A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
Inter Faith Week. An annual event to 21 November, Inter Faith Week 2021 in England, Northern Ireland and Wales: highlights the good work done by local faith, inter faith and faith-based groups and organisations; draws new people into inter faith learning and cooperation; enables greater interaction between people of different backgrounds; helps develop integrated and neighbourly communities; celebrates diversity and commonality; and opens new possibilities for partnership. The three aims of the Week are: strengthening good inter faith relations at all levels; increasing awareness of the different and distinct faith communities in the UK, in particular celebrating and building on the contribution which their members make to their neighbourhoods and to wider society; and increasing understanding between people of religious and non-religious beliefs. Anyone can take part in Inter Faith Week and hold Inter Faith Week events. Some of the many kinds of organisations that have participated in previous Weeks include: faith communities and their places of worship; community and voluntary groups such as the North Somerset BME Network and the North Somerset Faith, Community and Cultural Forum; inter faith bodies; youth groups and schools; institutions of further and higher education including the Bristol Students Union Multifaith Network and the Bath Spa University Students Union; local authorities such as North Somerset Council and other public agencies; sports organisations; museums; businesses and workplaces; TV and radio stations; and many others. This year, the Bath Inter Faith Group had an inter faith reflections Hindu/Christian conversation on COP26. St Mary’s Anglican Church, Cardiff arranged a Remembrance Sunday inter faith gathering. The Cardiff Bahá’í Community and the Interfaith Council for Wales (Cyngor Rhyng-ffydd Cymru) will hold an inter faith devotional on the theme of the environment and us in Cardiff on 17 November. The Castle School, Taunton will celebrate diversity by having a week of virtual classroom visits from faith leaders. Image: policechaplaincy.uk.
Remembrance Sunday. In the UK, an annual commemoration of the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts, held at 11 am on the Sunday nearest to the 11 November Armistice Day. It is marked by ceremonies at local War Memorials in most cities, towns and villages, attended by civic dignitaries, ex-servicemen and women including members of the Royal British Legion and other veterans’ organisations, members of local armed forces regular and reserve units, military cadet forces and youth organisations including the YMCA, Scouts, Boys’ Brigade, Girls’ Brigade and Guides. Representatives of the Judiciary also lay wreaths at local War Memorials throughout the country. Wreaths of Remembrance poppies are laid on the Memorials and a two-minute silence is held at 11am, church bells usually being rung half-muffled to create a sombre effect. At 95, The Queen intended to view the service at the Cenotaph from a balcony on Whitehall, as she has done in recent years, but a back strain prevented this. A Remembrance Day parade of veterans, cadet forces and civilian organisations takes place from Weston High Street to Grove Park at 10:25 am. To lay two wreaths, members of the North Somerset BME Network accepted the invitation to march with the parade as participants. Weston Town Council hosts the Service for Remembrance Sunday at the War Memorial in Grove Park starting at 10:45 am, remembering people from Weston who lost their lives in the Great War and conflicts since then. Last year, the event was filmed the day before and broadcast online to keep people safe during the time of Covid-19. This year, there will be no live broadcast or large screen in Grove Park, previously provided by the Weston Branch of The Royal British Legion, which was formed on 15 May 1921 to bring together four national organisations of ex-servicemen that were supporting those who had suffered as a result of service during the First World War. A Field of Remembrance is provided at the War Memorial in Grove Park where crosses and personal tributes may be placed preceding and following the Service. The Remembrance Sunday service is held at the Memorial Gate in High Street, Worle at 10:50 am, led by Yvonne Criddle, a reader at St Martin’s Church, on behalf of The Royal British Legion. At 10:55 am, the Exeter Act of Remembrance is at the Devon County War Memorial on the Exeter Cathedral Green, before the 11:45 am Service of Remembrance in the Cathedral Nave. Remembrance Day was first observed throughout the British Commonwealth in 1919 and was originally called Armistice Day to commemorate the armistice agreement that ended the First World War on Monday, 11 November 1918, at 11 am, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Uniting the whole country in a moment of contemplation required organisation, as clock times were not fully standardised throughout the UK, and so church bells were rung. The minutiae of everyday life ceased completely in what was described as a great awful silence. There were no instructions about where people should observe the silence but most chose to go outdoors to stand silently in a public place, something seen again last year outside homes due to Covid-19. Although there were church services from 1919, Remembrance Day was then largely secular and a day for looking forward, with meetings throughout the country in support of the 1920-46 League of Nations. Other Remembrance Day traditions developed quickly and in 1920 the Unknown Warrior was buried in Westminster Abbey. Features that are now central to the day’s commemorations are the 1920 Whitehall Cenotaph, the 11 o’clock silence with bowed heads and wreath-laying. Image: go.walsall.gov.uk.
Prayer O God of truth and justice, we hold before You those people who have been injured or who have died on active service. As we honour their courage and cherish their memory, may we all today put our faith in Your future; for You are the source of life, peace and hope, now and for ever. Amen
Devutthana Ekadashi. To 15 November, fasting day devoted to Goddess Ekadashi, who pleased Vishnu and was named by Him. Observed on every 11 Tithi (तिथि, day in the lunar fortnight) in the Hindu calendar. There are two Ekadashi fasting days in a month, one during the Shukla Paksha waxing lunar fortnight and another during the Krishna Paksha waning fortnight. Devotees of Lord Vishnu observe Ekadashi fasting to seek His blessings and the fasting spans three days. Devotees take a single meal on the afternoon of the day before the fasting day to ensure no residual food in the stomach on the next day. Devotees then keep a strict fast on Ekadashi day and break the fast after sunrise the following day. The eating of all types of grains and cereals is prohibited during Ekadashi fasting and devotees can choose to observe fasting without water, with only water, with only fruits or with a single food, according to their willpower. However, this should be decided before starting the fast. At times, Ekadashi fasting is suggested on two consecutive days for staunch devotees who seek the love and affection of Lord Vishnu. Image: clickastro.com.