On the 14th of November Revd Canon Nigel Rawlinson, University Chaplain, was joined in the Chaplaincy by Visiting Local Faith Leaders: Dr Mohammed Gamal Abdelnour, Mother Sarah and Iris Segall. Together, they reaffirmed the importance of building and protecting safe spaces founded on mutual respect, and discussed what is common between the faiths and strategies to support nonviolence and peace.

The event was first proposed by students on the 10th of October four days after hostilities broke out in Israel and the Gaza Strip. They wished for those of different faiths to meet together in silence to pray. They called for a better way to resolve difference.

The University of Bath aims to build bonds of community. Listening and compassion underpin our work in the University Chaplaincy. We hope that these bonds will support us and be strengthened through these painful times.

On the 24th of October, a two-minute silence was held in the University community to: 1. Mourn the loss of lives
2. Remember those who are suffering
3. Remind us of our shared humanity and in so doing offer a source of support and comfort to all

In response to the students' request and despite the challenging nature of the conversation, as part of National Interfaith Week 2023, three of the Bath University Interfaith Community's Visiting Local Faith Leaders joined Nigel to talk. Iris Segall is from the British and West Progressive Jewish Congregation, and a teacher in contemporary Judaism in schools. Mother Sarah is an Orthodox Christian Chaplain from the Community of St John of Krondstadt and Dr Mohammed Gamal Abdelnour is the Imam of Bath Mosque.

Following three short presentations from each Visiting Local Faith Leader, the panel discussed what resonated of the common ground and shared ideas to help enable and develop this dialogue. Finally, they shared thoughts about building and protecting safe places founded on mutual respect where it is possible to talk together, look to the future and reach out to others.

You can listen to a podcast of their conversation, which was recorded in front of an invited audience.