Interfaith Glasgow Launch
Monday 14th November
Lynnda Wardle Acting Manager of Interfaith Glasgow and the Lord Provost
After some time in which to chat, circulate and enjoy the displays, Teas, coffees and nibbles, Interfaith Glasgow had provided, Lord Provost, Sadie Docherty, opened the formal proceedings.
Glasgow’s Lord Provost spoke of the importance of friendship and trust and how common interests cut away our differences. Celebrating Diversity is important, as are peace, Harmony and respect for creating a cohesive society the Provost said.
Next Philip Mendelsohn, who is Chair of Interfaith Scotland talked about Glasgow’s multiple waves of immigration over the years; Highlanders, Irish, Asian, Eastern European amongst others. He made reference to the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre’s expression, “from immigration to integration” and talked of how Glasgow had largely absorbed these waves with its own inimitable warmth. (http://www.sjac.org.uk/
Philip Mendelsohn used “birth” as a theme for Interfaith Glasgow. This was Interfaith Glasgow’s birth and launch but also the Project Manager, Dr. Rose Drew had had a birth too of her own with the arrival of her beautiful baby girl. He praised Rose for her meticulous guidance and thanked Lynnda Wardle for covering for Rose during her maternity leave and for bringing the project forward.
Sr. Isabel Smyth
Next up was Sr. Isabel Smyth who has been such a catalyst for Inter faith work. She said she was delighted that Interfaith Glasgow had now started out as an independent charity and as a continuation of the long history of Interfaith work in Glasgow.
Glasgow’s, she said was the first interfaith group in the country. It started with a group called simply “sharing of faiths”.
The recognition of the religious life of the individual was realised to be of fundamental importance. It was also important that the welcoming community should know about those religions that were of such central importance to the diverse groups.
Stella Reekie was the person who founded the “International Flat” where this interfaith work started. Sr. Isabel claimed that wherever she goes people know Stella. The plan is to set up an archive about her and her wonderful work with the money that was raised from her international flat.
Mrs Brij Gandhi and Sr. Isabel Smyth who were both involved in the International flat, reminiscing.
Stella means star and 25 years after she died a posthumous party was held for Stella and 90 people turned up. Sr. Isabel said again for emphasis, Stella means star and her star shines through all the people she has affected and influenced.
Dr Maureen Sier
Dr Maureen Sier, Director of Interfaith Scotland spoke of the years of interfaith work that had enabled them to apply for enough funds for Interfaith Glasgow to be taken to the next level. Rose, she said, got the ball rolling and set the bar high.
She praised the way Interfaith Glasgow had handled this transition and the way they are forging forward and ensuring engagement with faith groups. She finished by applauding and commending Interfaith Scotland as a “vibrant organisation.”
Lynnda Wardle Acting Manager of Interfaith Glasgow
Lynnda said Interfaith Glasgow had been building on interfaith relationships since 2012. And before that they were rooted in a long history of interfaith work in Glasgow. She spoke of the vibrancy and good will of the interfaith community and how it flourishes through dialogue.
Lynnda Wardle used the Interfaith Glasgow’s tree logo (which is also the emblem for Glasgow) as an analogy to explain how interfaith Glasgow is structured.
Interfaith Glasgow’s motto is “Flourishing Through Dialogue.” The 3 main components for this process are Dialogue, Co-operation and friendship building.
Parkash Kaur, Ruby Bhopal, Jas Kainth, Gunam Kaur and Dr Magdalen Lambkin
People make Glasgow and this is the kind of welcome we want Glasgow to give people. Building friendship and understanding will be our challenge. People are our most precious resource – feeding the poor, welcoming migrants, addressing justice issues – religious communities here are able to correct part of the onslaught from hate crimes too. Also being aware that faith communities are particularly quickly affected in the backlash from the shock waves of international events means we can better support them. This is critical work.