A creative and friendly inter-faith dynamic continues in the parish of Small Heath, Birmingham. The Hussainia Mosque and All Saints’ Church plan to host a day of lectures on the subject of Mary – a figure of great prominence in both faiths – on 28 May. Talks on the infancy narratives and Mary and the Passion will be given, along with others on the subject of ‘Mary in her own right’ and ‘Mary, custodian of the Divine Word’. It is hoped that the day-long event will provide a time of community fellowship and friendship, and a time to learn from two different faith-perspectives. Confirmed speakers are Dr Margaret Barker, author of Temple Theology; Shaykh Arif Abdul Hussain, Director of the Al-Mahdi Institute; Safia Tharoo, barrister; and the Rt Revd Dr Martin Warner, Bishop of Chichester. In addition there will be time to talk informally and to enjoy lunch, which will reflect the rich variety of cuisines available in this diverse part of Birmingham.
This event is one of a series of occasions in which the two communities have come together to share in each other’s life and work in the area. Most recently, volunteers from the Hussainia Mosque have given valued support to the Winter Night Shelter at All Saints’, and both communities have shared in tours of their respective places of worship. Members of both faith groups have taken part in activities and fasting during Lent and Ramadan, and continue in their commitment to share as closely as possible the mutual service of the people of Small Heath.
In addition, the event forms part of a larger series of shared meals and conversations known as the Small Heath Table, in which people from a large range of religious backgrounds and traditions are represented. This group meets on a monthly basis, with the intention of maximising the potential for good discussion and friendship.
Both the Hussainia Youth Committee and All Saints’ Church Small heath extend a warm and cordial invitation to all to share in this opportunity to grow in understanding and knowledge of a figure deeply honoured by both faiths. Anthony Murley