This year, Greenbelt is pleased to be teaming up with the Cambridge Inter-faith Programme and Coexist House to bring you six Scriptural Reasoning (SR) workshops in the Canvas venue, a new space at Greenbelt dedicated to inter-faith and inter-cultural learning and dialogue (we’ll blog more about The Canvas venue in the next few days here).
Here, the team from Cambridge Interfaith Programme share more about what SR is and how it works …
SR is a tool for inter-faith dialogue whereby people of different faiths come together to read and reflect on their scriptures. Reading, listening to and reflecting on scripture is something many do naturally within their own worshipping communities. As participants in SR we are not asked to leave that behind. Rather, we read our scripture in the presence of others, sharing it with those outside our faith community.
Unlike many forms of inter-faith engagement, SR is not about seeking agreement but rather exploring the texts and their possible interpretations across faith boundaries, and learning to ‘disagree better’. The result is often a deeper understanding of others and one’s own scriptures, as well as the development of strong bonds across faith communities.
At the heart of SR is mutual hospitality, with each participant willing to act as both host and guest. One is a host when sharing ones scripture with others, and a guest when exploring the sacred text of another faith tradition. SR is now practised in communities across the UK and globally, including in places affected by religion-related tensions and conflict.
So popular was SR two years ago at the festival that the first session attracted a crowd of 500 people all squeezed under one tent! This year across the Greenbelt festival weekend, The Canvas will be hosting six Scriptural Reasoning sessions – two looking at ‘Refugees’, two (for young people) looking at ‘Clothing and Modesty’ and two looking at ‘Neighbours’ in the Muslim, Jewish and Christian scriptures.
Each SR session will have a capacity of 100 this year, so we can maximise the depth and richness of the experience for participants. You will be able to sign-up for sessions between 9am and 10am in the Canvas each morning. Because of capacity restrictions for each session, we’ll ask that people only attend one SR session over the weekend, so that as many people get to experience it as possible.
As a space for hospitality and for deep inter-faith and inter-cultural learning and dialogue, SR is a perfect fit for The Canvas at Greenbelt 2016 and we are delighted to enjoy the support of the Cambridge Interfaith Programme and Coexist House in this.