Published on 10th November 2014

Group of people doing origami

- Wednesday 19 November, 7pm to 9.30pm at the University of Gloucestershire, Park Campus, (Room TC007)

‘Faith and Compassion’, an event celebrating and raising awareness of Cheltenham’s different faith communities will be held on Wednesday 19 November, from 7pm to 9.30pm.

Everyone is welcome to attend the event at the university’s Park Campus (in Room TC007) which has been organised by Cheltenham Inter Faith, Cheltenham Borough Council and the University of Gloucestershire.

‘Faith and Compassion’ is part of the Inter Faith Week, a national annual event now in its sixth year and which runs from 16 to 23 November this year. The aim is for faith and non-faith communities to come together to celebrate, learn more about each other and have fun, in order to strengthen good inter-faith relations and increase understanding between people of religious and non-religious beliefs.

Peter Slocombe, chair of Cheltenham Inter Faith says: "There has never been a more important time for accurate knowledge of religions and the positive way they contribute to society. Our Inter Faith evening gives everyone a chance to extend a hand of friendship and understanding."

Stephen Marston, Vice Chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire, will open the event that this year is coincides with Mitzvah day, a Jewish tradition.

To link in with the faith and compassion theme, the Inter Faith planning team are using the event to decorate and pack shoe boxes with donations. These will then be given to individuals who are supported by Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers, Cheltenham Open Door and Oakley Neighbourhood Project.

The Inter Faith planning team welcome donations on the night of:
• toiletries
• hats, scarfs, gloves, etc.
• confectionery
• tinned food, especially tinned soup
• mugs and cups in good condition
• shoe boxes
• materials to decorate shoe boxes

To end the event, members of each faith will share a poem, story, reading or prayer around the importance of care and compassion in their faith. There will also be a multi cultural buffet and people attending are asked to bring a dish to share.

Helen Down, Cheltenham Partnerships team leader from Cheltenham Borough Council, says: “This is a great opportunity for faiths to come together and do something positive together for the local community.”

Jo Parkin, Chaplain for the University of Gloucestershire said: “We hope that this year’s event will be both inspiring and challenging as we explore how different faith traditions relate to the theme of compassion – how we walk alongside those who are marginalised, struggling or in pain. We are also fortunate this year to be joined by representatives from three local charities – Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers, Cheltenham Open Door and Oakley Neighbourhood Project, and look forward to learning more about their work.”

Anyone is welcome to attend this free event. For more details please contact Helen Down on 01242 774960 or Jo Parkin on 01242 724593.

For press enquiries contact: Kelly Carter, communications officer, telephone 01242 264154, email [email protected]

Find out more about Inter Faith Week here

Mitzvah day is the Jewish community's global annual day of social action and giving where thousands upon thousands of participants give their time, making a huge difference to a range of people, causes and charities throughout the year.