Celebrating Commonality - Celebrating Differences
A project supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).
The PEACE IV Programme is a unique cross-border initiative of the European Union which has been designed to support peace and reconciliation in the border Region of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The Peace IV Programme will build upon the experience of previous programmes by tackling the remaining challenges that exist in building positive relationships and developing shared spaces. The programme places a strong emphasis on promoting cross-community relations and understanding to create a more cohesive society.
What is Celebrating Commonality ~ Celebrating Difference about?
Under PEACE IV small grants scheme Churches Trust have been successful in obtaining funding for a project which fits within Building Positive Relations priority area.
This is a community education programme, the aim of which is to bring participants from various faith traditions and none, within the Derry City & Strabane District, and Donegal Council areas, who will together explore the Abrahamic Faiths primarily in context of the commonalities and differences between Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
The project through a series of workshops, presentations, talks, interactive exercises and study visits, creates an opportunity to develop meaningful and sustained contact between people from perceived different community and faith tradition backgrounds
What does the programme cover?
The programme covers the following over a series of workshops and study visits:
The Abrahamic Faiths in Context
Judaism – Underlying ethos and basic beliefs
Christianity – Underlying ethos and basic beliefs
Islam – Underlying ethos and basic beliefs
Concepts of Good Relations, Diversity, Prejudice and Discrimination
The Shared Ethics in the Abrahamic traditions.
Who is the programme for?
It is open to people of all faiths and none, from across the community in the Derry and Strabane District Council area, and from Donegal.
If interested in this programme please contact Fiona Fagan at The Churches Trust.
Tel: 028 71 311322
WHAT DO WE DO?
In April 2018 a group of 20 people were accepted onto the first year of the programme.
We have recruited a diverse group from Judaism, Christianity (Catholic and Protestant), Islam and other communities. Participants are from Derry City & Strabane and Donegal Council areas. People from diverse community backgrounds are learning from each other and respect the cultures and traditions of all present. Many participants acknowledged that they had limited knowledge of other faith traditions and are very keen to learn, both from the facilitators and from each other.
Participants were invited to take an OCN Level 2 Award in Diversity and Good Relations which involves exploring diversity, identity, prejudice and discrimination.
The core programme content involves exploring the underlying ethos and principles of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, with a view to appreciating the commonalities, celebrating the differences, and dispelling myths.
To date, the group have attended six workshops (delivered by the Junction, namely Maureen Hetherington, Seamus Farrell and Johnston McMaster), two study visits, and taken in a trip to the theatre to see the famed and hilarious ‘The Bog Couple’.
The study visit included:
A guided tour of The Story of Derry, in the Tower Museum
A visit to the North West Islamic Association (NWIA) in Derry where participants met members of the NWIA, observed some of their religious practice, shared food together, and discussed the Islamic faith tradition openly.
A visit to Letterkenny including a talk on the history and heritage of the Christian faith tradition in Letterkenny
A presentation from a member of the Letterkenny Islamic Association on Islamic culture
A visit to the Letterkenny Islamic Association where we were greeted by a number of members of the community and shared traditional teas and confectionary.
We are now preparing for our final study visit to Belfast during March and will have a celebratory event in April to mark the success of the programme.
This programme will be repeated from May 2019 to April 2020. We will be recruiting 25 people to participate. Due to the success of the first programme, there are already a significant number of people interested in taking part. We do have a number of spaces available so feel free to register.