The day started with a buzz, meeting happy people to board on the trail bus. Those who booked on the trail were met at 162 Pennywell Road. The trail bus was full and 5 others were following the trail in their own transport or sharing a car.
At each venue everyone felt welcomed and were put at ease to ask questions. At each venue refreshments were available. One participant commented on the evaluation form ‘Not quite sure what is meant by ‘Access’. everyone in each venue “places of Worship” were inviting, friendly and welcoming which made me question myself as to why my behaviour in my own place of worship’. The Lord Mayor and the Lord Mayor Elect joined the trail party at St Marks Road Mosque, The Bristol Sikh Temple at Fishponds and at the St Nicholas Church. Due to a prior engagement The Lord Mayor was not able to Join us at the Hindu Temple and the Bahai Centre.
At each trail venue a talk was delivered on ‘faith in time of Austerity’. The common thread was inevitable in that all faiths have means of coping through bad times and always grateful for good times and accepting it with humility.
At St Nicholas Church we learnt how one can be proactive in preventing hardship and influencing various bodies to ease suffering in time of Austerity or those in poverty at any time. This was quite a contrast with other faith communities though perhaps not surprising as Black and minorities ethnic communities hardly participate in any consultations. There is perhaps scope for a better and constructive contribution to be made by minority faith communities in influencing policies that support the vulnerable in our society.
A few Faith places that were not on the trail reported back and confirmed it was a good day. The 2 synagogues were opened for a shorter period due to the start of a festival later that afternoon.
The Quran Academy had opened their door a week before and on the evening of 25th Feb. it was not possible to open their doors on 24th Feb due to classes.
It was noticeable a number of Muslims visited places of worship other than their own. We are also aware at least one Hindu female visited the Bahai Centre and the Church on the trail. In the previous years it was noticeable only British White Christians, seculars, Bahai and Jewish community visited other places of worship. The Majority of these represent mainly white British or other whites.
Most visitors were able to interact with both females and males in all faith places except in the Mosques. For example the visitors were welcomed and served food by both male and female members at the Sikh Temple , Hindu Temple, Bahai Centre and at the church.
One suggestion we would make to mosques is to encourage their women to come to Mosques and meet people. It would be acceptable for Muslim women to just meet female visitors should they not want to be in mixed company. One of the purposes of Diverse Doors Open Doors is to understand the spiritual and cultural etiquette which go a long way in understanding diversity.
As at 6th March we were given estimated numbers by 6 faith places. The total from those reported is 216. The total including those on the trail is 237.
Those on the trail visited 5 different places totalling 105 visits. We don’t know the number reported by other faith places visiting more than one place or not. It is likely they visited more than one place.
The development worker at each place made a note of ‘perceived ethnicity’ and of faiths if she was certain. We know 5 (Asian) Muslim excluding Lord Mayor Elect men visited the Sikh Temple, Hindu Temple,1 (Asian) Muslim male visited Sikh temple Hindu temple, Christian Church and The Bahai centre and One Hindu (Asian) visited the Bahai centre and the Christian church.
There were 7Asians in appearance, 4 Africans / Afro Caribbean and the majority were white in appearance attending the talk at QAB.