Afternoon Tea Party -19th May

On a lovely sunny afternoon, over 70 people from diverse faiths gathered at Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College in Altrincham to share food and friendship. It was wonderful to see people from different faiths and cultures chatting together and sharing a most delicious tea brought by those attending.
Everyone was welcomed by the AIG Chair, Elinor Chohan, after which prayers were said by members of the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Baha’i faiths before plates of sandwiches, savouries and cakes were brought in to enjoy. Then the Guest speaker, Dr Mona Dillon from the Baha’i community gave an address entitled “Different Religions – One Purpose” in which she stated the ideals of religion including forging good character, promoting the search for truth and betterment of the world by instilling compassion and tolerance. She said that true religion should be in harmony with science and stressed the oneness of humankind, thus invalidating all past notions of the superiority of any race, sex
or nationality. She emphasised the importance of the contribution of other religions and their prophets who awakened in whole populations the capacity to love, to forgive, to sacrifice for the common good and to discipline the impulses of humanity’s baser instincts.
The Baha’i faith has endeavoured to extend this and to build communities that are founded on the oneness of humanity, and to engage in social action with the aim of advancing society. Her final inspiring sentence was to quote the words of Bahá’u’lláh, founder of the Baha’i faith “The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens”, something we could all do well to remember.
We were also privileged to hear Karen Wilson speak to us in her role as Deputy Lieutenant, “the Eyes and Ears of the Monarchy”. She noted how King Charles had described himself as Defender of all Faiths, rather than one, and pledged to protect multiple faiths in diverse communities. At his Coronation, he was greeted by representatives of other faiths – the first time this had happened, and he is continuing his vision of interfaith work. It is wonderful, she said, to have a Monarch that pushes forward with interfaith dialogue, and she described
the work of Altrincham Interfaith Group as being immensely powerful, and a force to help with change.
After those uplifting addresses, Elinor Chohan, AIG Chair, briefly described AIG activities over the past year and then Ann Angel, Vice-Chair, promoted future events and the afternoon came to an end. It really was a very inspiring day, enjoyed by all.