Interfaith Evening In Scotland

by Carole Sneddon

Women at an interfaith evening

The Dalkeith Ward in the Edinburgh Scotland Stake celebrated International Women’s Day on March 6th with an interfaith evening at the Dalkeith LDS church.

Opening the evening, Marianne Neilson, Stake Relief Society President, welcomed everyone warmly, and the event began with a feeling of unity as all were invited to sing “As Sisters in Zion,” which refers to the work of comforting and nurturing that so many women find fulfilment in.

The topic for the evening being “Mothering, Nurturing,” Sister Catherine, Mother Superior at Bonnyrigg’s Nazareth House, spoke first about the nurturing work that the Sisters of Nazareth House perform and the history of the organisation.

Nichola Duffy, a mother of four and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke next, referring to her own mother and how she was taught to turn to God with her questions. She mentioned the complexity of mothering multiple children, as each one requires a unique approach.

Readings from Pagan, Sikh and LDS authors were then given by Rebekah and Lydia Sneddon and by Millie and Emelia Duffy, LDS young women. One of the readings was from Sheri L. Dew: “Few of us will reach our potential without the nurturing of both the mother who bore us and the mothers who bear with us.”¹ Elizabeth Macaulay, head of the Women’s Guild at the Church of Scotland Newbattle Parish, then spoke about the importance of teaching children proper boundaries and respect. She also discussed the significance of nurturing every relationship and every person, sharing some inspiring personal experiences which illustrated the impact that a nurturing approach can have. Lynne Barty, a Quaker, then spoke about the demands that parenting places on us and the need for nurturing ourselves with quiet time as well as nurturing others. She finished by reading Emily Dickinson’s poem “If I Can Stop One Heart from Breaking.”

The final speaker was Farhana Alvi, a Shia Muslim with three children, who spoke with warmth and humour about mothering and explained the deep respect for mothers that is taught in the Muslim faith. The evening ended with an opportunity to mingle and share refreshments. The whole evening was distinguished by an atmosphere of warmth and inclusion, and this was increased as people who had come as strangers spent time connecting with each other and chatting further about the topic. Local Councillors Colin Cassidy and Kenneth Baird also attended and remarked that it was inspiring to attend events such as this. Carole Sneddon, who coordinated the event, reflected, “It was a very worthwhile evening, and the effort the speakers put in to share a meaningful message with us ensured that we all left feeling uplifted and inspired and knowing more about the common themes of love within each of our faiths.”