u3a - Exploring World Faiths

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We are particularly blessed here in Birmingham because over 40% of the population belong to BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) communities resulting in a rich variety of faiths. With my late wife, Jeanie, I have been coordinating our local u3a World Faiths group since 2012, first Birmingham Harborne and later Birmingham Kings Norton. Sessions have included discussions and visits to a range of faith buildings, particularly faith schools and community centres. Since the Covid Pandemic many of the sessions have taken place on Zoom.

Outside of the u3a, I am immersed in interfaith activities through the Birmingham Council of Faiths, of which I am 3rd Sector Liaison Officer and Secretary. I also coordinate our Faiths Promoting Health and Wellbeing Forum and am Faith Advisor to West Midlands Police and Birmingham County Scouts. Jeanie and I also worked with people of different faiths in other countries, particularly Papua New Guinea, Maldives, India, Malawi, Kenya and Uganda.

Please let me know if you have a local World Faiths' group and the activities you pursue. Also contact us if you need any advice on operating World Faiths' groups.

The annual National Interfaith Week, takes place every year in November, this year the week is 13th-20th November 2022. The aims of Interfaith Week are to strengthen interfaith relations at all levels; increase awareness of the different and distinct faith communities in the UK, in particular celebrating and building on the contribution which their members make to their neighbourhoods and to wider society; and to increase understanding between people of religious and non-religious beliefs. 


Upcoming Webinars 2022     * Open to all *


Exploring World Faiths – National Zoom Events

Thank you everyone for participating in our Exploring World Faiths National Webinars. Here are details of the next 3  on Zoom as follows. Please register for this event via the u3a Online Events page - the Zoom link will be sent out to all those registered 2 days  and an hour before the talk. If you have any trouble registering please contact u3a office.


Wed 23rd Feb – 10.0 am 

We have all heard of Spiritualism, but what do Spiritualists believe  and how do they practise their faith?

Spiritualism is formally recognised as a religion with 300 churches and is a member of the Interfaith Network.

Find out more from Julia Almond, Officiant of the Spiritualists National Union

Julia is founder member of the Garforth and Kippax u3a

Please register for this event  HERE 

Mon 21st March – 10.0 am

Lent and Ramadan overlap this year 2nd March – 16th April and 2nd April – 1st May

Hear about the differences and the similarities from Bernie Morton and Mahmooda Qureshi

Bernie is an active Christian. Mahmooda is Muslim and Regional Coordinator of the Faith and Belief Forum

You can register for this event in February via the u3a Online Events page


Wed 20th April – 10.0 am

‘Do All Religions Lead to the Same God?’

Based on the Warwick u3a conference in March

Dr Peter Rookes, National u3a Subject Advisor, Exploring World Faiths, and author of:-

‘Commitment, Conscience or Compromise: the changing financial basis and evolving role of Christian health services in developing countries’;

‘Have financial difficulties compromised Christian Health Services’ Commitment to the Poor’ in Rakodi; ‘Religion, Religious Organisations and Development’; and

Sub Chapter in Tetlow:’Perceptions of Christianity from People of Different Faiths’.

You can register for this event in March via the u3a Online Events page



Latest webinar with The Arts Society 

At our latest webinar Liz Dancey, from Harborne and Edgbaston u3a, presented resources she has created for the 6 major world faiths, supported by the Arts Society. These include videos, guides and worksheets, which are freely available to Exploring World Faiths groups through this LINK.  Queries to Dr Peter Rookes, National Subject Advisor, Exploring World Faiths, pjrookes@gmail,com.



Article May u3a magazine and online edition of sources 

Article in March U3A magazine and April TMA  Article in March U3A magazine and April TMA (16.94 KB)

U3A ExplrngWrldFths ReplyToMarchArtcle  U3A ExplrngWrldFths ReplyToMarchArtcle (15.24 KB)

You may also be interested in reading my article in the April 2021 issue of TAM (june)- there is a fuller version in the online edition of Sources. 




Previous presentations (October 2021)

Mon 10th Jan, 2022 at 10 am


Mon 4th Oct, 2021 at 10 am

Presentation on the Jain Faith by Arvinder Jain on Monday 4th October - SEE VIDEO HERE 

Exploring world faiths  - West Midlands subject week (April 2021)

The West Mildands had their first Regional Subject Week, Exploring World Faiths, which has been a roaring success. Over 270 members joined the first session on Christianity, and the audience averaged over 200 for each of the next four days. Subjects included Islam and Christian Science, Hinduism and Buddhism, Baha’I and Sikh, and Judaism and Scientology. Dr Peter Rookes, National Subject Adviser for Exploring World Faiths, said he was delighted with the response. “This week has certainly put World Faiths on the u3a map. We looked at each faith objectively and from a historical viewpoint, without any prothletising, and members asked some really interesting and searching questions. Lots of members enquired about starting an interest group in their own u3a and we are looking at ways of supporting them.”

Please find some of the youTube links from the week are below , the Introduction to Exploring World faiths( slides) led by  Peter Rookes. 

Additional discussions for you to follow.  


If you want to let me know in advance of the meeting, any particular points that you would like me to address, then please feel free to do so at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   -  Peter,  Dr. Peter Rookes, National Subject Advisor,  Exploring World Faiths.