World Interfaith Harmony Week 2023
This week is World Interfaith Harmony Week, an annual UN observance which is celebrated in the first week of February. The World Interfaith Harmony Week began in 2010 by HM King Abdullah II and HRH Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan. The goal of the week-long celebration is to promote harmony between citizens of the world, regardless of their faith. It is a celebration of unity in diversity, and the divine connection between people and their faith.
To mark the occaision, this week we wanted to celebrate the diversity of faiths we have in Ategi and asked our Shared Lives carers, the people we support and our staff to share with us why their faith is important to them.
Read their stories below.
Juliet and Charlie are Shared Lives carers for Kelly, Chloe, Emma & Michelle.
"We are a large family and acknowledge each other’s religious differences we also respect each other’s religion. We are both Catholic and Church of England and bond closely together. We enjoy going to the cafe Church and mixing with others in the community.
We have open conversations and discuss, if necessary, each other’s points of view whilst explaining to our young ladies that everyone is different.
Our girls play a large part in the nativity event in Calvert Green each year enjoying the play and singing carols. This is a picture of the Nativity play and carol singing outside the community centre in Calvert where they took part this year."
Jan, Stephen’s Shared Lives carer:
"Stephen, a gentleman I care for, loves going every week to St Theodore's Church in Tai Bach Port Talbot with his PA. A service is held at this Anglican Church every Wednesday morning at 10am and satisfies Stephen's need to be close to God and the church where he attended with his mother when she was alive."
Liz, Chif’s Shared Lives carer:
"Chi Fung (Chif) is a Server at St Peter & St Paul, Great Missenden. (Church of England). He also helps at our village Baptist Church every Wednesday for their mid-week service, which alternates with their pop-in lunch.
His faith is very important to him and he is now learning to read, he reads a Dyslexic New Testament each day, picking out what he wishes to read…then onto Paddington Bear (we were told he never would read).
This all began during Covid when there was nowhere and nothing for people with specific learning disabilities to do. After his practice at home each day, he always has a prayer session (his idea). Praying for friends and situations he thinks of. When/if life gets a bit trying, Chif always says, “can we pray?”.
Chif’s Father was a Buddhist, but was very happy for us to take him to church with us, when we used to go to the village Baptist Church over 40 years ago.
Chif is on the rota for St Peter & St Paul as a 'Holy Duster,' which he loves doing with Henry (vacuum cleaner). He has also been helping as an eco-warrior, where they are looking after the old closed burial ground and have re-wilded the area around the church.
Chif also helps at Work Aid, in Chesham twice a week, and sees this as an important outreach to those in Africa especially. He helped to build a bug hotel, called "St Beetle and St Crawl’ for the church. Chif helps people wherever he can, all a part of his wonderful Faith."
Sheleagh, Ategi’s Fundraising Manager:
"I joined a Qigong class over a year ago and I go along every week. I had previously practised yoga and Tai Chi at different times in my life. I have learned a simple set of exercises which I do every day. It has made a difference for my wellbeing and helped me to manage my chronic back-ache. I am finding that taking a 5 minute break from the computer to practice Qigong helps to refresh my energy and muscles. I am also learning about the links to Taoism and the 3 principles of patience, simplicity and compassion. Qigong is often referred to as a mind-body exercise because it explores the connection between the mind, body and spirit. Actively practicing Qigong helps improve health and well-being for a whole person (mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually)."
Janet, Shared Lives carer:
"My faith is very important to me, I went to church and Sunday school as a child. I'm Christian and we are attached to our local church in our road, I also belong to a fellowship via messages and phone. Having faith and connection gives you support.
The impact my faith has had in Shared Lives is strength in difficult times such as deaths of my mum and dad, and getting support. Sharing with my service users, going to church events. Celebrating together for example when Kathy (the adult Janet supports) had a baptism."