BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London, hosted various Hindu and Christian faith groups to participate in a community workshop on Saturday 9 February 2019.
The event was co-organised with Near Neighbours – a national organisation that brings together people in communities that are religiously and ethnically diverse.
The aim of the workshop was to provide a safe space for constructive and personal interaction between people who live near one another and have different outlooks, cultures, attitudes or beliefs; to facilitate open and honest conversation about issues of concern to ‘everyday’ people in local communities, not just civic or religious leaders, that could otherwise be difficult to talk about; and to provide a springboard for further conversations, interactions and collaborative action to strengthen local civil society.
More than 50 members from various Hindu and Christian organisations in and around the London Borough of Brent attended the workshop, including Ms Jaymini Patel, Director of the Brahma Kumaris, Reverend Dr R.F. Leão Neto of the Harlesden Methodist Church, Mrs Harsha Trivedi, President of the Brahmin Society North London, Father Christopher Phillips from St Mary’s, Willesden, Cllr Tom Miller from Willesden Green, and several BAPS devotees and volunteers.
The morning began with a tour of the Mandir before the main discussions commenced at The Swaminarayan School.
The cordial and constructive dialogue included personal testimonies and experiences, and focussed on practical ways to enhance community integration as well as a future vision of the local community through mutual respect, understanding and cohesion.
Kesh Morjaria of BAPS shared, “The conversation was an uplifting experience! Understanding the concerns and sharing the successes amongst members of the local community who have different beliefs has provided a platform to strengthen interfaith harmony and a framework to build an integrated community. We’re very grateful to all the organisations and participants for contributing to such a warm and fruitful discussion.”