Frequently Asked Questions
"What does Awareness Sunday hope to achieve?"
Awareness Sunday challenges people to deepen their own faith and to begin to relate to those of differing faiths and worldviews, breaking down the fears and suspicions that so easily arise. It is an opportunity to affirm the values of love, respect and reconciliation and to build bridges of mutual respect and understanding with our neighbours.
"Is Awareness Sunday only relevant to Christians?"
Awareness Sunday is an annual invitation to everyone, whatever their faith or world view, to join us at this time and make a commitment to change attitudes and build relationships in the community based on respect and understanding. Awareness Sunday is a Christian initiative, but support and endorsements have been received from many other faiths, including Judaism and Islam. Awareness Friday has been marked by a number of Muslim groups and the Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth encouraged synagogues to mark Awareness Shabbat.
In our first year, 2011, the main event in London took place at Westminster Abbey; this was an entirely Christian service, attended by nearly two thousand people including representatives of other faiths.
"Why should I get involved with Awareness Sunday?"
You can change the world! Marking Awareness Sunday in your church, house group, chaplaincy or ecumenical group is a wonderful way of committing yourself to building a deeper, more confident, faith that would allow you to wideni your perspectives to better relate with those of other faiths and world views, without feeling threatened or compromising your own faith.
"What about religious extremism?"
Religious extremism is not an easy fix. In many cultures, the issues that give rise to such extremism go right to the heart of social and personal identity. Nevertheless, we believe that education and understanding is key to addressing these issues in a meaningful way. This needs long-term and sustained commitment. Awareness Sunday can play its part in defeating religious extremism.
"How can Awareness Sunday make a difference?"
All over the UK (and in key venues across the world), the message of greater awareness and respect was proclaimed on the first Awareness Sunday. It remains, each year, a call to 'love our neighbours' in an informed way, without compromising our faith. We can all benefit from such teaching.
"Isn't there too much difference between the faiths to ever make peace?"
Differences do not in themselves create wars – it is ignorance leading to fear and eventually to hostility that prevents peace. Through education and awareness, we can learn to respect each other and move away from seeing the 'other' as a target for our faith! This change in perspective leaves no room for hatred or extremism, and if this change can be passed from person to person, from faith to faith and from continent to continent then there will be no place left in this world for religious violence.