The Future of Religion: How has the Pandemic Changed the Ways we Practise?

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Please join us during World Interfaith Harmony Week, for the sixth and final event in Interfaith Glasgow's dialogue series, "Voices from the Portal: Re-Imagining our Post-pandemic World."

The Future of Religion

How has the Pandemic Changed the Ways we Practise?


Tuesday 2nd February

12.00 - 2.00 pm EST | 5.00 - 7.00 pm GMT | 7.00 - 9.00 pm SAST



Join us to explore new forms of religious life in diverse faith communities, reshaped by experiences of the COVID pandemic.

Keynote and panel from 12 - 1.30 ET | 5 - 6.30 GMT | 7 - 8.30 SAST. Followed by small group dialogue with your diverse neighbours, near and far, in New York, Glasgow, Cape Town, and beyond.


Interfaith Glasgow's "Voices from the Portal" dialogue series has invited people of all faith backgrounds to reflect together on key issues highlighted by the COVID pandemic. What, we have asked, should the "new normal" look like after the pandemic? How can we make it more just and inclusive than the "old normal"? This final event in the series will mark World Interfaith Harmony Week, and feature a trans-Atlantic interfaith dialogue -- in partnership with the Interfaith Center of New York and the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative -- exploring new forms of religious life in the UK, the USA, and South Africa.

The social distancing required to fight the pandemic has presented extraordinary challenges and unexpected opportunities to faith communities throughout the world. Most congregations have been unable to meet safely in person, but many have developed innovative forms of religious practice online. What lessons can we draw from these experiences? What new practices will stand the test of time? What will the "new normal" look like in diverse faith communities?

The conversation will be framed by a discussion of the findings of the "British Ritual Innovation Under COVID-19" research project. A panel of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Buddhist faith leaders from New York City, Cape Town, and Johannesburg will then share their own communities' experiences of religious life during the pandemic and beyond. Following this panel discussion, small group dialogues will give participants an opportunity to share and discuss their own experiences during the pandemic, and their visions for the post-COVID world.

All are welcome to join the conversation!



Featured Speakers

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(from left to right)

Dr. Joshua Edelman, Principal Investigator for the "British Ritual Innovation Under COVID-19" research project, at Manchester Metropolitan University

Dr. Joseph Edelman is a senior lecturer at the Manchester School of Theatre and the Principal Investigator for the BRIC-19 research project. Drawing on his training in the anthropology of religion and his work as a theatre director, Dr. Edelman's research looks at both theatre and religion as fields of social performance, especially in the contemporary West. As an author and editor, he has explored such topics as progressive Jewish liturgical music, the scandal of false witness in testimonial theatre, the Oberammergau passion play, sacred space and the Occupy Wall Street movement, and more.


Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara, Abbot of the Village Zendo, New York

Roshi Enkyo received priest ordination from Maezumi Roshi, and Dharma Transmission and Inka from Bernie Tetsugen Glassman. Her lineage comes through Maezumi Roshi, whose teaching was uncommon, bringing together Soto priest training and study of the Rinzai koan system. Moreover, Roshi Glassman’s focus on social engagement and peacemaking underlies much of her vision of Zen practice. She is a Founding Teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Family, a spiritual and social action association. Her focus is on the expression of Zen through caring, service, and creative response.


Imam Dr. A. Rashied Omar, Research Scholar at the University of Notre Dame, and Imam of Claremont Main Road Mosque, Cape Town

Imam Omar earned a Ph.D. in religious studies from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and an M.A. in peace studies from Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, where he is now a core faculty member. His research and teaching focus on the roots of religious violence and the potential of religion for constructive social engagement and interreligious peacebuilding. In addition to his academic work, he serves as Imam at the Claremont Main Road Mosque in Cape Town, South Africa, and works with a wide range of peace-building NGOs.


Dr. Nontando Hadebe, Senior Lecturer, St. Augustine College, Johannesburg

Dr. Hadebe is a lay woman theologian and senior lecturer at St. Augustine College in South Africa, specializing in African Theology, Pastoral and Contextual Theology, Feminist and Womanist Theology, Liberation Theology, and Pastoral Psychology. Raised as a Catholic, her spiritual journey subsequently took her to the Baptist and Anglican/Lutheran churches, and ultimately back to the Catholic Church. She is a member of the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians as well as the TCCRSA Women's Caucus comprising Catholic women theologians in Africa.


Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Executive Vice President of the New York Board of Rabbis

In addition to his work with the New York Board of Rabbis, the largest interdenominational rabbinic body in the world, Rabbi Potasnik is Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Mount Sinai in Brooklyn, New York, where he has served as spiritual and educational leader since 1972. He is the co-host (along with Rev. A.R. Bernard) of “The Rev and The Rabbi” weekly radio show, and has contributed to any number of important civic institutions -- serving, for example, as chaplain of the New York City Fire Department and New York Press Club, as well as a member of the New York City Campaign Finance Board and Human Rights Commission.

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