On Wednesday 14th March 2018 All Saints Church of England School, Cricklewood Lane, NW2 had a special assembly with leaders of the three Abrahamic faiths. The new Priest in Charge at All Saints Church, The Reverend Robin Sims-Williams was joined by Rabbi Dov Kaplan of the Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue, Ahmad Alkazemi from the Markaz El Tathgheef El Eslami (the Islamic Centre in the Hippodrome at Golders Green), and Steve Derby, director of Interfaith Matters.
The group first attended a whole school assembly in which three of the students, from years 1, 2 and 3 asked the faith leaders questions about their respective faith’s teachings, the purpose of prayer and their distinctive clothing. Steve Derby closed off the assembly saying, “If you take one thing away from today, let it be that you had Rabbi Dov, who is Jewish, Ahmad, who is Muslim, and Fr Robin, who is Christian, sitting together as friends, speaking to you.”
After the assembly the group visited years 4, 5 and 6 so that they could have an opportunity for greater discussion. The children and faith leaders discussed what motivated them to take up their current roles, what they had to do to take on their roles and whether science was a challenge to their faith.
“The students at All Saints’ asked such candid questions, I found myself learning so much from the discussions, and it was wonderful to see the school community engaged in dialogue with our visitors. It was a privilege to speak with and learn from Rabbi Dov and Ahmad in this setting; it is so important for the children to see devout people of different faiths working and laughing together and for us all to develop the skill of having good honest dialogue with people from different faith traditions.” – The Reverend Robin Sims-Williams, Priest in Charge, All Saints’ Church, Child’s Hill.
All Saints School serves a diverse community, and their admissions policy reserves half of the places for children from families from all faiths and none.