Interfaith relations

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 interfaith reference group (the Methodist Church and 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 interfaith relations experience and insights from other parts of the world.

The United Reformed Church’s representatives on the reference group are: the Revd Clare Downing  (co-chair); the Revd Dr John Parry, the Revd Bob Day; Ann Jack; the Revd Sally Thomas; John Mellor; and the Revd Philip Brooks.

The Methodist Church's representatives on the reference group are the Revd David Musgrave (co-chair); Julian Bond; Martin Ashford; Elizabeth Harris; the Revd Cass Howes; and the Revd Barbara Glasson. Churches Together in Britain & Ireland member on the interfaith relations reference group is the Revd Peter Colwell.

The Revd Andy Williams and Paul Weller are Baptist observers to the group.



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 downloadable 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'.

interfaith image

Interfaith Week

Interfaith Week takes place in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Inter Faith week intends to:

  • strengthen good inter faith relations at all levels in our increasingly diverse society
  • encourage local faith groups and communities to reach out to each other and build stronger bonds of understanding and cooperation
  • increase awareness of the different and distinct faith communities in the UK, with a particular focus on the contribution which their members make to their neighbourhoods and to wider society
  • increase understanding between people of religious and non-religious beliefs
  • encourage the development of new partnerships within local communities and by faith communities with statutory and third sector partners
  • Information about the week can be found at for England and Wales
  • and for Scotland

Here can be found information about the history of the link, a wide range of resources that are available for different groups and settings and, as the week approaches, news of the different events that are being planned.