Interfaith relations

This page is under (re)construction

This is being redesigned to help individuals and churches develop their interfaith awareness, knowledge and engagement. Very often people start from a position of relative inexperience in interfaith matters but are gradually drawn into it through, for example, finding themselves working with asylum seekers or because of a move into a new neighborhood. There can be misconceptions and even prejudice to overcome as well as quite legitimate questions around the difference between dialogue and evangelism and the need for examples of good practice.

The page is being developed as a pathway from basic first steps through to more complex issues, focusing on specific faith groups or questions.  

In support of this there is also a network of synod interfaith advocates and practitioners as well as a shared Interfaith Reference Group with the Methodist Church. In both of these group there are people who can offer advice or assistance to individuals and local churches.

 

First Steps

The Baptists Union has produced a pack of 12 cards that can be used in a variety of settings entitled '12 Myths of Inter Faith Engagement'. They are unfortunately not downloadbale but can be bought through their resource library here. It challenges myths such 'Inter faith engagement means we sell out on our beliefs and weaken our faith'.

IMG 1941

The United Reformed Church’s commitment to wider ecumenism (the whole world) seeks unity of the whole Christian community and relationships of integrity and respect with our neighbours of faith.

In the United Kingdom today, we live in the conscious presence of religious diversity. Hence, many of our congregations will identify with the view that interfaith relations and work play a significant part in ministry and mission. While many congregations and members are located just a stone throw away from Mosques, Gurdwaras, Hindu Temples, Synagogues and Viharas, members of our churches are in daily contact with colleagues, friends and relationships from across faith traditions.

A fundamental question is: how can we be open to religious diversity and also actively promote our religious faith and practice? As Christians contemplate this question, a corresponding one is: how can we join in partnership with our religious neighbours to contribute to the common good of our society?

Joint Inter Faith Reference Group (The Methodist Church & the United Reformed Church)

The United Reformed Church and the Methodist Church Interfaith Relations Reference Group was constituted in 2008 to support staff members and serve as a source of expertise within and beyond the two Churches. It is envisaged that this Reference Group will:

  1. Advise both Churches on matters of interfaith relations
  2. Enable both Churches to think through and engage in issues of interfaith dialogue and cooperation at different levels of Church and community life.
  3. Reflect on interfaith relations issues on behalf of the two Churches, and where appropriate raise particular issues of concern with the structures of each Church.
  4. Initiate particular pieces of work to educate, inform and resource our Churches
  5. Undertake work that is remitted to it by the governance structures of either Church
  6. Help resource the work of Connexional Team (Methodist) and Assembly Staff (URC)
  7. Resource District and Synod Interfaith Advisers
  8. Work in close partnerships with ecumenical interfaith instruments
  9. Engage with inter faith relations experience and insights from other parts of the world.

The United Reformed Church’s representatives on the Reference Group are Revd Peter Brain (co-chair); Revd Bill Burgess; Revd Timothy Clarke; Revd Clare Downing; Mr David Jonathan; Revd David Tatem (Secretary)

Support staff member (Church House based) to the URC Group is Helen Garton (Administrative Secretary for Ecumenical and World Church Relations). Brief biographical details of the URC members and support staff of the Interfaith Reference Group can be found here.

The Methodist Church's representatives on the Reference Group are Revd Gareth Jones (co-chair); Dr Joy Barrow; Revd Pam Cram; Ms Awais Dominic Mughal; Revd Sue Maple; Revd David Musgrave. Brief biographical details of the Methodist members of the Interfaith Reference Group can be found here.

Churches Together in Britain & Ireland member on the Interfaith Relations Reference Group is Revd Peter Colwell.

Interfaith Models & Stories in Action

Interfaith engagement is about local and everyday encounters. As such it would be good to hear from you about the interfaith work you are involved in. What worked for you? Why not share a model of interfaith activity that you and others found effective and exciting. To help you contemplate what to share and write, here are a few suggested questions:

Read more: Interfaith in Action