Looking back on Inter Faith Week 2022

To mark Inter Faith Week (13-20 November 2022), the Chaplaincy hosted events for staff and students of all faiths and none, and reached out via the @UniKentChaplaincy Instagram, to hear the variety of experiences of faith in the Kent community. There was a huge amount of positive engagement over the week, with events being more than twice as well attended as last year.

The aims to strengthen good inter-faith relations, increase awareness of different and distinct faith communities, and increase understanding between people of religious and non-religious belief were met with enthusiasm as a diverse range of experiences were shared.

What does faith mean to you?

Here’s a small selection of the responses to the question we asked on Instagram, which show the wide range of experiences of faith, and how coming to uni can help us explore these as a community:

‘For me, faith is loving someone unconditionally.’

‘Faith is like Wi-Fi, it’s invisible but it has the power to connect you to what you need.’

‘Faith is something that I grew up with but never really truly connected to. It denies a lot of how I live my life being a queer woman. I do believe in a higher power but cannot reconcile the views of religion with my way of life.’

‘My faith is about events, stories and activities from the past and present which help me grow to understand situations and experiences today.’

‘To me, faith is about knowing there is a higher power and a purpose even when I don’t see it… I don’t necessarily share my faith in a particular building at a particular time, although that can be a nice experience sometimes. Faith is trusting I’ll find the strength and courage to face what life throws at me, because I know I’m not alone in this world.’

Events in Medway and Canterbury

In Medway on Tuesday 15 November, Chaplain Lynne Martin hosted a ‘Chill and Chat’ pop up event. Students tried out an inter-faith quiz, and helped decorate a graffiti wall with a speech bubble completing the sentence “Faith is …”

In Canterbury, the main Inter Faith Week event was the Faith and Food symposium, led by the Chaplaincy and many of the student faith societies, who together on campus on Wednesday 16 November.

Seven presentations, each about eight minutes long, were given by students and other faith representatives. Contributors shared a variety of beliefs and traditions surrounding ‘Faith and Food’: the place and significance of diet, ritual, celebration and fasting in a mix of cultures and faith contexts. Members of Muslim (Sunni and Shia), Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Sikh and Krishna Conscious faiths were represented in good numbers.

Common themes around attitudes to food emerged: an emphasis on sharing and generosity; seeing food as a gift and not taking it for granted; careful rituals around eating; and regular or occasional fasting may underscore that); celebrating with food; and thinking about the production and consumption of food in a ‘holistic’ way, taking into consideration our connectedness with the rest of humanity and the environment and even the universe.

The talks revealed the careful preparation, commitment and sincerity of the presenters, and the input was appreciated respectfully in this multicultural and multi-ethnic gathering, with around 50 people coming together as part of the Kent community.

The evening ended with the sharing of a vegetarian and vegan buffet meal together, bringing the convivial and thought-provoking gathering to a close.

Find out more

For full details of the range of events taking place this week and in the future, check out the Chaplaincy events calendar.

Be sure to follow the Chaplaincy Instagram account @UniKentChaplaincy to find out about faith meet ups, learn more about different religious and cultural festivities and practices, and be inspired to share your beliefs with a welcoming and inclusive community.

There are also several episodes of the Kent Voices podcast which include discussion on faith at uni. Listen on SpotifyApple Podcasts, or search your favourite podcast service.

Written by Andrea Koenders-Donnan (Chaplaincy Assistant) and Joshua Stevens (Student Services), 18.11.2022.