E-bulletin June 2021
This is a web version of IFN's June 2021 E-bulletin. A PDF version of this and past bulletins can be found here.
You can navigate to particular sections/articles using the links below.
- Faith and public life updates
- Inter Faith Network for the UK News
- Inter faith projects and developments
- Resources and study/training
- Calls for information, competitions and nominations
- Jobs, internships and volunteering
- Funding opportunities
- Special Weeks/Days
- Diary Dates
Faith and public life updates
- COVID-19 and faith community response to local needs
- Faith communities and vaccination
- COVID-19 and safe use of places of worship
- Building back from COVID-19
- Thank You Day - 4 July
- Faith communities, climate change and the environment
- Hate crime and overseas event impacts
- Places of worship and security
- Anniversary of murder of George Floyd
- Religious education in schools
- Update on incident at Batley Grammar School
- Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill
Inter Faith Network for the UK News
- The Faith Communities Forum
- IFN link meetings for local inter faith groups in Yorkshire and the Humber and South East England
- IFN UK meeting with inter faith linking bodies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
- Inter Faith Week 14 to 21 November
- Come Together Appeal
Inter faith projects and developments
- Council of Christians and Jews Inclusion and Diversity project
- Woolf Institute Living in Harmony project
- Inter faith sport
- Luton Council of Faiths recieves Queen's Award for Voluntary Service
- Pride month
- Welcome Directory for prison leavers
Resources and study/training
- Learning about inter faith activity: An IFN Teacher Resource for 11-14 year old pupils
- IFN youth inter faith website resource
- Inter Faith Buddies
- Videos of IFN National Meeting presentations on faith and COVID-19
- Digital surgery slots for local inter faith groups
- Cambridge Inter Faith Programme event videos
- Encountering Faiths & Beliefs for KS2 and KS3
- Asian Fire Service toolkit
- Charity Commission Faith Outreach webinar
- SCIE Safeguarding webinars
Calls for information, competitions and nominations
- Experience of bereavement during COVID-19
- ‘Respond, recover, rest’ survey
- London Faith & Belief Community Awards
- Naz Legacy Foundation inter faith celebration
Jobs, internships and volunteering
- Inter Faith Network for the UK - Project Officer, Internship and Volunteers
- St Ethelburga's Centre - Volunteer roles
- Faith & Belief Forum - Programmes Manager and Workshop volunteers
- Home for Good - Volunteers
- St Philip's Centre - Chair of Trustees
- Funding websites
- COVID-19 related funding
- Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme
- FCC Community Action Fund
- Subsidised fundraising workshops
Faith communities have continued to respond to the needs of their congregations and wider society during the pandemic, contributing to the development of relevant policy and guidance; keeping places of worship as Covid-secure a possible; and providing resources and guidance. They have also continued, with many volunteers inspired by the teachings of their faith, to provide a lifeline to many hit by food poverty, homelessness, debt and other problems exacerbated by the pandemic. Examples of different dimensions of the faith and inter faith response can be seen at https://www.interfaith.org.uk/news/covid-19, including recent ‘acts of kindness’ - from churches in Wrexham distributing gardening tools and seeds to enable people to grow their own fruit and vegetables to Ipswich Buddhist Centre helping the Suffolk Baby Hub find much needed baby food and supplies.
The Queen’s Birthday Honours List included recognition for a number of ‘Covid heroes’, including some linked to faith and inter faith initiatives, for example Chair of the Muslim Charities Forum, Fadi Itani OBE. There has also been honouring of contributors through routes such as: the ‘Points of Light’ awards, where recent recipients have included Neil Shonchhatra, who has been donating thousands of meals and items of food to frontline NHS workers and nursing homes throughout the pandemic, sourcing food donations from local businesses and cooking up meals at Slough Temple. Some counties, such as Northamptonshire, and local authorities, such as Fareham and Wokingham, have been running their own schemes.
You can watch at https://www.interfaith.org.uk/news/videos-from-ifn-2021-national-meeting-faith-communities-and-covid-19-learning-from-the-journey presentations about some of the amazing responses from faith volunteers, including from the Salvation Army, the Sikh Foodbank and Nottingham Sewa Day.
Vaccination programmes continue to be rolled out across the UK. Faith communities are continuing to support the rollout in different ways, with places of worship being used as vaccination centres and faith communities and inter faith groups holding events and discussions to provide information about the vaccines. Examples can be found at https://www.interfaith.org.uk/news/covid-19-and-vaccination. The urgency of this has increased again with the rise in cases of the highly transmissible Delta variant.
The UK Government has launched a social media campaign to tackle false vaccine information, which includes messages from faith leaders. https://dcmsblog.uk/check-before-you-share-toolkit/ These posts include simple tips on how to critically analyse sources, spot false information and help stop its spread, checking before you share, signposting to the NHS as the best source of information. Faith leaders in a number of areas have also made their own videos, for example Rabbi Daniel Walker from Heaton Park Hebrew Congregation in Salford. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvXTiM5ftVI A new study from King’s College London and Bristol University finds that there has now been an increase in confidence in the vaccine in many groups but this is not consistent across all groups. https://www.kcl.ac.uk/policy-institute/assets/covid-19-vaccine-take-up-and-trust.pdf
Use of vaccination ‘passports’ or ‘certification’ has for some while been under discussion as part of considering how to reopen society. Concerns have been expressed by some about the civil liberty and equality implications of vaccine passports. MPs on the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee took the view that such passports would ‘disproportionately discriminate’ based on race, religion, age and socio-economic background and that Covid passports would be discriminatory and the idea should be scrapped. https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/327/public-administration-and-constitutional-affairs-committee/news/155788/no-justification-for-covid-passports-say-committee/ The Government is continuing to consider their use for large events. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-57450600
On 14 June the Prime Minister gave a statement on coronavirus and confirmed a four-week delay to step four of the UK Government’s roadmap for England until 19 July due to concerns caused by the Delta variant and to allow for more people to receive their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before further easing of restrictions takes place. https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-statement-at-coronavirus-press-conference-14-june-2021 There will, however, be a change from 21 June in numbers allowed to attend weddings, receptions, and commemorative events including wakes. The number of people able to attend such events will now be determined by the number that can be safely accommodated in the venue with social distancing in place.
