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Concord is one of the oldest interfaith groups in the UK, founded 40 years ago. It exists to foster friendship, trust, tolerance, understanding and co-operation among members of the faith communities of multi-cultural Leeds.

The group also works closely with the Leeds Faith Forum
and is affiliated to the national Interfaith Network for the UK.
Concord is a registered Charity with a secretary, treasurer and executive committee.
Some of the faiths Concord brings together:
Baha'is, Brahma Kumaris, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Pagans, Sikhs and others.

Its aims are:

  • to advance public knowledge and mutual understanding of the teachings, traditions and practices of the different faith communities in the Leeds Metropolitan District, and to nurture respect and friendly relations by facilitating interfaith dialogue and organising educational and cultural events;
  • to promote and to work for justice, peace and social harmony for the public benefit in the multi-cultural Leeds Metropolitan District by advocacy, by focused public events and projects, and by co-operating with other organisations that have similar objectives.

Upcoming Events and Recent News

Women Peace-ing Together Update

Our Women Peace-ing Together Project continues, and has had a webpage revamp - Check it out here.

 

Baha'i Ethics in Contemporary Society

On 29th June, Dr Shahin Fatheazam spoke, to a packed meeting room of Concord members and guests, about Baha'i Ethics in Contemporary Society. An engaging presentation that led to lots of discussion in the subsequent Q&A, and during refreshments afterwards.

Shalom - Salaam at Concord's AGM 2017

On 17th May once the formal matters of the AGM were over, including re-election of the Executive Board Members and minor amendments to the constitution, we were joined by Hilary Curwen and Salma Arif of the Leeds Branch of Nisa-Nashim (Jewish Muslim Womens Network) whose talk "Shalom - Salaam" described the branch's formation and the events and initiatives they have been privileged to participate in since. They also looked to the future and what increased dialogue and understanding between the two faiths could mean, including the possibility of discussing the "difficult" questions.

The Interfaith River

Dennis Hallam, a Buddhist member of Concord now living in Chopwell, near Newcastle, has sent us a copy of this picture that he has composed to give symbolic expression to the unity of faiths. The Latin title means ‘Holy rivers all flow into one sea of love.’

He explains the elements of the picture thus:

  • Consciousness (God the Father, Tao, Brahma, the Void etc) is represented by the white area at the centre. (In case anyone thinks it looks like a Zionist takeover, the shape also represents the source of all phenomena in one of the Hindu faiths);

  • Life (Holy Spirit, the One, dancing Shiva, the Fiery Aether etc) is represented by the orange circle;

  • Love is represented by the "landscape", with its avatars and prophet, in which the spiritual journey is represented by water in its circuit from ocean back to ocean.

Along the bottom are the names of founders and prophets of the major faiths.

Click here to get a full size version that can be printed.

There is much food for thought in this image, which repays attention to its details. We are grateful to Dennis for making it available to us.

In Loving Memory


Dr Hamed Pakrooh died on Saturday 6th of May following a year long battle with cancer.  He was a long term, highly respected, and very active member of Leeds Baha'i community representing the Faith in many capacities.  He was a member of the Board of Leeds Faiths Forum, and Chair of Concord for four terms. 
 
Special prayers were said for him and his family (his wife Farah, his daughters Azita and Mina, his son Ramin, his seven grandchildren, his two son-in-laws and his daughter-in-law) by Leeds Local Assembly.

Muslim Life in Britain

On 27th April, Concord Members were welcomed into Leeds Language Academy to hear Dr Hakan Gok talk to us about Muslim Life in Britain. "Ken", as he asked us to call him, has an interesting, and maybe atypical, view of this topic, as his background and upbringing are firmly rooted in his former home countryof Turkey. In contrast, he believes Muslim Life in Britain is good, and went on to detail why - the things that we often take for granted, and can be often heard to moan about, are the things that make his "new" home country, Britain, good!

