Women’s Interfaith Workshop 14.9.2021

Gratitude and Thankfulness

RFF Women’s Interfaith Workshop

A group of 21 women met via Zoom on Tuesday September 14th to discuss this uplifting topic. It is acknowledged that throughout our lives an attitude of thankfulness and gratitude is an integral part of maintaining good mental and spiritual health. It helps us keep a positive outlook on life and often puts things into perspective.  Each woman was invited to share their personal answer to this question “What/who we are grateful, or thankful for in our lives? “

A common thread amongst the women’s answers was gratitude for :-
health,  Covid vaccination, independence, family, friends, homes, living in a democracy with the provision of the NHS, education, the beauty of the natural world, challenges in life that enabled them to grow stronger and develop resilience, technology that has permitted connection in times of social distancing , the kindness of others, communities looking out for each other. One member shared that by providing telephone support to elderly members of her community she had made many new friends and learnt much about their lives. Another was grateful that after initiating contact with youngsters passing by her church they now stop and speak to her.  The small things in life can mean so much and many acknowledged that the pandemic had given them an appreciation for the simpler things in life and had been an opportunity to slow down and take stock.  Another lady was grateful for her parents, her upbringing and education that had equipped her for a fulfilling life.

Some women spoke about the importance of faith during the recent challenges - the comfort of reading scripture; praying to God; listening to His voice; growing the special relationship with God; feeling grateful for the promise of a future with God after death; the opportunity to join services and listen to sermons online. One lady was grateful for the introduction of the practice of family prayers at home during lockdown, whereas pre-Covid the men would pray at the mosque and the women at home , this has brought the family closer and was very precious.  One member  expressed gratitude that her dying father had been allowed to have his family visit him in hospital during his last hours.  Several mentioned they were grateful for the opportunity RFF had given for them to meet others and enjoy the diversity of Redbridge.  Some ladies were grateful for the opportunities they had to serve others and remarked that the Bible says (multiple times) to give thanks.  Some scripture verses were shared about being thankful.

One lady remarked that gratitude is an attitude of mind and we were reminded that Cicero said “A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue but the parent of all other virtues”.  Another lady remarked that there is no grace without gratitude.

One member wondered whether men would have a different perspective if asked the same question which gave rise to some interesting discussions and sharing of viewpoints.

Everyone agreed that it had been a very worthwhile and enjoyable time of sharing – the event closed with a reminder that everyone would be welcome to join the Walk of Peace on Sunday, 19th September commencing in the Holocaust Memorial Gardens at 1 pm.  The topic to be “Faith, Climate Change and Water”.