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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.

Upcoming Events and Recent News

Faith Perspectives on Gender Issues

September's meeting broke with tradition and brought together four speakers from our Executive Board to outline and discuss their varied faith perspectives on gender issues. Jay Anderson discussed the wide variety of pagan taditions, and how they may perceive gender issues across a wide spectrum, from traditional roles for the sexes, with binary opposition of gender, through to the more liberal traditions that atre fully inclusive of those who identify as LGBT+. Ustadh Adam Aslam acknowledged that the majority of Muslims hold traditional views about ther distinct roles for men and women. However, he went on to say that in universities the topic of sexuality is being hotly debated amonst Muslim students, and that there is room for a diversity of views on gender issues, where the scriptures are not always seen as absolute, and open for interpretation. Gurmukh Singh Deagon said that Sikhs do not talk about private sexual matters, so LGBT+ identities are not acknowledged, but that there should be respect and dignity for all. Dr David Goodman explored Brahma Kumari understandings of the relationship between the soul, which is genderless, and the body through which it has to function. When we get beyond gender we can be respectful of all gender differences and similarities and transcend them. The subsequent discussion covered a wide range of related, and pertinent topics. There was general agreement, by the end of the evening, that this session had been a good starting point for a bigger discussion that is needed, and to which we must return.

 

An Afternoon in Sheffield

On 9th August, eleven members of Concord boarded a minibus for a visit to two of Sheffield's interfaith buildings, Burngreave Ashram and Shirley House.

At Burngreave Ashram we were welcomed by Revd Deacon Andrew Crowley of Sheffield Interfaith, Nirmal Fernando and the Revd Dr John Vincent. We were taken into their multifaith library in the basement, where we had tea, biscuits and a talk about the Ashram and it's wide variety of activities.

We then made our way across the city by minibus to Shirley House, on Psalter lane, next to St Andrew's, an Anglican-Methodist Church, where we were met by the Revd Gareth Jones, Caroline Cripps (Chair of the Shirley House Interfaith Centre), and several of the Christian, Jewish. Muslim and Pagan members.They talked about the diversity of faiths and faith buildings in the city, as well as the various events held at Shirley House. We were well fed with Pizza, salad and desserts before we headed back to Leeds.

 

Faith, Refugees and Asylum Seekers

On 10th July, the Revd Dr David Randolph-Horn chaired the meeting looking at personal experiences of Refugees and Asylum Seekers. His introduction to the evening brought the work of AJAR (Asylum Justice and Release) to the attention of those present. Our first speaker was Ntambwe Nkomo (from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)), who told his harrowing tale from university activist in his home country in the late 1990s, through his journey to England and the subsequent long drawn out process of seeking asylum, which even now is still ongoing! The second story was not of a first hand account from a refugee and asylum seeker, but from Ustadh Adam Aslam recounting the journey made by his grandfather from India in the late 1940s to the newly created Pakistan, and then onto England. Our final, short contribution came from Mustafah who is experiencing continued difficulties with the Home Office including them placing him in Leeds miles away from his friends and his support network in London. He is also awaiting their decision about his latest claim for asylum, following earlier claims being denied.

As is often the case, the contributions inspired some probing questions - of us, this time rather than our speakers. How do we respond to people with "bad attitudes" towards refugees and asylum seekers? How do we dispel the myths and give correct information? What was the purpose of this meeting? Are we just listening to stories, or are we prepared to help? Food for thought.

 

Women Peace-ing Together Update

Our Women Peace-ing Together Project continues, and has had a webpage revamp - Check it out here.

 

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.

Shalom - 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.

Concord's 40th Anniversary commemorative book available to purchase

A Leeds Interfaith Story 1946-2016

BookWritten 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.

 

Purchase:

 

Copyright ©2018 Concord (Leeds Inter-faith Fellowship). All Rights Reserved.

Registered Charity No.: 516339