However, Muslim Life in Britain is not perfect, but it is better than some of the stories Ken shared with us about Muslims who are effectively trapped and detained in Turkey for having views that do not follow those of the ruling party. The audience raised a number of stories where Muslim Life in Britain was far from perfect, specifically the increase instances of Islamophobia post-Brexit Referendum. Ken asked us to strive towards tackling these issues head on and improving Britain even further by "doing our bit" to bring knowledge, awareness and understanding to the authorities and politicians in order to make "our country" even better.

This was another departure for Concord with a focus very different from our normal  meetings. A thought provoking evening, that will hopefully have attendees reaching for their pens.

The Workplace, Spirituality & Interfaith Dialogue

In March, Concord members were welcomed into All Hallows Church in Hyde Park to hear the Revd Dr David Randolph Horn discuss his PhD research, "Spirituality at Work, an Inter Religious Perspective".

David's research was hinged on the fact that the 2011 census showed that the number of religious adherents had fallen to about half of the population, so what about the other half? His research explored spirituality as something that both religious and non-religious individuals experience, and how this impacts upon their daily life, their behaviours and values, including in their place of work.

David endeavoured to let the research participants define what they meant by the term Spirituality rather than impose definitions, especially when it is notoriously difficult to define, and means different things to different people.

Attendance was varied, reflecting the variety of individuals interested in David's research. An absorbing and stimulating evening was had by all.

 
Brahma Kumari Ethics in Contemporary Society

On 21st February members of Concord were welcomed into the Brahma Kumari Centre Centre on Otley Road to listen to Dr David Goodman speak about Ethics in Contemporary Society from a Brahma Kumari perspective. With the help of Jane Kay, a fellow Brahma Kumari, asking thoughtful questions of him, David discussed how Brahma Kumaris aim to embody their ethics, the virtues that all should aspire to when "in a relationship" with divinity, be they Brahma Kumaris or not. He also noted how contemporary society has distracted us from being virtuous, and from being ethical.

Jane brought the meeting too a close with a recitation of the "Paradoxical Commandments", as found on the wall of Shishu Bhavan, Mother Teresa's children's home in Calcutta.

Death & Beyond in Sikhism & Quakerism

On 16th January, Concord members and guests met with Professor Bakshish Singh (Sikh - Left) and Robert Keeble (Quaker - Right) to discuss Death and Beyond from the perspectives of Sikhism and Quakerism, at the Sikh Temple on Chapeltown Road. This meeting was probably the largest we've seen for an "ordinary" Concord meeting.

Robert, a life-long Quaker and Elder from the Carlton Hill Meeting House, gave the Friends' perspective - where there is no set doctrine on death, but by considering death people can live life to the full. Similarly, there are no set funeral services but Friends try to meet the wishes of the bereaved family. This often goes above and beyond the Quaker tradition of shared silence, with a memorial meeting where the life of the deceased is celebrated. Cremation is now the norm, but there are three Quaker burial grounds in Leeds.

Professor Singh referred to the sikh scriptures, the Guru Granth Sahib, which explain the law of karma, reincarnation, and transmigration of the soul towards union with God. Funeral Services can vary, but cremation is the accepted tradition, with the ashes being scattered into flowing water. There are usually eight days of prayers for the deceased, and for visitis from friends and family.

Concord's 40th Anniversary commemorative book available to purchase

A Leeds Interfaith Story 1946-2016

BookWritten by a team including Trevor Bates, Primrose Agbamu, Cynthia Dickinson , John Moreton & John Summerwill (with contributions from Concord members)

283 A5 pages in full colour - 238 illustrations

This substantial and unique book, published to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Concord, tells the story of the different faith communities in Leeds and of the key individuals who have promoted interfaith relationships.

 

Purchase:

 

Copyright ©2017 Concord (Leeds Inter-faith Fellowship). All Rights Reserved.

Registered Charity No.: 516339