There has been no change announced to the guidance on use of places of worship (last updated 24 May). https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-places-of-worship-during-the-pandemic-from-4-july/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-places-of-worship-from-2-december
The Scottish Government guidance on the use of places of worship was updated on 11 June. https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-phase-3-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-places-of-worship/ The number of people who can attend weddings, funerals and post-ceremony events is dependent on the Tier Level of the location. https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-funeral-services/ https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-tourism-and-hospitality-sector-guidance/pages/wedding-receptions-and-funeral-wakes/
The Welsh Government guidance on the use of places of worship was updated on 14 May. https://gov.wales/guidance-reopening-places-worship-coronavirus The limit on numbers for weddings and funerals, in venues that are allowed to be open, is determined by the size of the venue and is dependent on whether it is a ‘regulated’ event organised by a business or not. https://gov.wales/restrictions-7-june-2021-frequently-asked-questions#section-67279
The Northern Ireland Executive guidance on the use of places of worship is at https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-places-worship. The number permitted to attend funerals, weddings and civil partnerships and post ceremony gatherings is to be informed by a risk assessment for the venue and, if being held in a private dwelling, must comply with the domestic setting regulations. https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-regulations-guidance-what-restrictions-mean-you
Faith Action recently published a blog on findings from its Faith Covid focus groups across the last year. https://www.faithaction.net/blog/2021/06/10/one-year-on-findings-from-our-faith-covid-focus-groups/ It held a briefing event for faith communities on 16 June, where members of the places of worship taskforce and public health officials will present some thoughts on how best to move forward through the final phase of the roadmap, followed by an opportunity for Q&A and discussion.
Over the last months, the Good Faith Partnership has been working with faith leaders and community organisers to analyse the immense work that faith communities have undertaken to support communities during the pandemic. The report on their work was launched virtually on 17 June by the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London, Danny Kruger, MP for Devizes, and Baron Stephen Greenhalgh, the Minister of State, Housing, Communities and Local Government. The report highlights the social impact of faith communities in their assistance to vulnerable communities during the pandemic, explores the current state of collaboration between faith communities and government, and makes recommendations on how the government can aid and accelerate the positive impact of faith communities on society going forward. https://goodfaith.org.uk/case-studies/stepping-up-and-stepping-out-towards-a-future-social-covenant-between-faith-communities-and-government-in-covid-19-recovery-and-beyond
‘Thank You Day’ is a UK-wide initiative, taking place on Sunday 4 July, inviting people to get together to say thank you to one another, to family members, key workers, good neighbours and volunteers. https://thankyouday.org.uk/ There is a guide with possible activities for faith organisations that can be downloaded at https://thankyouday.org.uk/create-your-own/.
Thank You Day has a particular link to the pandemic and how people have responded. It is managed by the Together Initiative. https://together.org.uk/ It is supported by the Inter Faith Network.
COP26 will take place (Covid-19 restrictions permitting) in Glasgow from 1-12 November. Make COP Count, an informal group of representatives from different faith communities working together on advocacy, hospitality and action ahead of COP26, has been carrying out a number of campaigns. The group is co-ordinated through Faith for the Climate. https://makecopcount.org/
Ahead of the G7 meeting, an inter faith event was livestreamed from Truro Cathedral https://www.trurocathedral.org.uk/whats-on/cafod-g7-interfaith-event-building-a-better-world-after-the-pandemic-thu-10-jun-2021-07-00-pm, arranged by CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development) with others. Its focus was on putting a message across to the leaders about a global and green recovery from the pandemic crisis that leaves no one behind. Also, a number of figures from faith communities called on the UK government to use its Presidency of the G7 and of UN climate talks (COP26) to drive progress on addressing the climate crisis. https://faithfortheclimate.org.uk/newsitem/Faith-groups-call-for-G7-Summit-to-use-power-wisely-1277
Interfaith Scotland has made this year a year of Climate Action and is hosting a monthly series of Facebook Live panel discussions with keynote speakers from different faiths discussing various aspects of the climate crisis from a multi-faith perspective. It has also produced a briefing for faith communities about getting involved, https://interfaithscotland.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Briefing-for-Faith-Communities-and-Actions-for-COP26-updated-24-May-21.pdf, as well as other resources, https://interfaithscotland.org/climate-action-resources. With Interfaith Glasgow it held an event in May, ‘How faith communities can engage with COP26’, the video of which can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ewkd8K9GXTo.
Faith for the Climate and Faiths Together in Lambeth are jointly hosting a series of 5 workshops between 25 June and 6 July in and around London Climate Action Week for faith communities to get ready for COP26. They will include ‘Relationship building’, ‘Skills sessions’ and ‘Reflection and Next Steps. www.faithfortheclimate.org.uk/events
From 18-26 September Climate Fringe Week will be taking place. It is for Scotland-based individuals, groups or organisations, celebrating and supporting the work that is already happening across the Scottish Climate Movement, whilst also giving people new to climate campaigning and action an easy way to get involved. More about that can be found on the Climate Fringe website which provides a platform for all of civil society to share events and connect around Climate Change and COP26. https://climatefringe.org/week/
Faith community initiatives and climate change
A number of faith community initiatives such as the Bahu Trust, Christian Climate Action, Eco Dharma Network, IFEES/EcoIslam, EcoSikh, EcoSynagogue and Hindu Climate Action have produced resources to engage and equip faith communities for action on climate change. https://faithfortheclimate.org.uk/Faith-Resources
The Queen’s Green Canopy
Faith leaders have recently come together in a video to share what trees mean to them and their faiths and to encourage everyone to plant a tree for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next year. https://queensgreencanopy.org/ https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/queen-katherine-grainger-justin-welby-prince-of-wales-people-b935675.html
On 20 May IFN’s Co-Chairs and Faith Communities Forum Moderators issued a statement on ‘Responding to inter faith impacts of overseas events.’ https://www.interfaith.org.uk/news/statement-from-ifn-co-chairs-and-fcf-moderators-responding-to-inter-faith-impacts-of-overseas-events
“There are times when political and other events overseas have a significant and distressing impact on communities here in the UK and on relationships between them. Recent events in Israel and Gaza have seen significant impacts in the UK: antisemitic incidents, such as the megaphone abuse from a car driving through an area of North London last weekend; a car ramming of a pro-Palestinian march in Nottingham, many of those marching in which were Muslims; bullying by children in some schools; some reports of worsened campus relations; and increased abusive social media posts. These kinds of experience can bring vulnerability and fear – particularly if they come in the context of long term experiences of prejudice or tensions.
