BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London participated in National Interfaith Week by partnering with St Mary’s Church in Willesden to raise money for local charities on Saturday 24 November 2012 and also by holding an interfaith seminar at The Swaminarayan School, situated opposite the Mandir, on Sunday 25 November 2012.
Interfaith Week is an annual event that takes place across the UK in November which fosters good relationships and working partnerships between people and organisations of different faiths and beliefs.
The three aims of the Week are:
- Strengthening good interfaith relations at all levels
- Increasing awareness of the different and distinct faith communities in the UK, in particular celebrating and building on the contribution which their members make to their neighbourhoods and to wider society
- Increasing understanding between people of religious and non-religious beliefs
Representatives from the Mandir joined St Mary’s Church in Willesden to welcome Mayor of Brent Cllr Michael Adeyeye to the Christmas bazaar. Volunteers from the Mandir provided Indian vegetarian snacks at the bazaar to raise funds for local charities. The Mandir also donated tickets for London Panorama, an open-top bus sightseeing tour. Father Andrew Hammond of the Church commented that he was “delighted to work with and have the support of BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir on this occasion.”
The seminar, titled ‘The Role of Hindu Women in Ancient and Contemporary Times’, was delivered by Anuradha Dooney (Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies) and Binal Somani (graduate student of History at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London). The enlightening talks included the accounts of devout Hindu women of the past and also a discussion on how British Hindu women practise their faith in the twenty-first century.
Representatives from various faith communities were invited to the seminar and enjoyed learning about the important and inspiring role that Hindu women have played in ancient times and continue to play today.
In sharing his experiences from both events, Nitin Palan, Interfaith Coordinator for BAPS in the UK, said: “Reaching out, sharing and learning from our brothers and sisters of other faiths is a way of life for us and can be hugely rewarding. It is something that is deeply in tune with the guiding values of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj.”