Interfaith Advisor reflects on Yoga, Remembrance Sunday and Interfaith week
The Reverend Deborah Parsons is the Interfaith Advisor for the Church of England in Devon. Here she responds to recent press coverage about church hall yoga bookings with a personal reflection on Interfaith week, Remembrance Sunday and where Christians stand on yoga:
“The beauty of the Anglican Church is its breadth. It recognises that theology, how we speak, know and understand God is a life-long journey. We’re invited to be curious, to listen to difference and to re-imagine how to be Love’s Presence in every community.
“Interfaith Week is deliberately timed to begin on 10th November, Remembrance Sunday. In a world in which there is so much division, it provides an opportunity to pause and to listen to different voices even when it seems difficult.
“Through respectful listening we can come to a deeper understanding of each other. Jesus the Christ modelled this by his engagement with and love for the outsider. He crossed borders and boundaries and questioned taboos. He spread an aroma of love.
“In my experience of Interfaith work, I have discovered the hidden Christ in different faiths and traditions. As Richard Rohr says in his book The Universal Christ, ‘What if all creation is the hiding place of God?’
“I grew up in a Christian household. When my father was forty, he decided to take up yoga. My mother thought it was a passing fad. It wasn’t.
“He went on to become a yoga teacher, which he did for thirty years. My mother was deeply distrustful of other faiths and spiritualities because she’d had so little experience of them.
“That experience has helped me to understand the different perspectives that people within the Christian community can have and has helped me in my own learning edge and interfaith experience.”
For more information about Interfaith Week in Devon go to: https://exeter.anglican.org/events/devon-faith-and-belief-forum-interfaith-week-2019/