By Kate (Tiro)
Some while ago Suzanne and I raised the subject of interfaith initiatives in the area, and said that we’d be interested in cultivating contacts with representatives from other faith groups locally.
It seems others have been thinking along similar lines. Last night we attended a meeting of a new Chesterfield Interfaith Forum, kindly hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, on Sheffield Road.
The initial assembly saw a good showing from several local communities, including a number of Christian denominations, two representatives from the mosque and Muslim Welfare Association on Barker Lane, as well as a Humanist officiant representing secular communities.
Beginning with a tour of the host Church, the group’s business on this first occasion was to agree on the desirability of communication and cooperation between the various faith and secular communities in the area. This, it was agreed, is particularly important in what seem likely to prove challenging times ahead, for our country and for the world, in terms of human relationships.
We agreed, in short, that our baseline view is that we are all human* first, and that our main goal should be to look out for each other, whatever our specific religious or secular views.
While many (though not all) of the groups represented constitute a cohesive organisation with some central administrative body, it’s understood that the general umbrella of ‘paganism’ refers to a broad spectrum of quite different beliefs (one of the earliest issues when creating the initial Chesterfield Pagans website was to address the question of ‘what makes a pagan’ – what do we all have in common?). This was understood by the group, and it is accepted that no individual pagan can or would try to speak for all.
So with that in mind, Suzanne and I would like to make you aware – pagans of all traditions, eclectics, Heathens and reconstructionists and those whose rivers meander – of the existence of the Forum, and of our intention to attend (work permitting) the next meeting. The date is to be confirmed (should be before the end of February).
We’ll post up further updates as we get them and we’ll let you know how things develop. If any of you would like to attend the intention is that it’ll be an open group, but otherwise if you have any issues you’d like to raise or ideas for future activity or objectives, please do let us know and we’ll make sure your thoughts are passed on. Some of you will know us, but otherwise you can use firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can find me on Facebook as Kate Smith (long story) profile number 100010733262443 (just put that in the address bar after facebook.com/), @KaldrKate on Twitter, or on Google+ as Kate Coldwind.
It was a very positive meeting last night, and we’re very much looking forward to developing the Forum, making contact with communities not yet represented, and working productively with the other groups in the area.
(* Or sort of human. Humanoid. Currently. Look, in case there’s any quibble here, when I say ‘human’ I mean ‘possessing the quality of humanitas’, not necessarily Homo Sapiens Sapiens.)