On Thursday, May 2nd the first multi-faith Clergy Informal “Standing Together” took place at A Taste of Sahara Restaurant on Western Road. Sponsored by Brighton & Hove City Council through the Faith Council’s “Combatting Faith Hate Partnership” the event invited clergy and faith leaders from across the city to meet each other in an informal social setting. The purpose is to enable faith leaders to discuss internal or external stresses upon their faith communities, helping form closer bonds of ‘fellowship’ assisting one another in matters of persecution or discrimination and explore possible collaboration or partnerships in new or prospective social action projects.
Hosted by BHFA Trustees, Metropolitan Jerome of Selsey, Sabri Ben Ameur and Simon Lewis the guests reflected something of the diversity of the city’s faith community. Fr John Habib of the Coptic Orthodox Church based in Davigdor Road, Hove was joined by Imam Uthman from Al-Medinah Mosque just around the corner from the restaurant; the Revd Michael Hydes pastor of The Village Metropolitan Community Church based in Kemptown came, as did Gen Kelsang Thekchen the ordained monk in residence at the Bodhisattva Kadampa Buddhist Centre. Rabbi, Dr Andrea Zanardo of the Reformed Synagogue and Rabbi Samuel de Beck Spitzer of Hove Hebrew Congregation sent apologies it being Yom HaShoah, the Jewish remembrance of the Nazi Holocaust.
After introductions and greetings, discussion ensued about the backgrounds and experiences of clerical colleagues before their move to Brighton & Hove. With Ramadan about to start, a lively and interesting discussion was had about the differing fasting practices observed between the faiths represented. The upcoming Faith Tour was also discussed with commitments made for participating venues.
The next Clergy Informal will take place in July, the date and venue to be announced!