At such times, the right of people to express their strongly held views is recognised, as is its importance. At the same time, we call for expression of views in peaceful and respectful ways; for increased dialogue and practical actions such as fundraising to help those affected; for support for children and others particularly vulnerable to swirling and sometimes frightening currents of argument and accusation; and for holding fast to long established relationships of trust that have been built across many years.”
A statement from the IFN Co-Chairs and the Moderators of IFN's Faith Communities Forum
This followed an earlier brief message from the Co-Chairs of IFN which referred back to earlier relevant statements. IFN, under its statement making policy, does not comment on overseas events except in the context of likely impact on inter faith relations in the UK. This is not out of lack of commitment or concern; it reflects a position agreed early in IFN’s existence and reaffirmed regularly since. On this particular occasion, there was significant concern about the impact on relationships in the UK and the statement reflects this.
A number of inter faith organisations with an international dimension to their focus or policies that allow direct comment on international issues either made statements or highlighted relevant resources, for example local inter faith bodies in the London Borough of Barnet, Blackburn, Leicester and Woking and organisations such as Solutions Not Sides. There were also events such as a listening event arranged by FODIP; a rally for peace of Muslim and Jewish women arranged by Nisa Nashim, https://www.hamhigh.co.uk/news/nisa-nashim-women-rally-in-hampstead-8002004, and a prayer meeting arranged by Interfaith Scotland.
During the period in question, antisemitic incidents were reported as increasing 500%. Robert Jenrick, Communities Secretary, denounced a series of attacks that took place over the weekend of 15 to 16 May as “racist and extremely serious crimes” and told the Commons that “No-one could fail to be appalled by the disgraceful scenes of antisemitic abuse being directed at members of the Jewish community in the past week. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/anti-semitic-comments-uk-robert-jenrick-b1848890.html Analysis by the Community Service Trust (CST), which campaigns against and monitors antisemitism in Britain, found that there had been 116 incidents between 8 and 18 May. Of these, almost all involved language, imagery or behaviour that linked them to the conflict in Israel and Gaza. 34 were online and 82 offline, most of which involved verbal abuse directed at Jewish people. https://inews.co.uk/news/anti-semitic-hate-crimes-in-britain-rise-500-during-10-days-of-israel-palestine-tensions-1009374
More generally, hate incidents, as well as prejudice and discrimination linked to religious identity continues to be an issue of significant concern in the UK to many communities. In response to a written question from Narendra Vishnu MP, about what steps the Government is taking to tackle Hinduphobia in the UK, Minister Luke Hall responded: “The Government is committed to tackling hatred against people of all faiths, including the Hindu community. The Hate Crime Action Plan (2016) and Refresh (2018) set out our plans to tackle hatred directed at anyone for their race, religion, sexuality, disability or gender identity, which includes raising awareness of hate crime and encouraging reporting. We are now looking at ways to renew our strategy and will be engaging with a wide range of stakeholders from religious communities.” https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2021-06-07.11691.h
A report by an independent inquiry into Islamophobia in the UK’s Conservative party has found institutional failings in how it handled complaints of anti-Muslim prejudice. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/conservative-party-racism-inquiry-islamophobia-b1853354.html
Places of Worship Security Scheme – England and Wales
The Places of Worship Protective Security Scheme was a key commitment of the Government’s 2016-2020 Hate Crime Action Plan. It enables places of worship to install measures such as protective alarms, security lighting and access controls.
The sixth round of the Places of Worship Protective Security Funding Scheme is now open for applications. The Home Office will cover 100% of the costs for up to 3 security measures worth a maximum total of £56,000. The scheme is open to places of worship and associated faith community centres (defined as a community centre run by a place of worship or near a place of worship that is faith based, and where regular worship takes place) across England and Wales.
The closing date is 2 July. Further details including how to apply are at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/places-of-worship-security-funding-scheme.
Scottish Hate Crime Security Fund
Individual places of worship and religious organisational bodies in Scotland, can apply for funding through the Scottish Government and Police Scotland's new Hate Crime Security Fund, to help combat hate crime against places of worship. Applications are welcomed from individual places of worship of all faiths which can demonstrate their vulnerability to hate crime - whether or not a crime has been committed or reported to the police. Grants of up to £20,000 are available to cover part or all of proposed security measures and improvements. The closing date is 21 July. Further details including how to apply are at https://www.impactfundingpartners.com/open-applications/hate-crime-security-fund.
Security at publicly accessible locations, including places of worship
The Home Office is seeking views on how the Protect Duty can make the public safer at publicly accessible locations. This consultation is about how legislation might be used to enhance the protection of publicly accessible locations across the UK from terrorist attacks and to ensure organisational preparedness.
A publicly accessible location is defined in the consultation as any place to which the public or any section of the public has access, on payment or otherwise, as of right or by virtue of express or implied permission. This includes places of worship and there are a series of proposed new requirements which would apply to places of worship accommodating 100+ people. Concerns have been expressed that the proposed legislation could bring a time and cost burden and also disproportionately affect faith organisations which depend heavily on volunteers. https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2021/21-may/news/uk/archdeacon-of-london-warns-of-unintended-consequences-of-terrorism-legislation https://www.eauk.org/what-we-do/public-policy/could-you-respond-to-government-consultations/what-the-proposed-protect-duty-might-mean-for-churches
The consultation closes on 2 July. The Home Office is seeking views from across the United Kingdom, “since national security is a reserved matter, however it is recognised that developing an effective process and support to implement such legislation would draw on delivery mechanisms and responsibilities within the Devolved Administrations”. Further information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/protect-duty.
