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World Religion Day by Emma Daeth, Trust Chaplain

January seems to be a busy month worldwide, filled with events, celebrations, awareness days, saints’ days, campaigns, sporting events and global festivities.

In amongst those days on 21 January is World Religion Day. I can guess what you may be thinking: "religion isn’t for me" but please wait, let me explain a little about it. 

World Religion Day began in The United States of America in 1949 by the people who share the Baha’i faith, they noticed how the spiritual principles of the world religions all shared common values including a version of ‘The Golden Rule’- that is the principle of treating others as you yourself would like to be treated.

As I thought about writing this blog, I reflected on how all of us as human beings in this world need compassion and solace. The spiritual principles that underpin world religion day understand us as spiritual beings, to borrow the words of a fellow chaplain writing last year, ‘whose minds and bodies are connected to one another who are in turn connected to this earth in all its beauty and brokenness.’

We may not be part of an organised religion, but we do have our own values and beliefs, how we choose to live is our decision and responsibility. But I would also say paying attention to our spiritual needs and wellbeing is important. What gives you life, light and peace, connection and that sense of purpose?

Maybe a sense of connection could be with the rhythm of the seasons and the cycle of life, particularly now in the winter, though it may be darker and colder, there is still a sense of expectancy of new growth, green shoots appearing in nature and maybe within ourselves. New Year is often a time of making ‘resolutions’ which frequently falter, so instead of feeling  despondent, my hope as we embark on this New Year, and mark World Religion Day, is we will each be reminded that we are spiritual beings and find the time and space to reflect on all that gives us a sense of hope, joy and thankfulness. That will never falter or disappoint us!

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