Concord is one of the oldest interfaith groups in the UK, founded 40 years ago. It exists to foster friendship, trust, tolerance, understanding and co-operation among members of the faith communities of multi-cultural Leeds.
The group also works closely with the Leeds Faith Forum
and is affiliated to the national Interfaith Network for the UK.
Concord is a registered Charity with a secretary, treasurer and executive committee.
Some of the faiths Concord brings together:
Baha'is, Brahma Kumaris, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Pagans, Sikhs and others.
Its aims are:
- to advance public knowledge and mutual understanding of the teachings, traditions and practices of the different faith communities in the Leeds Metropolitan District, and to nurture respect and friendly relations by facilitating interfaith dialogue and organising educational and cultural events;
- to promote and to work for justice, peace and social harmony for the public benefit in the multi-cultural Leeds Metropolitan District by advocacy, by focused public events and projects, and by co-operating with other organisations that have similar objectives.
Women Peace-ing Together
Our Women Peace-ing Together Project
continues, and has had a webpage revamp - Check it out
Baha'i Ethics in Contemporary Society
On 29th June, Dr Shahin Fatheazam
spoke, to a packed meeting room of Concord members and
guests, about Baha'i Ethics in Contemporary Society. An
engaging presentation that led to lots of discussion in the
subsequent Q&A, and during refreshments afterwards.
Salaam at Concord's AGM 2017
On 17th May once the formal matters
of the AGM were over, including re-election of the Executive
Board Members and minor amendments to the constitution, we
were joined by Hilary Curwen and Salma Arif of the Leeds
Branch of Nisa-Nashim (Jewish Muslim Womens Network) whose
talk "Shalom - Salaam" described the branch's formation and
the events and initiatives they have been privileged to
participate in since. They also looked to the future and
what increased dialogue and understanding between the two
faiths could mean, including the possibility of discussing
the "difficult" questions.
The Interfaith River
Dennis Hallam, a Buddhist member of
Concord now living in Chopwell, near Newcastle, has sent us
a copy of this picture that he has composed to give symbolic
expression to the unity of faiths. The Latin title means
‘Holy rivers all flow into one sea of love.’
He explains the elements of the
Consciousness (God the Father, Tao, Brahma, the Void
etc) is represented by the white
area at the
centre. (In case anyone thinks it looks like a Zionist
takeover, the shape also represents the source of all
phenomena in one of the Hindu faiths);
Life (Holy Spirit, the One, dancing Shiva, the Fiery
Aether etc) is represented by the
Love is represented by the "landscape", with its avatars
and prophet, in which the
spiritual journey is represented by water in its circuit
from ocean back to ocean.
Along the bottom are the names of founders and prophets of
the major faiths.
Click here to
get a full size version that can be printed.
There is much food for thought in this image, which repays
attention to its details. We are grateful to Dennis for
making it available to us.
|In Loving Memory
Dr Hamed Pakrooh died on Saturday 6th of May following a
year long battle with cancer. He was a long term,
highly respected, and very active member of Leeds Baha'i
community representing the Faith in many capacities.
He was a member of the Board of Leeds Faiths Forum, and
Chair of Concord for four terms.
prayers were said for him and his family (his wife Farah, his
daughters Azita and Mina, his son Ramin, his seven
grandchildren, his two son-in-laws and his daughter-in-law)
by Leeds Local Assembly.
Muslim Life in Britain
On 27th April, Concord Members were welcomed into Leeds
Language Academy to hear Dr Hakan Gok talk to us about
Muslim Life in Britain. "Ken", as he asked us to call him,
has an interesting, and maybe atypical, view of this topic,
as his background and upbringing are firmly rooted in his
former home countryof Turkey. In contrast, he believes
Muslim Life in Britain is good, and went on to detail why -
the things that we often take for granted, and can be often
heard to moan about, are the things that make his "new" home
country, Britain, good!