25 May marked the one year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. Churches Together in Britain and Ireland initiated a service to mark the event. This included senior church leaders and local Christians and was held at the New Testament Church of God in Brixton, South London. The service remembered the “tragic death of Mr Floyd, as well as challenging churches and communities in Britain and Ireland to stand up for justice and against racism, ignorance and hatred”.
https://ctbi.org.uk/service-marks-anniversary-of-george-floyd-killing/ Churches Together in England organised ‘#CandleofJustice: A moment of action’, which invited people to “light a candle, pray for racial justice and commit to taking personal and institutional action to tackle racial injustice in our society and our churches.” https://cte.org.uk/Articles/610414/Home/News/Latest_news/Candle_of_Justice.aspx
Faith communities are continuing their ongoing work for racial justice. For example the Muslim Council of Britain’s project ‘Proudly Muslim and Black’, https://mcb.org.uk/project/proudly-muslim-and-black/; and, the Board of Deputies of British Jews’ Commission on Racial Inclusivity, https://www.bod.org.uk/bod-news/board-of-deputies-publishes-landmark-report-on-racial-inclusivity-in-the-jewish-community/.
Welsh Government consultation on religious education
The Welsh Government has published a consultation on religious education in Wales and proposed statutory guidance. https://gov.wales/guidance-design-and-delivery-mandatory-religion-values-and-ethics-rve The consultation ends on 16 July.
OFSTED religious education subject review
Ofsted published on 12 May a review of religious education in England. This was the second in a series of reviews into different subjects across the curriculum. It draws on Ofsted’s Education Inspection Framework and other religious education literature to identify what it believes contributes to high-quality RE curriculum, assessment, pedagogy and systems in schools where it inspects RE. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ofsted-publishes-research-review-on-religious-education Ofsted will be publishing a report in spring 2022 that will focus on the quality of RE curriculums taught in schools.
RE Council for England and Wales – Religion and Worldviews
The RE Council for England and Wales has continued its work on Religion and Worldviews and has published a conversation piece by Dr Kathryn Wright, the Chair of its Education Committee. https://www.religiouseducationcouncil.org.uk/news/religion-and-worldviews-a-conversation/
Collective Worship in schools in England
In April the Times Educational Supplement published an article on responses from the Schools Minister Nick Gibb MP to a written question about collective worship in schools from Sir John Hayes MP. The minister emphasised the importance of collective worship and that it is a legal requirement. https://www.tes.com/news/schools-may-be-investigated-over-daily-collective-worship-duty
The April issue of IFN’s e-bulletin included information about an incident at Batley Grammar School, whereby a teacher was suspended pending investigation into an incident on 22 March relating to use in an RE lesson of a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad. It was reported on 27 May that an independent investigation into the incident had concluded that the teaching staff involved in the RE lesson did not intend to cause offence with the image. The school said it would offer more guidance and training for staff. North Kirklees Interfaith issued a statement following the conclusion of the investigation. https://www.facebook.com/NKInterFaith/posts/195281242448814
On 12 May the Government published the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill. The planned legislation is aimed at protecting the principle of freedom of speech by strengthening existing freedom of speech protections and addressing gaps within the current framework. It will also introduce clear consequences for any breach of the freedom of speech duties.
IFN’s Faith Communities Forum brings together national faith community bodies in IFN membership for discussion of issues of common concern. https://www.interfaith.org.uk/about/faith-communities-forum On the agenda for its meeting on 26 April were: Faiths, the environment and COP26; COVID-19 and faith communities including vaccination roll out, vaccination passports and other COVID-19 related matters; Report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic disparities; Other current issues of interest or concern to faith communities; Inter faith engagement of faith communities; and IFN Matters. The first item featured a short opening reflection from Minister David Bruton on the basis in the Spiritualist tradition for addressing climate change, and a presentation by Dr Shanon Shah, Director of Faith for the Climate, on planning for the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP26) this November.
IFN holds meetings for local inter faith groups to share news and good practice and learn from each other’s work to strengthen their own and benefit their local areas. Some are for groups from across the UK. Others are for groups within a particular region or a county. They provide an opportunity for sharing of news or programmes and projects being run by each group, including opportunities and challenges. Minutes of previous link meetings can be found at https://www.interfaith.org.uk/about/local-inter-faith-linking. The most recent meetings were held on 20 May for local inter faith organisations in Yorkshire and the Humber and on 14 June for local inter faith organisations in South East England.
On the Agenda for the Yorkshire and Humber meeting were: Round table sharing of news, information and ideas (including reflections on how COVID-19 has been shaping activity, COP26 and climate change discussions and activities, and Inter faith Week plans); Support, encouragement and learning from communities, with a presentation by Near Neighbours Coordinator Kaneez Khan; Local inter faith bodies and engagement with schools and other education settings, with a presentation by IFN Assistant Director Dr David Hampshire; and Local inter faith online and digital presence and activity.
On the Agenda for the South East of England meeting were: South East England Faiths Forum, with a talk by its Chair, Kawther Hashmi; Roundtable sharing of news, information and ideas (including impacts of COVID-19, Refugee Week, the lead up to COP26 and Inter Faith Week); Local inter faith bodies and engagement with schools and other education settings, with a presentation by IFN’s Assistant Director Dr David Hampshire; and Local inter faith online and digital presence and activity.
Each year IFN convenes a meeting for IFN with the inter faith linking bodies in the devolved nations – Interfaith Scotland, the Inter Faith Council for Wales/Cyngor Rhyngffydd Cymru and the Northern Ireland Inter Faith Forum. The most recent meeting took place on 10 June. On the Agenda were: Updates on the work of each of the four bodies; COP26 and inter faith engagement; National inter faith linking work post EU exit and in the context of perspectives on independence and union; Inter Faith Week and Scottish Interfaith Week; and IFN Matters.
