Many Faiths, One Earth: DIFFY’s day out on Dartmoor

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“Despite having been religious my whole life, I have never actually asked myself the question ‘where do I feel closest to God?’, yet throughout the course of the “Many faiths, one world” day at Hillyfield on Dartmoor, I feel that question was definitely answered.”

Sunday 29th March, reporting from the The Hillyfield, Dartmoor.

A day spent in the beautiful surroundings of an ancient Dartmoor woodland, DIFFY members feedback on the multitude of workshops which explored the connections between sustainability and spirituality.

Explore the post below to see the numerous activities us lot got up to and what we thought!

* Enchanted woodland walk with Doug King Smith (www.thehillyfield.co.uk)

* Sacred Sustainability workshop with Hal Gilmore

* Experiential Nature Connection workshop  with Chris Holland (http://www.wholeland.org.uk/

* Nature, Faith and Spirit Storytelling with Bev Smerdon

* Pagan Spirituality and  Ritual of the Land with Viannah Rain

* Dowsing and Earth Energy Workshop with Sean Ferris

“The event was an amazing experience that explored the relationship between spirituality and the Earth.”

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Bristol’s Diverse Doors Day 2015: Here’s what DIFFY members had to say…

“I loved how welcoming everybody was to each others faiths… I think all these unique religions developing is an insight into life’s beauty”

“I learned about other faith systems which enhanced my world view and gave me things to consider regarding my own beliefs.”

“In an increasingly secular society it was interesting to hear about how religions are conscious of local and international problems, how they are actively dealing with them, and that religion is still relevant today.”

“Seeing other religions in places of worship I wouldn’t ordinarily visit due to loyalty to my own faith was very interesting.”

“I gained insight into the connections, similarities and differences between different faiths.”

“I got to see people of faith in their place of worship so could experience the ‘feel’ or ‘vibe’ of the religion itself as well as find out about the beliefs of religions.”

“Learning about other faiths widens my arsenal of methods to perceive and communicate with God or spirituality. It also helps me to accept and understand my neighbours. This knowledge will help me to be more empathetic and considerate of others.”

“An amazing day. The talk given by the imam was one of the most interesting for me, as I learnt what terms like jihaad really meant. There simply is no better way to challenge stereotypes that exist to some extent in everyone’s heads than meeting the members of different religious communities. It was also great to see my DIFFY friends again!”

At a time of increasing extremism & negative media portrayals, an uplifting reminder of what religions are really about

21st February ’15

DIFFY MEMBERS HEAR THE VOICES OF BRISTOL’S RELIGIOUS LEADERS, EXPERIENCING THE SIGHTS, SOUNDS AND DELICIOUS FOOD OF THE CITY’S TEMPLES, CHURCHES, MOSQUES AND MORE!

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It was lovely to welcome several new members to DIFFY on the group’s adventure to Bristol to follow the city’s Faith Trail run as part of Bristol’s Annual Diverse Doors Open Day. Here’s what one DIFFY member had to say,

‘An amazing day. The talk given by the imam was one of the most interesting for me, as I learnt what terms like jihaad really meant. There simply is no better way to challenge stereotypes that exist to some extent in everyone’s heads than meeting the members of different religious communities. It was also great to see my DIFFY friends again!’

Here’s a summary of what us DIFFY lot got up to on Sunday.

What’s a Sikh temple actually like? Bristol’s Gurdwara warmly welcomed us, and following a short and illuminating talk on the fundamental principles of the Sikh religion, we explored the beautiful worship area and were treated to some fine Indian cuisine by the temple’s kitchens.

Next stop, founding out what Islam is really about. The term jihaad- who really knew that its true meaning is ‘struggle’, in the context of struggling to overcome our personal faults to better ourselves? We listened to the eloquent words of the imam of Easton Jamia mosque as he gave a potted history of Islam in Britain and an enlightening talk on the true principles of Islam. Wish more could have heard his words!

Bristol and West Progressive Synagogue- brill. talk from leader of Bristol’s progressive synagogue on Jewish on Jewish prayer and DIFFY and members of the public joined in singing a traditional Jewish tune, before moving on to…
The sights and sounds of the Bristol Hindu Temple- By the time DIFFY arrived, the temple was filled with people, many from the local Hindu community, and DIFFY got a photo with Bristol’s mayor!
Beautiful statues, incense clouding the air and perhaps the best food of the day?

Baha’i Centre- 
this religion has followers in every country in the world- a great chance to learn about one of the world’s most widespread religions.

St Nicholas of Tolentino R. C. Church- a Roman Catholic Church with a surprising twist. The congregation is made up of over 60 nationalities, mainly from Africa and India. Services are often given in Portugeuse and languages native to Africa and India, and beautiful African sculptures decorate the walls of this Church. Fascinating to look and to learn of the immense amount of work the Church does in supporting the immigrant community.

A FREE TRIP TO EXPERIENCE BRISTOL’S FAITH SCENE

A free trip to participate in Bristol’s ‘Diverse Doors’ faith trail event is being organised by Devon Interfaith Forum for Youth.

Fancy follow a fascinating ‘faith trail’ throughout the whole city, visiting beautiful Mosques, Temples, Churches and Synagogues, meeting members of the local communities, (and sometimes also being offered delicious food and snacks along the way!) ?

Why should I join DIFFY? A few words from current members…

“I love the fact that whenever you are able to join the group you can fit in and enjoy the amazing experiences that DIFFY has to offer.”

What would you say to encourage someone who is thinking of joining DIFFY to do so? “
Go for it!”
“I think some people get put off that it might be too much like school or think it’s only for people from minority faiths but you learn without realising and have so much fun, no matter what your background or prior knowledge you have of other faiths”.

To see images from last year’s trip, click here. DIFFY will be running the trip on Sunday 22nd February. Young people between the ages of 10-21 years from any faith background or none at all are welcome to join us.
For more information please email interfaith.youth.project@gmail.com

Sacred Sounds: Another resounding success

Saturday, 17th Jan

Following the popularity of the Sacred Sounds workshop last year, DIFFY decided to repeat the event, this time at Lupton House! The workshop aims to explore the power music has in unifying those of differing faiths and no faith through shared experiences. See below for snapshots of today’s amazing events!

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The DIFFY gathering joined in singing and playing instruments from a tremendous variety of religious music traditions including Hindu, Chrisitan, Jewish, Shinto, Buddhist and other religions. The eerily spiritual sounds of the didgeridoo, throat singing and rattles from Shamanistic traditions played or sung by the highly-travelled and talented Doug King Smith started off the day’s run of workshops.

Ami Lee then shared traditional Jewish songs and beautiful lullabies central to her Jewish heritage which the group joined her in singing. Following a short break, the uplifting rhythms of Hindu bhajans filled the air .

   “The day exceeded my expectations; I did not expect to do so many activities and was very surprised at the inclusive, communal atmosphere”. Ruby, DIFFY member

The Taiko drumming session led by Kagemusha Taiko club left everyone feeling re-energised and was an opportunity to gain an insight into the underlying religious philosophy. We were then entertained by traditional Hindu dancing and learnt of the story that the dancer’s actions expressed before learning the basic actions ourselves and joining in.

To round off the day was a warming workshop in devotional and gospel singing led by the beautiful singing of Susie Ro. The group sang a reworking of the melody of Amazing Grace, the day ending with everyone singing in harmony.

DIFFY’s leader, Marc, said, ‘Firstly, thank you all so much to everyone who came and made last week’s event one of the most spectacular so far. It was a truly incredible, rich, experience of musical offerings and for those who missed it – do not worry! We will hopefully (funding permitting) love to have this as a regular event, at least once a year.’