Woking church gives Saturday shoppers food for thought

The Woking Debates bring together residents of all faiths and none to discuss the issues affecting the town

Christ Church, Woking, is inviting shoppers to take some time out from the stores and consider the issues facing their community.

The church is hosting a series of debates on Saturday mornings as part of a collaboration between Woking Action for Peace, Churches Together, Friends of the Earth, the Quakers and Surrey Faith Links.

The issues range from faith to housing and equality. Guest speakers offer their thoughts for 20 minutes before the subject is opened up for wider discussion with the audience.

Surrey Faith Links Adviser Kauser Akhtar spoke in the first debate in the series on whether faiths strengthen Woking.

He said faith organisations were having a positive impact on society at large and that in Woking, different faiths were starting to interact with each other more, although he added that this needed greater promotion.

Mr Akhtar welcomed the Woking Debates as an opportunity for residents to draw conclusions together about the issues affecting their community.

"I would encourage people to take some time out – maybe after a coffee in Christ Church's café – and join in the debate," he said.

The debates kick off at 11am in the Gallery at Christ Church and are free to attend, although donations are welcome.

Future debates are -

16 March: Is Woking becoming a sustainable town? Ray Morgan, Chief Executive, Woking Borough Council

20 April: Where will our children live? Woking? The Revd John McCabe and a young person in need of housing

18 May: Can we become a more equal society? Sean Baine, Chair of the Equality Trust

13 June: Conflict resolution in divided societies: does it work? Andy Baines, postgraduate researcher on conflict resolution in Divided Societies

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