Interfaith Work in Poole Stake

By Moira Head

Interfaith Work in Poole Stake

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Poole and Weymouth, both in the county of Dorset, recently built new friendships with other faith groups as they joined together to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Church members joined with “Unity in Vision” and “The Friendly Food Club” to host a series of multi-faith and multi-cultural cookery courses. The faith groups represented at the events included Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, and Sikh.

Moira Head, who represented the Church said, “Friendships were formed as we learned, side by side, to cook and appreciate each other’s dishes. We discovered that as women of faith, we have more that unites us than divides us. First and foremost we are women, with all the same emotions and priorities - to feed and nurture our families, to live in peace and practice our faith”.

At the Weymouth event, Stake RS President Tracey Au, spoke about the history of the Relief Society. The local advocate for the Black and Minority Ethnics Group addressed the delegates, as did Sayma Ahmed, the founder of Unity in Vision and Rita El-Gazali, the current Chairperson. These presentations were followed by a multi-cultural buffet which was provided by The Friendly Food Club. A straw poll of the attendees showed that there were people from America, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, the United Kingdom, Europe including Russia and across the Arab countries.

The event held in Poole was in two parts. In the afternoon, participants were invited to attend a number of workshops which were presented by members of the Church. In the early evening there were presentations from the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths and a young refugee girl who had recently arrived in the UK from Libya. The event concluded with sampling a wide range of foods from different cultures.

Across the two events, about 180 people attended including in Weymouth, The High Sheriff of Dorset, The Mayor of Chickerell, The Mayor of Weymouth, and The Mayor and Mayoress of Dorchester. The Poole event was attended by the Mayor of Poole with her Escort and the Mayor and Mayoress of Bournemouth. Both events were conducted by Roger Head, from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Moira Head added, “During the weeks of preparation for these events, we came to a better understanding of, and respect for, each other’s faith and beliefs. Our desire to break down false barriers gave purpose to our work. If we didn't actually get to “walk a mile in each other’s moccasins”, we all felt that we had made a good start and we look forward to joining with our Muslim sisters again in the very near future”.