Interfaith Best Practice How to Approach Other Faith Communities
With the Mitzvah Day 2021 launch announcing that the theme this year is Togetherness we were honoured and thrilled to bring together interfaith friends from across the religious spectrum for an open, honest and intimate conversation on how best to reach out to different faith communities.
Due to Covid-19 we have been forced apart and now we have reunited with family and friends it is time to reach out to people from all faiths and backgrounds to come together and make a difference in our neighbourhoods, supporting local causes.
Here are our top tips on how to make Mitzvah Day 2021 a success and to connect with our theme this year of Togetherness as “This Mitzvah Day We’re Together!”
If you are thinking about approaching a Church to partner with on a social action project you could just “knock on the door” as suggested by one longstanding Mitzvah Day coordinator or approach the local area Dean who will have insider local knowledge of the area. One such Dean is Reverend Julie Gittoes of St Mary & Christ Church in Hendon who reiterated how open churches are to work with other faith groups, as she said, “our neighbours are our business”, Rev Julie saw the themes of her faith based social action as that of “shared hope, service, work and success” and she reiterated “please make an invitation as you will be greeted with warmth”.
Another suggestion was to contact the local branch of the Council of Christians and Jews as they may have wonderful pre-established interfaith relationships between churches and synagogues in your vicinity.
There is a plethora of resources at our fingertips so consider contacting the National Church Leaders Forum who represent the black majority churches in the UK. Churches together in Britain & Ireland is another useful organisation in connecting with a local church for Mitzvah Day this year.
Please consider extending your network and working with one of these community churches this Mitzvah Day.
Marcia Dixon MBE advised that we look at what is already going on in our local area with the vital work street pastors do and offering to assist with one of their existing social action programmes.
What about the local Muslim community? How should we engage with our neighbourhood mosques?
A good friend of Mitzvah Day, Akeela Ahmed MBE, who also works with Nisa-Nashim, advised that as most mosques are run by volunteers a direct approach can sometimes be unresponsive so consider reaching out to local interfaith networks first as they have established partners and relationships we can tap into. Akeela described interfaith social action as the “lifeblood of communities” reaching out at these testing times post-Covid to our neighbours will be greeted with enthusiasm and warmth.
Beautifully as we closed Rabbi Jeff Berger encouraged us all to “open your heart to take a first step for a shared vision”.
Let’s take these brilliant recommendations forward with us, this year especially, as we plan our Mitzvah Day projects. It’s time to knock on doors, pick up our phones and send some emails to see what our local faith community neighbours are already doing and to see how we can support these initiatives and join them for a Mitzvah Day to remember on the 21st of November!
Make sure to register here and remember the Mitzvah Day team are here to support you and are just a phone call, email or Zoom call away.