How we live together in Britain as people of different faiths and beliefs is tremendously important.
The Inter Faith Network for the UK has worked for almost thirty years to promote inter faith understanding and cooperation. One of the ways that we do this is through leading on Inter Faith Week: encouraging people to hold events and create new relationships and organisational partnerships. There have been over 550 events held this year in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and a likely further 60+ in Scotland during Scottish Interfaith Week.
Each year, Inter Faith Week sees many thousands of people encountering those of other faiths and beliefs – for some it is the first time that they have ever had an in depth conversation with someone from another community.
Inter Faith Week often sparks interest in getting more involved in inter faith learning or activity and this year, following the Week, the Inter Faith Network has published a special new resource Inter faith learning, dialogue and cooperation: Next Steps. It is designed to help those wanting to get involved, or further involved, in inter faith activity.
Next Steps includes information about what kinds of inter faith activity are on offer, lets readers know who they can contact for assistance and gives more general pointers about the different ways to engage. Among the ways to get involved in inter faith activity, Next Steps includes joint social action. This is a key way that the coming together of people of different faiths and beliefs can bring positive benefit to their local communities. During the last few weeks, the power of this has been vividly demonstrated first through Inter Faith Week, and then Mitzvah Day, as it was – a little earlier – through Sewa Day.
It is not just joint social action that is important– talking together matters too. Positive coexistence and helping develop together our society rooted in shared values calls also for us to talk together about the issues that affect our lives. It means: being open to learning from others; being able to put our own views and understandings across with integrity; and to be able to find commonalties, but also be able to handle difference well. The kind of dialogue and constructive conversation that inter faith initiatives, and many other types of institutions, foster and encourage is an important contribution to a cohesive society.
We hope that Next Steps will draw even more people into the vital work of building stronger relationships of trust, understanding and cooperation, to help others and make a difference to our local communities and beyond.
For information about the Inter Faith Network for the UK www.interfaith.org.uk
To download Inter Faith Learning, Dialogue and Cooperation: https://www.interfaithweek.org/resources/next-steps