17 June marks 150 days to go until Inter Faith Week. The aims of Inter Faith Week are to:
- Strengthen good inter faith relations at all levels;
- Increase awareness of the different and distinct faith communities in the UK, celebrating and building on the contribution which their members make to their neighbourhoods and to wider society; and
- Increase understanding between different people of religious and non-religious beliefs
This year Inter Faith Week www.interfaithweek.org takes place from Sunday 14 to Sunday 21 November. It’s a Week for everyone – young and old and of different faiths and beliefs, including non-religious beliefs. Activities benefit those who take part; they also send a strong message that good inter faith relations matter and that there is appreciation of people’s faiths and beliefs and how those inspire them to contribute to the community and live well together.
The Week is timed do begin each year on Remembrance Sunday to enable people of different backgrounds to remember together the service of soldiers and civilians of all faiths and beliefs and to reflect on peace. https://www.interfaithweek.org/resources/remembrance
Lots of ideas for Inter Faith Week activity can be found at https://www.interfaithweek.org/resources/ideas and you can also check out last year’s events for inspiration https://www.interfaithweek.org/resources/list-of-all-2020-inter-faith-week-activities. If you have additional ideas, we would love to hear them! The flyer and poster for the Week can be downloaded at https://www.interfaithweek.org/resources/publicity-and-branding and social media resources at https://www.interfaithweek.org/resources/social-media.
Follow the Week at @ifweek on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The Week’s hashtag is #InterFaithWeek.
For further information, contact the Inter Faith Week team at email@example.com.
Scottish Inter Faith Week
Scottish Interfaith Week is led by Interfaith Scotland and has this year been brought forward to the earlier time of Sunday 31 October – Sunday 7 November to coincide with COP26. https://scottishinterfaithweek.org/ Its theme this year is Together for our Planet. Follow it on Twitter and Facebook at https://twitter.com/SIFWEvents and https://www.facebook.com/FollowSIFW.
In May the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ) began a new Inclusion and Diversity project. This aims to “twin Black majority Christian congregations and synagogues in towns and cities across the country, set up an oversight group for the project, and host one national event”. There is financial support from CCJ available which twinned pairs of synagogues and churches can use to publicise and host events. For more information, visit https://ccj.org.uk/InclusionandDiversityProject.
The Woolf Institute Living in Harmony project focuses on the cultural and social implications of musical and social encounters between Jewish, Muslim, and Christian neighbours in the Middle East and Britain. The programme is funded by the KC Shasha Charitable Foundation and Dangoor Education. For 2021-22 the project will include tailored workshops for schools, university societies and youth clubs which explain how multiculturalism and music created a sense of communal belonging in the past and may continue to create a sense of commonality among various faith and non-faith communities in Britain today. For more information, contact Flora Moffie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As lock down eases in many places inter faith activity and sporting activity are again coming together.
Woking People of Faith's annual Interfaith Football Tournament took place on 22 May at Winston Churchill School. Six teams took part from a variety of faith backgrounds with the aim of promoting community, religious harmony and mutual understanding, both on and off the field. https://wpof.org.uk/event/upcoming/2021/05/22/interfaith-football-tournament/
In September the Cricket World Cup will be doing a tour of Kirklees, with an inter faith event planned for Huddersfield’s St Peter’s Parish Church on 12 September. Details to be released closer to the event. https://globalcontactcentre.co.uk/hudderfield-icc-cricket-world-cup-tour-2021/
If you are organising or holding an inter faith sporting event over the summer please let the IFN Office know by emailing email@example.com. We would also be interested to hear if you are planning sporting events for Inter Faith Week 2021.
Luton Council of Faiths, a group of volunteers based in Luton in the county of Bedfordshire is one of this year’s recipients of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS). It has received it for “Building peace and reconciliation across Luton’s diverse communities.” LCF’s Chair, Zafar Khan, said “We are extremely delighted to receive this award recognising the hard work of our volunteers, young and old from different faiths and cultures supporting our work over the years especially in schools where children participate in our numerous events culminating in our Annual Peace Walk event. This recognition is also timely as Luton Council of Faiths celebrates its 25th Anniversary.” Luton Council of Faiths follows in the footsteps of Wolverhampton Interfaith and Islington Faiths Forum.
The QAVS aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate The Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation. If you are interested to nominate your own local inter faith organisation for its work you can find details on how to do so at https://qavs.dcms.gov.uk/.
The Faith and Belief Forum has been working with and advocating for LGBT+ people of faith for a number of years. Its LGBTQ+ Interfaith Network is a space for LGBTQ+ people from different faiths, beliefs and backgrounds, to come together in a friendly environment. Inter faith activities and methods are used to explore personal stories of faith and belief, learn from each other’s traditions, and build solidarity and community. It works in collaboration with a range of single faith and regional LGBTQ+ organisations. It recently held an event on Celebrating LGBTQ+ Interfaith Connections. FBF also runs training for organisations to offer better support to LGBT+ people of faith in their communities. https://faithbeliefforum.org/programme/lgbtfaith/
The Welcome Directory is a multi-faith organisation which maintains a directory of registered faith communities which have declared their commitment to welcoming prison leavers and providing them with appropriate support beyond the gates. This directory is used by prison chaplains, probation workers and prison leavers themselves, to identify welcoming communities upon release from prison. The organisation also offers a three-session course to allow faith groups to explore what it means to welcome people leaving prison into their community. https://www.welcomedirectory.org.uk
IFN’s Teacher Resource to help secondary school pupils learn about inter faith activity and develop skills for dialogue is available to download at https://www.interfaith.org.uk/resources/inter-faith-activity-in-the-uk-a-teacher-resource-for-secondary-pupils. It has been produced for teachers of pupils aged 11 – 14 (Key Stage 3).
IFN’s earlier primary Teacher Resource can be found at https://www.interfaith.org.uk/resources/learning-about-inter-faith-activity-a-primary-resource.
IFN’s youth inter faith website resource can be found at https://www.interfaith.org.uk/activity/youth-inter-faith-engagement. This contains information on what inter faith activity is, why it is important, and different ways that young people can get involved. It is planned that this section will continue to grow and be developed over time.
