Annual Shared Meal – 2014

8th February 2014
Annual Shared Meal

On a pleasant Saturday evening AIG gathered for the annual shared meal at Altrincham Grammar School for Boys. After a brief introduction by Father John Rafferty, the Chairman of AIG, prayers were said by representatives of the various faith communities. Kosher and Halal starters and main courses had been prepared by the Jewish and Moslem ladies – perhaps some men had helped ? As always, this was wonderful homemade food that looked, smelt and tasted delicious. At the end of the evening a warm round of applause was given to all the people who had prepared the food, especially mentioned were the Moslem ladies who had worked hard together to feed so many people even though they were unable to attend the dinner because they were at a family wedding.

Father John introduced Chief Superintendent Jim Liggett, the Police Divisional Commander for Trafford. He said how wonderful it was that a community could come together to share in a meal in such a way. The previous weekend he had been in Paris for the rugby international and that evening supporters of each side gathered together in the bars to discuss the match and previous games without any animosity just as good neighbours can.

The Mayor of Trafford, Councillor Dylan Butt, congratulated Interfaith Group on their activities throughout the year. Appreciating that he had gone to some trouble to attend the dinner, the gathered group gave him a very warm round of applause.

The main speaker for the evening was The Reverend Bill Darlison, President of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches. He spoke of his experience of interfaith communities and the way that they build on trust and deepen understanding.

The young people had been occupied with coloured scraper boards on which they produced elaborate and interesting pictures.

After the speeches, desserts were served. These had been prepared by the Christian community and each dish was carefully labelled with its ingredients so that everyone’s dietary needs were cared for. At the end of the meal, the evening ended with groups of people from various groups in conversation with each other.


The Alf Keeling Memorial Lecture 2013

Carolyn Jones, Hon. Secretary of AIG writes :-

More than 70 friends of Altrincham Interfaith Group attended the Alf Keeling Memorial Lecture which this year was given by Christine Morgan, a charming lady who is Head of Radio, BBC Religion and Ethics, and she spoke on Religious Broadcasting in a Pluralistic Society.

Christine Morgan with Mrs Ann Keeling

She drew very much on her own 26 years’ experience at the BBC, explaining how it had changed during the time she had been there. In 1987, when she arrived, there was almost no diversity of voices in the BBC’s religious content and it started to change just about around that time with the Muslim response to Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses and the realisation that Muslim voices needed to be heard. Now she has the challenge of multifaith broadcasting, with the first Interfaith Service broadcast in 1991, and has the aim of providing ethnic minorities with equal rights. Although churchgoing and organised religion has declined, in her experience most people still believe in God and the BBC provides a range of programmes catering for all faiths and needs, reflecting the religious makeup of Britain without stereotyping. She pointed out that religion is a living force, shaping the world in many issues. 

There were many questions after her talk ranging from the timing of religious programmes to the proportion of time devoted to different religious groups.  Everyone enjoyed the evening, and it was a very appropriate tribute to the life and work of Alf Keeling who did so much to establish Altrincham Interfaith Group.