Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Meetings that matter

Inter-faith Wales and the Community Development Foundation arranged a meeting today for those in receipt of CDF funding, bringing people together from West and North Wales. It was held at the officers of Women Connect First, a local cross cultural womens' empowerment and education organisation, led by a dynamic Egyptian woman called Soad Hamdi.

There wasn't a great deal that was new in the meeting content, but it was good to hear what a different group of grant recipients are up to. Most memorable was a woman from Penllergaer called Pam Evans who founded an organisation to educate young people about religious and racial tolerance, focussing around the wearing of a simple multi-coloured bead bracelet, representing fourteen different world religions with a common essential teaching and message about peace. The bracelet is called a Peace Mala. Their website is worth looking at.

One thing that annoyed me however was that speakers wanted to use a laptop and projector for presentations, but full mastery of the technology was absent, so the wall used for a screen behind the speaker flashed distractingly with images that didn't connect with what was being said. Totally pointless.

It's wonderful to meet people who are passionate about reconciliation and diversity, who see these things as real good news, and constantly look outwards to engage with others. So much more cheering than people who struggle to remain stuck in their chosen rut.

I had to slip out of the meeting and pedal in the rain over from Riverside to St John's to offer the midday Eucharist, and then return for the rest of the session. I should really have peddled in the opposite direction, over to Roath for the Deanery Chapter meeting following lunch, but sad to say it was in my diary but not in my field of vision. More often than not I come away from our official gatherings with fellow clergy feeling frustrated and depressed. But there was enough at the other meeting to draw me back to it, laptops notwithstanding.

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