We asked Aberdeen Interfaith Group about their plans for Scottish Interfaith Week and taking climate action through interfaith dialogue.

Aberdeen Interfaith Group has a committee with representatives from 12 faith groups. The group has continued to meet over the last year on Zoom and has had more attendees at various events than before the pandemic began.

The group is looking forward to this year’s Scottish Interfaith Week theme of Together For Our Planet.

The group’s treasurer, Dr Nigel Dower, representative of the Quaker faith said, “[Climate action is important] because we should care for our planet so that it will be habitable for present and future generations of humans and non-humans.”

Interfaith Mindfulness Day: Reflecting on nature and faith

In May, for Mental Health Week, Aberdeen Interfaith Group held an Interfaith Mindfulness Day in the green spaces of Varapunya Meditation Centre on the theme of nature. There were people representing many different faiths including Brahma Kumaris, Buddhists, Church of Scotland, Roman Catholic and Scottish Episcopal Church, Hindus, Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, Unitarian Church and Quakers.

“After a refreshing walk through the woodlands we sat down under a tent to hear the sound of singing birds and listened to each other’s stories on what nature means to us as individuals and for our respective faiths.

“Two of our members talked about the ancient Hindu teachings on the oneness of the universe, about how all things in the universe are made from the basic elements including us, so we cannot believe ourselves to be separate from it, since it all began with the primal universal energy.

“Another member shared their personal reminiscences about taking urban visitors from abroad to Shetland, and their sheer joy in experiencing the wild beauty Scotland has to offer, with its puffins and dramatic scenery. Someone else shared a story about the wind and the sun, and how the light and warmth of the Lord is as bright as the sun.

“We learned about the importance of nature to the Buddhist way of life. The prominent place forests have in the Buddhist mind is exemplified by the Buddha’s life spent wandering in the wilderness and his teachings relating to its importance for future disciples. Being in the natural world teaches them about the reality of the world within, the everchanging dynamism of the human life and consciousness, is the natural world in a microcosm.”

Dreaming up events for Scottish Interfaith Week

The group plan to hold their Annual Interfaith Forum, as a blended meeting, on this year’s theme on Saturday 30th October. “With input, hopefully, from local young activists as well as a national and global speaker.”

“Scottish Interfaith Week is great because we get to see the variety of events which people around the country dream up on the theme each year. We loved hosting the launch a couple of years ago and still remember the buzz of that event.

“This year, with COP26 in our own country and the importance of action not just discussion, everyone should try to play their part in raising awareness and making a difference.”

Climate action: How to get involved

At Scottish Interfaith Week, we are delighted to be able to shine a light on the work of Aberdeen Interfaith Group. We believe climate action is important for people of all backgrounds, faiths and cultures to get involved with and that the work being done to spread climate awareness is key to the survival of our planet.

If this story has inspired you to take your own climate action, then why not consider hosting an event for Scottish Interfaith Week 2021, perhaps an interfaith dialogue event or a forest walk? The theme this year is Together for Our Planet and we are encouraging individuals and organisations across Scotland to host climate-related events.

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