November 23, 2011
The Interfaith Week that Has Happened Somewhere Else -Cardiff
The Interfaith Week that Has Happened Somewhere Else
The idea of bringing believers of different faiths to one place and giving them chance to talk and share is fabulous. As long as this happens. The Interfaith Week in Cardiff might have taken place, but do not ask me where.
‘Interfaith Week arrives!’ shouts the website of the Cardiff University Students’ Union. The program was full of events: from down-to-earth tasting of different foods to panel discussion. I was really looking forward to taking part. Finally the Monday when everything was supposed to start arrived. Together with a friend we went to check the venue, but there were no signs, no people around. What made the situation worse, the date displayed at the chaplaincy that was supposed to be the venue differed from the one on the website. Gorgeous. Instead of getting to know the differences between Sikhism and Baha-I we had a walk. Not bad, but not entirely satisfying our appetites.
The second day seemed to be equally important: ‘Informal inter-faith chat’. Probably a chance to meet new people, having tea, thinking of what we could do together. I was almost feeling the cozy atmosphere while heading to the venue. How bitter the disappointment was… Welcoming atmosphere was reduced to an advertisement on the door: ‘The Inter-faith chat postponed. We are at the lecture in the National Museum Wales’. That is really brilliant, but who are ‘we’? And postponed to when? I felt as if someone was playing dirty games with me. Again, I had an evening bike-ride, listened to calming music of Olafur Arnalds, but did not feel richer in any inter-faith experience.
Some people ‘Third time is a charm’. I arrived at 1:00 pm sharp and presented myself with the most wonderful smile I could produce to people who have been playing with me for the last three days. Rang the bell. An absolutely stunning blond female student opens the door and smiles millions of times nicer than me. ‘I’m saved’ I thought. ‘Well, interfaith group, they might be somewhere around’ she said. We went upstairs and downstairs, but apparently they decided to be very interfaith closed and did not appear at all. I was offered a tea in the Anglican chaplaincy. Well, kind of interfaith, but not exactly what I was expecting.