Last Wednesday I attended a Panel Discussion at St Augustine's College, Johannesburg on the topic "Growing the Family of Abraham - Family in Jewish, Christian & Muslim Traditions". It was hosted by St Augustine's College (Catholic), the Turquoise Harmony Institute (Muslim) and MARFAM - Marriage & Family Life Ministry (Catholic).
The Speakers were a Muslim, Ibrahim Fakuda, Rabbi Robert Ash, a Progressive Jewish Rabbi and Toni Rowland who heads up the Family Desk at the Catholic Bishops Conference. The Chairman was Fr Michael van Heerden, President of the College. The speakers spoke once and there were a few questions afterwards.
The evening was well-meaning but of little value as there was no real debate, the Ibrahim Fakuda was obviously fundamentalist in his approach so there was no space for discussion. Rabbi Robert Ash was very open in terms of what constituted "family" in the 21st century and how you just had to accept people in their situations. Toni Rowland was equally open but with a slightly different emphasis when it came to same sex couples though with a compassionate and supportive approach.
Socially it was a very enjoyable evening, a group of amateur musicians sung excerpts from "Joseph & his Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat" and everyone "networked" successfully whilst we ate multi-cultural snacks. The average age was young and I suppose if one person found someone from another Faith of value as a person and hadn't thought so before it was worth it.
The following evening I attended the Brandy Festival. It was more spiritually uplifting.