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HOPE 2012: ‘Bridging Cultures’

On Thursday June 28th – Sunday July 1st, Riverside were involved with the third ‘Bridging Cultures’ course exploring cross-cultural mission. We had ten first-time participants representing several different churches across Birmingham and even a couple of people from Belfast, which was brilliant! During the morning sessions, we were privileged enough to have input from people currently working in existing local projects, as well as those who have come from different faith backgrounds. The afternoons included a mosque visit, which was both challenging and eye-opening, and a couple of different social action projects such as cleaning up an alleyway highlighted by residents but since the alleyway was really dirty they had to contact to get it really clean.

The three and a half day project ended with ‘Sunrise in Sparkhill’, a multi-faith celebration designed to unite the local community as the Olympic Torch passed through. It was a very exciting morning, albeit rather early (!), and  was fantastic to see people from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds joining together.

Overall, the course reminded each of us how important it is to have a deeper understanding of those around us, particularly in Birmingham with its many diverse and vibrant communities. There are always on going opportunities to develop relationships so there is a strong foundation upon which to share our faith – I really encourage you to find out about them and consider doing the ‘Bridging Cultures’ course next year too!