Staff Showcase – Alyaa Ebbiary
31 / 03 / 21
27 / 07 / 20
Every Monday we’ll highlight the wonderful staff we have here at F&BF. This week we meet Sorcha, part our Communications team
Your name and job title: Sorcha Connell, Communications Consultant
What made you initially interested in interfaith work?
I’ve always been drawn to points of intersectionality between spirituality/religion and other key themes in our society such as politics, the arts, personal & cultural identity and so on. I came to interfaith initially through ecumenism (the promotion of unity and dialogue of the Christian denominations) with the Taize Community. From here it was a short step into interfaith dialogue!
Why do you feel interfaith is still required in our world? What motivates you?
The perception in Western countries of Faith & Belief having no place in an increasingly secular society means ‘interfaith dialogue’ can seem outdated. ‘Interfaith’ has moved on from the traditional post-WWII image of firm handshakes between white male religious leaders. Opportunities for those of faiths and none having positive interactions with each other can still influence the decisions of world leaders, and the course of history.
How did you first hear about F&BF?
I found out through LinkedIn! The charity world is small, and the interfaith world even smaller, so when the opportunity came I jumped at the chance!
How would you explain what you do to someone completely unfamiliar with our work, and what is your favourite aspect of your job?
Suspicion of ‘The Other’ in our own towns, villages and cities causes problems to fester, confusions to rise and misunderstandings to occur. Possible conflict is everywhere. So are opportunities to connect.
F&BF has worked on a myriad of projects in its 20+ year history to build bridges between people, places, communities, workplaces, councils, children, parents, teachers, artists and many more using its unique skills set.
Favourite aspect of my job – discovering all the fascinating projects and connections F&BF are running and packaging them up into content for the website and social media. And also – the fantastic team! Truly a great bunch of people.
What is the most common misconception about your job? And what is the truth?
A common misconception is I’m only consulting on strategy – when actually I get my hands dirty every working day! Another is that only traditional religious groups will be interested in our work – quite the contrary. Faith & belief intersects every aspect of society – even if you are a secular boss of a secular company, understanding the possible religious belief of your own employees, clients and audiences can help build a better business.
What didn’t you realise about interfaith until working at F&BF?
How important it is to bring awareness of different faiths and beliefs early in someones development. I was delighted to discover F&BF promotes school linking even at primary school age. Also, how important it is to recognise there are those ‘not of faith’ whatsoever and are still passionate about the cause. Interfaith is not a concept owned by the faithful.
What are you most proud of during your time here at F&BF?
Lots of things! Being part of excellent teams, mainly. Enjoying the general camaraderie. When working in the fundraising team directly, I’m proud of supporting the writing of successful bid applications. My role then changed to Communications Consultant at the start of lockdown, so I’m proud of being able to still create and schedule daily content on social media, website news articles and support the wider team, all on reduced hours! (phew)
What floats your boat outside of work?
Theres a lot of chocolate cake and coffee in my house, as well as musical instruments, unfinished books and art equipment. I love being creative – be it art, theatre, music, baking or dancing like a loon. I also have a craving for the horizon, so every excursion can feel like an adventure (even during lockdown, even to the shops!). I dabble in HEMA, ornithology & small aircraft.