Apax continues to look for ways to promote social inclusion and mutual understanding of others’ views, beliefs and perspectives based on the principle of unity in diversity. Acceptance of this principle implies the development of a sense of world citizenship and a love for all of humanity: “The diversity in the human family should be the cause of love and harmony, as it is in music where many different notes blend together in the making of a perfect chord.” Important values and principles can shape an individual’s frame of reference and dictate how one chooses to live their life. In today’s climate of ongoing religious tension and conflict it is easy to become influenced by the media, all too often resulting in many people possessing a one-sided, biased perspective on events, beliefs and cultures without having a true understanding of the motives and teachings that underpin them.
With this as our current societal backdrop, we are delighted to see that Apax residents are taking positive steps towards gaining a deeper understanding of people’s cultures and religions. Set up entirely as a result of their own initiative, Interfaith is a group that meets weekly and welcomes friends of all backgrounds and faiths, with the aim to educate and deepen people’s understanding of each other’s origins and promote safe, thought-provoking discussion without judgment or motive.
“The diversity in the human family should be the cause of love and harmony, as it is in music where many different notes blend together in the making of a perfect chord.”
Apax believes in ‘Empowering, Engaging and Enabling’ its residents by encouraging them to build their self-confidence and take ownership of things. We also value ‘Community Building’, whereby we assist our residents in developing and nurturing friendships and a fostering a collaborative team spirit by contributing towards social action and betterment of society. It is evident that our residents also value this and, as a result, Interfaith has grown organically from the shared perspective that mutual understanding can lead to harmonious existence.
The impact that Interfaith has had on our residents is far-reaching, with some reporting that they feel “inspired and enlightened” and others finding it therapeutic, and a place that they can fulfil a previously-neglected religious need without feeling judged. In addition to their weekly gatherings, the group has so far organised a number of events, including educational trips – they recently visited a synagogue and soon plan to go to St Paul’s Cathedral and an East London mosque. They also facilitated a memorial for a friend who had passed, resulting in a wonderful turnout of over 35 people.
As well as using their meetings to have in-depth, supportive discussions, residents also use them to socialise and walk together. Group participants pick the agenda and take full ownership as to what they wish to cover in each session. In order to get the most out of the meeting, they often start and end with an artistic activity to encourage expression and exploration, involving instruments and singing, which everyone thoroughly enjoys.
Interfaith is clearly a highly valued group, with testimonials from many residents confirming that they benefit greatly from it and that they often take away a renewed perspective and appreciation of the different faiths that enrich our world. We are delighted of what Interfaith stands for and of what they have achieved so far. We look forward to seeing the group grow and continue to build on its success in the future.