Interfaith week for Academy students
Waltham Toll Bar Academy hosted an Interfaith Week Panel last week, with Year Six pupils from Utterby Primary Academy and North Thoresby Primary Academy Year 7 and 8 students from Waltham Toll Bar Academy joined for a Q&A panel with the representatives of several faiths and worldviews.
The event saw representatives from different religious communities encouraging students to start a conversation about their various faiths.
The panel included Rev. Patricia Barlow from the Anglican Christian Church, Methodist Minister Rev. Margaret Asiedu, Humanist Kate Harrison, British Muslim Shereen Alankar, Peter Altoft from the Reform Jewish community, Kevin Nightingale representing orthodox Judaism, and Dr Anupam Sinha representing Hinduism.
Waltham’s Head of Humanities Mr Liam Walker said: “We set the event up as a way to celebrate this year’s Interfaith Week by bringing in different voices from the local community to discuss what religious and non-religious worldviews mean to them by interacting with wide range of religious and non-religious worldviews.”
While some explained that they were born into their faith, others explained to the students how they found their faith through others, as Humanist Kate Harrison explained that she was introduced to Humanism later in life, and Shereen Alankar met someone at college who was Muslim and it sparked her interest.
Kevin Nightingale described how orthodox Judaism differs. “We have hundreds of commandments to live by and are taught to wear our hair and clothes a certain way in order to keep our faith, but essentially they all give the same message, to be the best person you can be.”
Mr Walker added: “We also wanted to be able to give students an authentic and first-hand understanding and experience of various lived belief systems, many of which they may not have interacted with before or not realise are in their local community in an effort to increase understanding, respect and tolerance.”
Mrs Julie Childs of the primary academies said: “We want to thank everyone at Waltham Toll Bar Academy for making us feel so welcome. It was a great afternoon and we very much hope to be involved with projects like this in the future.”