Inter Faith Buddies is a scheme designed by IFN to bring individuals together to engage in dialogue.
- The scheme involves two people of different faiths or beliefs: keeping in touch on a weekly basis for 6 weeks;
- choosing or developing questions on which to share their thoughts and experiences; and
- if they wish, sharing at an in-person or online event, in an agreed way, some reflections on what they have gained from the experience.
It is an opportunity for sharing and learning, on a one-to-one basis across a limited period of time, about what is important to us, in the context of our wider community. The process may, of course, lead to longer term conversations and new forms of practical co-operation.
Interested in taking up the idea within your organisation?
If you are an organisation interested in taking up the Inter Faith Buddies idea, visit https://www.interfaith.org.uk/resources/inter-faith-buddies for more information and practical pointers.
Interfaith Scotland has also been running inter faith buddy sessions – the next of which are taking place during the Great Get Together weekend (18-20 June).
The March/April issue of IFN’s e-bulletin gave a short overview of IFN’s National Meeting on 23 March on the theme of ‘Faith Communities and COVID-19 – Learning from the Journey’. https://www.interfaith.org.uk/news/ifns-2021-national-meeting-faith-communities-and-covid19-learning-from-the-journey Videos of speaker presentations can be found at https://www.interfaith.org.uk/resources/ifn-national-meeting-2021.
IFN is continuing to make available during June and July a number of free 20 minute digital ‘surgery’ slots for IFN member local inter faith groups to ring and have a conversation about their group’s use of digital communications and how they strengthen this. There are also some spaces available for other local inter faith groups; there is no charge for non-members, however a donation is welcome. Any local inter faith group interested in booking a slot can email Ashley Beck via firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Cambridge Inter Faith Programme has made available recordings of a Cambridge Festival 2021 panel and three talks for the CIP Research Seminar in Inter-religious Relations. These can be found at https://www.interfaith.cam.ac.uk/news/new-cip-videos-research-seminar-inter-religious-relations-and-cambridge-festival-panel.
The Faith & Belief Forum’s workshop on Encountering Faiths & Beliefs for KS2 and KS3 is now available as an online resource for schools. This resource provides a range of short films of trained speakers, sharing personal stories of their lived experience of faith or belief. For more information, visit https://faithbeliefforum.org/resources/encountering-faiths-beliefs/.
The new Asian Fire Service Association toolkit on Workplace Religion and Belief is now on the AFSA website at http://184.108.40.206/FileStorage/Documents/184/AFSA%202021%20Workforce%20Religion%20and%20Belief%20Toolkit%20Publication.pdf.
The Faith Outreach Team of the Charity Commission for England and Wales is delivering its next webinar on 30 June on ‘Financial management in a faith charity context’. For further information, and to book, visit https://bookwhen.com/fcot#focus=ev-suz0-20210615120000.
The Social Care Institute for Excellence is holding two webinars as part of its Safeguarding Training Fund:
- 23 June - ‘Exploring the safeguarding culture within faith-based organisations’ https://www.scie.org.uk/safeguarding/faith-groups/webinar20210623
- 14 July - ‘Understanding the role of the designated lead for safeguarding in faith-based organisations’ https://www.scie.org.uk/safeguarding/faith-groups/webinar20210714
On each link is some further information about each webinar and details about booking.
Calls for information
The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) is conducting research on people’s experience of bereavement during the Covid-19 pandemic. This will explore how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected bereavement, funeral practices, mental health support and responses to public health messaging. They would like to interview 30 bereaved people from a variety of social, cultural, and religious backgrounds, with a second, follow-up interview taking place six months later.
Participants will be offered a £15 voucher for each interview to thank them for their participation. To learn more about the study or to find out about taking part in this confidential research interview, visit https://natcen.ac.uk/taking-part/studies-in-field/impact-of-covid-19-on-bereavement-and-grief/covid-19-support-study/.
‘Respond, recover, reset’ is a project examining the impact of COVID-19 on voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations. The study is run by Nottingham Trent University in collaboration with the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and Sheffield Hallam University, and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. They are keen to hear from faith communities. The latest round of the survey is open until 28 June. http://cpwop.org.uk/what-we-do/projects-and-publications/covid-19-vcse-organisation-responses/
Nominations are now open for the 5th London Faith & Belief Community Awards. The Awards celebrate the work of London’s faith and belief communities by bringing together local heroes and shining a light on their work. Each year there are 40 awards of £500 to enhance the work of these projects. There are several categories, including ‘Interfaith relations’, ‘Community resourcefulness in response to Covid-19’, ‘Inspiring youth’ and ‘Promoting women’. More information can be found at https://faithbeliefforum.org/programme/london-faith-belief-community-awards/nomination-information/. Nominations close on 19 July.
On 2 September, the Naz Legacy Foundation, in partnership with Historic Royal Palaces, is hosting an inter faith celebration at the Tower of London. They want to celebrate unsung heroes from faith communities, such as those who have supported food banks, assisted those shielding or helped alleviate, and are inviting nominations for individuals. Nominations close on 23 July. https://www.nazlegacy.org/nominate-your-covid-19-hero/
Fixed term Project Officer post
IFN expects to advertise shortly, subject to funding, an 8 month Project Officer post. Keep an eye out for details at https://www.interfaith.org.uk/involved/vacancies/jobs.
IFN is offering a Summer Internship from mid-July to mid-September. This is an opportunity to work on Inter Faith Week (www.interfaithweek.org) and also to assist on, and learn about, some other areas of IFN’s work such as local inter faith support. A great opportunity to learn about inter faith relations and to develop new skills. Due to COVID-19, this internship is likely to be mainly or wholly virtual. IFN is a Living Wage Employer and the role is paid at the London Living Wage. For more information, contact email@example.com.