However, Muslim Life in Britain is
not perfect, but it is better than some of the stories Ken
shared with us about Muslims who are effectively trapped and
detained in Turkey for having views that do not follow those
of the ruling party. The audience raised a number of stories
where Muslim Life in Britain was far from perfect,
specifically the increase instances of Islamophobia
post-Brexit Referendum. Ken asked us to strive towards
tackling these issues head on and improving Britain even
further by "doing our bit" to bring knowledge, awareness and
understanding to the authorities and politicians in order to
make "our country" even better.
This was another departure for
Concord with a focus very different from our normal
meetings. A thought provoking evening, that will hopefully
have attendees reaching for their pens.
The Workplace, Spirituality &
March, Concord members were welcomed into All Hallows Church
in Hyde Park to hear the Revd Dr David Randolph Horn discuss
his PhD research, "Spirituality at Work, an Inter Religious
David's research was hinged on the
fact that the 2011 census showed that the number of
religious adherents had fallen to about half of the
population, so what about the other half? His research
explored spirituality as something that both religious and
non-religious individuals experience, and how this impacts
upon their daily life, their behaviours and values,
including in their place of work.
David endeavoured to let the research
participants define what they meant by the term Spirituality
rather than impose definitions, especially when it is
notoriously difficult to define, and means different things
to different people.
Attendance was varied, reflecting the
variety of individuals interested in David's research. An
absorbing and stimulating evening was had by all.
Brahma Kumari Ethics in
On 21st February members of Concord were welcomed into the
Brahma Kumari Centre Centre on Otley Road to listen to Dr
David Goodman speak about Ethics in Contemporary Society
from a Brahma Kumari perspective. With the help of Jane Kay,
a fellow Brahma Kumari, asking thoughtful questions of him,
David discussed how Brahma Kumaris aim to embody their
ethics, the virtues that all should aspire to when "in a
relationship" with divinity, be they Brahma Kumaris or not.
He also noted how contemporary society has distracted us
from being virtuous, and from being ethical.
Jane brought the meeting too a close
with a recitation of the "Paradoxical Commandments", as
found on the wall of Shishu Bhavan, Mother Teresa's
children's home in Calcutta.
& Beyond in Sikhism & Quakerism
On 16th January, Concord members and
guests met with Professor Bakshish Singh (Sikh - Left) and
Robert Keeble (Quaker - Right) to discuss Death and Beyond
from the perspectives of Sikhism and Quakerism, at the Sikh
Temple on Chapeltown Road. This meeting was probably the
largest we've seen for an "ordinary" Concord meeting.
Robert, a life-long Quaker and Elder
from the Carlton Hill Meeting House, gave the Friends'
perspective - where there is no set doctrine on death, but
by considering death people can live life to the full.
Similarly, there are no set funeral services but Friends try
to meet the wishes of the bereaved family. This often goes
above and beyond the Quaker tradition of shared silence,
with a memorial meeting where the life of the deceased is
celebrated. Cremation is now the norm, but there are three
Quaker burial grounds in Leeds.
Professor Singh referred to the sikh
scriptures, the Guru Granth Sahib, which explain the law of
karma, reincarnation, and transmigration of the soul towards
union with God. Funeral Services can vary, but cremation is
the accepted tradition, with the ashes being scattered into
flowing water. There are usually eight days of prayers for
the deceased, and for visitis from friends and family.
Anniversary commemorative book available to purchase
A Leeds Interfaith Story 1946-2016
Written by a team including Trevor Bates, Primrose Agbamu, Cynthia Dickinson , John Moreton & John Summerwill (with contributions from Concord members)
283 A5 pages in full colour - 238 illustrations
This substantial and unique book, published to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Concord, tells the story of the different faith communities in Leeds and of the key individuals who have promoted interfaith relationships.
Copyright ©2017 Concord (Leeds
Inter-faith Fellowship). All Rights Reserved.
Registered Charity No.: