Mozaik: Building our Bridges
Welcome to a very special edition of Mozaik. I’m sure it’s obvious to everyone that this year has been an eventful one globally. From the Ukrainian revolution and conflict with Russian backed separatists, analysed in these pages by Ukrainian journalist Natalia Rudnichenko, to the fighting in Gaza and the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Within this context of global strife, the work of the ecumenical movement (including WSCF Europe) and all progressively minded Europeans is more vital than ever. Rather than staying within our metaphorical fortress, we have to reach out and engage with other cultures, whether this is through tackling xenophobia at home, peace-building between religions or simply loving a neighbour from a different country. We include in this magazine various visions of how to engage with this multifaith modern world, which paradoxically seems closer and yet more divided than ever.
The title of this edition, Bridging Our Differences, is taken from a conference that took place in Wroclaw, Poland in March-April, organized with the cooperation of Religions for Peace and European Interfaith Youth Network, both interfaith NGOs. For this conference, young people from SCMs across Europe gathered together to learn about interacting with different faiths and cultures, including from Bosnian students, local faith leaders, and intercultural communications experts.
In this edition will be a mosaic of introductions, articles, resources and prayer. This is my first edition as editor-in-chief, we have a relatively new permanent staff member based in Berlin Kathryn Cammish, and of course our new Regional Sectary Natia Tsinstadze, who has written a letter introducing herself and laying out some of her plans for WSCF Europe over the next few years. We also have chosen to republish a prayer issued by WSCF Global to focus our prayers on the Middle East.
We have an article by Rachel Power investigating the role of religion in peacebuilding rather than simply causing war; after this we have the history of the Interreligious Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina, written by one of its founders Vjekoslav Saje. We have an analysis of Catholic Doctrines of Intercultural dialogue and its failings, written by Rui Coehlo, a member of International Catholic Youth Students.
We also have Peter Haresnape writing on his experience working as a member of a Christian Peacemaker Team fighting in Canada to protect indigenous rights, and a conversation about God and Faith with Thomas Gilet, who was born a French Catholic but converted to Sufi Islam in his 20s and is now an interfaith activist. Finally we have two passionate poems by Pip Sides drawing on spiritual themes across different religions and ideas from varied European cultures.
And, as a final piece of news, this may be the final issue of Mozaik in this format as we are looking at embracing new technologies. I hope you enjoy reading it.