IFN is currently seeking to appoint a person to the post of Honorary Treasurer. The work of IFN is overseen by a board of Trustees. All IFN Trustees hold their posts on a voluntary basis. The gift of Trustees’ time and skill is vital to the wellbeing of the organisation’s work and is greatly valued. Among the Trustees are 2 Co-Chairs and 1 Honorary Treasurer. The Role Description and Expression of Interest form can be found at https://www.interfaith.org.uk/involved/vacancies/volunteering. The closing date is 8 July.
The Inter Faith Network for the UK currently has 2 opportunities for online volunteers who would like to offer 4-8 hours a week to help on different aspects of IFN’s work to promote inter faith understanding and cooperation in the UK. To express an interest in volunteering, please complete the application form at https://www.interfaith.org.uk/involved/vacancies/volunteering.
Volunteer Impact Coordinator
The St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace is currently advertising for a volunteer Programme impact coordinator.
St Ethelburga’s is currently offering three volunteer internships - Video and stories, Communications and design, and Film and audio.
Programmes Manager, Education and Impact
FBF is seeking to recruit an organised and motivated self-starter to lead its Education and Learning Team. The role is 4 days/30 hours per week. The closing date is 6 July.
The Faith & Belief Forum (FBF) is starting to prepare for its Encountering Faiths and Beliefs workshops again. These will initially be held online. FBF is particularly looking for volunteers from the West Midlands. To find out more about the programme, and to apply, visit https://faithbeliefforum.org/about/careers/volunteer-speaker-programme/.
The Passage is a London based organisation which works to provide resources which encourage, inspire and challenge homeless people to transform their lives. It is a Vincentian organisation, taking its values and ethos from the teachings and example of St Vincent De Paul, a Christian and social reformer. Home for Good is The Passage’s resettlement support scheme. They are currently seeking volunteers from a diverse range of faith backgrounds to support people in their local area who are settling in to their new accommodation after experiencing homelessness. Roles are available for 1 to 2 hours per week or fortnight with flexible timings. A commitment of 6 months is required. For more information, visit https://passage.org.uk/volunteering/home-for-good-community-volunteer/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The St Philip’s Centre in Leicester is seeking to appoint a new Chair of Trustees. The closing date for applications is 12 July. https://jobs.theguardian.com/job/7310782/chair-of-trustees/
My Funding Central is a new database of grant funding and social investment sources. This service is available to organisations with an annual income below £1m and is free for organisations under £30k. https://www.myfundingcentral.co.uk/ Similar websites for funding in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can be found at Funding Scotland - https://funding.scot/ - Wales Council for Voluntary Action - http://www.wcva.org.uk/funding/search - and Grant Tracker for Northern Ireland - https://www.grant-tracker.org/.
The Charities Aid Foundation has collated a list of organisations which are supporting charities and voluntary groups at this time. https://www.cafonline.org/covid-19-support/help-for-charities#tab1
The Listed Places of Worship (LPW) Grant Scheme gives grants that cover the VAT incurred in making repairs to listed buildings in use as places of worship. The scheme covers repairs to the fabric of the building, along with associated professional fees, plus repairs to turret clocks, pews, bells and pipe organs. The Grant Scheme is run by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and administered by Topmark. http://www.lpwscheme.org.uk/
The FCC Communities Foundation is offering grants between £2,000 and £100,000 for projects which involve the provision, maintenance or improvement of public amenities including community spaces in places of worship, which are registered charities. Projects must be based within 10 miles of an eligible FCC Environment waste facility. The current round closes on 1 September. https://fcccommunitiesfoundation.org.uk/funds/fcc-community-action-fund
The Foundation for Social Improvement offers subsidised training programmes for small charities across the UK. The courses cover a wide range of subjects from event planning to leadership. Many of the courses focus on fundraising and sustainability skills in particular. Further information and dates for upcoming courses, now being held online, can be found at http://www.thefsi.org/services/training.
Refugee Week is taking place from Monday 14 to Sunday 20 June. Refugee Week is a nationwide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and encourages a better understanding between communities. The theme for the 2021 Week is ‘We cannot walk alone’. https://refugeeweek.org.uk/
The Great Get Together, inspired by the late Jo Cox MP, is taking place from Friday 18 to Sunday 20 June. It is designed to bring people together to celebrate what they have in common. https://www.greatgettogether.org/
‘Thank You Day’, is a UK-wide initiative on Sunday 4 July inviting people to get together to say thank you to one another, to family members, key workers, good neighbours and volunteers. https://thankyouday.org.uk/ It has a particular link to the pandemic and how people have responded. It is managed by the Together Initiative.
Srebrenica Memorial Day takes place each year on 11 July. This year’s theme is ‘Rebuilding Lives’. It is organised by Remembering Srebrenica. http://www.srebrenica.org.uk/
National Hate Crime Awareness Week takes place from Saturday 9 October to Saturday 16 October. https://nationalhcaw.uk/
One World Week will take place from Sunday 17 to Sunday 24 October. www.oneworldweek.org
Scottish Interfaith Week will be held from Sunday 31 October to Sunday 7 November. Scottish Interfaith Week is led by Interfaith Scotland. The theme for this year’s week is ‘Together for our Planet’. www.scottishinterfaithweek.org
Inter Faith Week, in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, will take place from Sunday 14 to Sunday 21 November. www.interfaithweek.org
Mitzvah Day will take place on Sunday 21 November. It is an annual day of faith-based social action led by the Jewish community where people give their time to make a difference to the community around them. Many events and projects held for the day have an inter faith focus. www.mitzvahday.org.uk/
Sewa Day is a day of faith-based social action led by the Hindu community. It normally takes place on 4 dates across the year. Due to COVID there are currently no fixed days; rather, ‘every day is Sewa day’ and volunteers are helping people continually as they are able. https://sewaday.org/
VisitMyMosque Day is a national campaign facilitated by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) that encourages mosques across the UK to hold an open day to welcome in their neighbours from all faiths and none. Details on this year’s date are yet to be announced. https://www.visitmymosque.org/
A few examples of forthcoming events are listed below. In light of COVID-19 most events continue to take place online. Those listed are all virtual, except where noted. Events are also listed on the IFN website at https://www.interfaith.org.uk/involved/events.
