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Faith and Service to the Community – Inter Faith Network

July 6, 2017

2001 National Meeting Report, looking at the role of faith in community service projects.

We are told abut Jewish Tzedakah: if Jewish charity begins at home, it certainly does not stop there. We are also taught that the collection of alms and the giving of assistance to the needy is a basic precept and a fundamental instruction. We are given clear instruction on how to collect alms, without harassment, and how to distribute them, with great sensitivity and without causing embarrassment. There has to be no condescension in alms giving or in the care of the needy. In ancient Jewish teaching acts of benevolence especially singled out were visiting the sick, attending funerals, comforting mourners and, of great importance in those times, the essential need to redeem captives held to ransom by kidnappers

Then Sikh: Khalsa Aid was not set up as a result of careful planning over a period of months or years. It was formed in 1999 at the time of the Kosovo crisis and represented a very spontaneous response to that particular situation. …Unfortunately, we do encounter a lot of corruption.We were threatened many times in many countries. Recently in Gujarat we were warned that if we didn’t hand our money over to this person, or that person, we would be put inside prison. But to me as a Sikh, the Khalsa, means ‘Tun, Mun, Dun’. ‘Tun’ is your body, ‘Mun’ is your mind, your spiritual side and ‘Dun’ is your worldly materialistic goods. When you take the amrit, or baptism, you pledge all three to the service of humanity. I am sure there is an initiation ceremony in most faiths. Your body, your mind, your worldly goods, are working for the Lord twenty four hours a day. What are you going to fear? A bullet in the chest, or letting people down? We believe in God. We believe that we have been under his protection so far. Wherever we go, we take our hearts with us and we take the blessings of our people with us

It is not only the Buddhist and Jain traditions that teach concern for animals and the need to take ecology seriously; other religions, too, embody these messages, including the indigenous Pagan traditions in Britain. There is, however, a risk of over-idealising religious teachings

Sadly, just as the tobacco industry is targeting the third world, so are McDonalds.

two of the teachings of Baha’ullah: “Work that is prompted by the highest motives and done in the spirit of service to mankind is considered to be worshipping God.”; “Attaining perfection in one’s profession can be considered as giving praise to God”

It is going to be very difficult to prove that there are no “strings” attached, that we are not interested in faith promotion, and this is not why we would be providing a service. I am not sure that many local authorities actually believe that right now, so we have got quite a lot to prove.

It’s online here

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