Christians Aware invites you to
RELIGIOUS IDENTITY IN MODERN BRITAIN
Thursday 2 March at 7pm
An evening exploring identity formation in young refugees, and women converts to Judaism and Islam, with Dr Linda Ulrich and Helen Bailey MA
Enquiries to Rob@christiansaware.f9.co.uk
Telephone: 0116 254 0770
HELEN BAILEY currently teaches English to speakers of other languages in Croydon, primarily young refugees. She has an MA in Refugee Care and coordinates a Church human rights programme in Israel/Palestine. She will present:
"Believing, Behaving, Belonging: Identity formation in young refugees and how religion contributes to a sense of meaning, continuity and place"
This research focuses on the experiences of young refugees, particularly unaccompanied minors in the UK, at an age when their identities are in formation and flux. It explores the key role of religious development within this identity formation, acknowledging religion can be both part of culture and a personal choice. It recognises that most young refugees in the UK are Muslims from collectivist cultures, now living in a different, diverse society - impacting their shifting sense of self. The chief aspects linked to identity formation are defined as being a sense of meaning, continuity and place, with various negative societal factors affecting this process in the 'multi-liminal' situations of unaccompanied minors. How religion contributes profoundly to this sense of meaning, continuity and place, when this has been shattered in their situations, is uncovered. It is demonstrated that faith provides a framework and a lens for understanding their suffering, so providing new meaning in their troubled lives. It is also seen to contribute to a sense of continuity in their disrupted lives, and most significantly, a feeling of belonging.
LINDA ULRICH currently teaches English to speakers of other languages in Camden, has just completed an MA in Abrahamic Religions, and is Churchwarden of St Barnabas, Pimlico. She will present:
"A Carefully Considered Choice: The parameters of religious conversion by women to Judaism and Islam in twenty-first century Britain"
This study looks at religious conversion based on the personal commentaries of 10 women who chose to convert to Islam or to Judaism during the last 20 years. These personal journeys are compared with the traditional process of conversion to Christianity, with close reference to the theoretical stages of conversion as proposed by Rambo, Conn, and Erikson. Present-day conversion to both Islam and Judaism differs in several areas from the traditional models, particularly in the factors of age, process and crisis. It is surmised that both post-modernism and feminist studies have been active in the parameters of personal choice. Further to this, the study also found significant differences in the characteristics of converts between the two religions of Islam and Judaism, and thus points to the fact that a top-down stages model is no longer the best way to study the process of religious conversion.