Woking People of Faith is continuing its ‘Faith in Action: A Conversation with …’ on Thursday 17 June. The conversation will be with Kayte Cable, Co-Founder and Programme Manager of the Big Leaf Foundation. It is being held at 7pm. For more information, email email@example.com.
St Ethelburga's Centre for Reconciliation and Peace is holding an event to mark World Refugee Day on Friday 18 June. The event will be focusing on Brazil and Venezuela, two countries on either side of one of the largest displacement crises in the world. Exploring themes of belonging and culture, of relationships and community, the speakers will shine a light on what it means to be welcomed or to be a welcomer. The event is being held from 6.30pm to 8pm. For more information contact Jo Winslow Slater at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welwyn Hatfield Inter Faith Group is holding its next meeting on Monday 21 June. The topic will be 'What happens after Death?' and the speakers will be Tap Bali (Hindu); Fr Tony Thomas (Catholic); Amin Khan (Muslim); and Marc Pepperell (Christian Science). It begins at 8pm. For more information, email email@example.com.
Elmbridge Multi Faith Forum is holding its AGM on Tuesday 22 June. This will include a talk by Suzanne Akram, Executive Director, Surrey Minority Ethnic Forum (SMEF) on ‘The History and Growth of SMEF’. It begins at 7.30pm. For more information, email KawtherH@smef.org.uk.
Interfaith Scotland and Faith in Older People are holding the final seminar in their Mental Health series on Tuesday 22 June. It is being held from 4.30pm to 6pm. The panel will consist of Rita Docherty (Baha’i), Nicola Maule (Buddhist) and Robin Downie (Christian). The focus will be on mental health challenges from different faiths perspectives. To register, visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mental-health-older-people-and-faith-communities-tickets-141862128445.
South London Interfaith Group is holding its next lunchtime meeting on Thursday 24 June. The topic will be 'The Joyful Environmentalist' and the speaker will be Isabel Losada. It begins at 1pm. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Crawley Interfaith Network is holding its next event on Thursday 24 June. The topic will be 'Baha'i community management of the pandemic' and the speaker will be Simon Ward. For more information, email email@example.com.
Herefordshire Interfaith Group is holding its next meeting on Thursday 24 June. The theme will be 'Full Moon Reflections'. It is an occasion to come together to share wisdom from spiritual traditions through meditation, chant, poetry and inspiring readings with contributions from several members of the group. It is being held from 7pm to 8.40pm. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Council of Christians and Jews and St Ethelburga's Centre holding a conference on Thursday 24 June on 'Transforming Intolerance'. This will be a day of talks, workshops and poetry to to find new ways to build inclusive faith and inter faith spaces on campus. The keynote speakers will be Rev Rachel Mann and Rabbi Elli Tikvah Sarah. For more information, and to register, visit https://ccj.org.uk/Transforming-Intolerance.
Faiths Forum for London, in partnership with Faiths United Youth Network, is running a webinar series as part of its 'Listen Up' Campaign, to raise awareness of Freedom of Religion or Belief violations around the world. The next webinar is on Thursday 24 June at 7pm on ‘The Current Status of the Freedom of Religion or Belief Around the World: Challenges and Moving Forward’. For more information and to register, visit https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Y7OJ6b5tSVi66-dAHzi8xA.
Faith for the Climate and Faiths Together in Lambeth are jointly hosting a series of 5 workshops in and around London Climate Action Week for faith communities to get ready for COP26. The workshops are being held at 5.30pm on 25 June, 28 June, 30 June, 1 July and 6 July. They will include ‘Relationship building’, ‘Skills sessions’ and ‘Reflection and Next Steps. For registration and more information, visit www.faithfortheclimate.org.uk/events.
The St Philip's Centre in Leicester is holding its AGM on Tuesday 29 June at 5.30pm. For more information, contact email@example.com.
Edinburgh Interfaith Association is holding an event on Wednesday 30 June to celebrate LGBTQIA+ people of faith, and contributions to communities and society at large. It is being held from 7pm to 8pm. For more information, and to book, visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pride-2021-interfaith-solidarity-tickets-158597016947.
On Tuesday 6 July a conference is being held on ‘‘Worlds of Faith: Sculpture and Faith at St Paul's Cathedral, c.1796-1916’. This is the first conference of the UKRI-funded research project between the Department of History of Art at the University of York and St Paul's Cathedral. The conference will be object-focused, on individual monuments or small, related groups of monuments, with presentations by key scholars in the field as well as clergy. The papers will be organised into three panels: Empires of Faith: Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, and Buddhism; Sculpting the Bible; and The Victorian Church. Full details and booking can be found at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/worlds-of-faith-sculpture-and-faith-at-st-pauls-cathedral-c1796-1916-tickets-151220497579.
Hounslow Friends of Faith is holding its AGM on Wednesday 7 July. Following the meeting business, there will be a talk by Mr Malcolm Deboo, President of the Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe. The meeting begins at 7pm. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Centre for Interfaith Engagement at the Institute for Leadership and Community Development is holding a lecture on Monday 19 July on the Practicalities of Dialogue. This will be a practical session, led by Canon Dr Andrew Smith, on the practicalities and realities of dialogue, giving students a good grounding in the principle and practices that ensure dialogue is run effectively and constructively. It will form the introduction and basis for future dialogue sessions. It is being held from 11am to 12.30pm. To register, visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/practicalities-of-dialogue-hosted-by-canon-dr-andrew-smith-tickets-159499319759.
Fife Interfaith Group is holding its next event on Wednesday 21 July. This will include a talk by Christians Against Poverty. For more information, contact email@example.com.
More information on events and projects in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales:
Northern Ireland Inter-Faith Forum: www.niinterfaithforum.org
Interfaith Scotland: www.interfaithscotland.org
Inter-faith Council for Wales: www.interfaithwales.org.uk
You can sign up to IFN mailings at any time by using the form on IFN’s website at: www.interfaith.org.uk/news/gdpr or let us know that you would like to unsubscribe by using the links at the bottom of the cover email.
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