Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Encounter in faith

The Countdown 2009 board met this morning to receive updates from Focus groups. Some of them are now to be wound up have achieved their objectives. I feel as if we've only just begun to get into our stride as a faith focus group. There's so much more we need to do and progress is slowed down by the fact that many prominent faith community leaders are involved in initiatives relating to the Assembly Government, and are unwilling to give priority to city based initiatives which have a different focus and purpose.

The meeting received the draft report on city centre transport and the future of St Mary Street to be presented to the council tomorrow. The basic ideas remain unchanged - bus transport hubs distributed around the four points of the compass, linked by a free shuttle. It's a concept that meets with governmental favour. Raising the funding, especially nowaways, will be a challenge.

At the end of the afternoon I welcomed a group of sixteen women of the BME educational organisation 'Women Connect First', which came to us at the end of a day's tour of six places of worship belonging to Cardiff's faith communities. My task was to give them a brief introduction to Christianity and its practices. For many of them it was their first ever visit to a church, so lots of explanations of the many things social as well as religious which distinguish a church from a Mosque or a Temple were necessary.

All had noticed the outdoor nativity as they arrived and expressed their appreciation and delight to have it explained to them how Christians use images to tell the stories contained in scripture and tradition. The Muslim women of the group all knew about Mary, as he's in the Qu'ran, and also about John the Baptist to whose honour our building is dedicated, also in the Qu'ran. Even though the stories we have to tell about them are different, what we have in common is that we have stories to tell that are all part of God's story. They were a lively group, interested and full of questions.

I hope they enjoyed their session as much as I did.

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