The latest report is available below. You can also view, print or download our Congress report chronological archive as pdf files a little further down the page.
JULY 2015 Conference
In July 2015 WCF WCF co-hosted the Conference at High Leigh on Seeking the Sacred, with Modern Church. Full details are on the Modern Church website .
Pictures and audio reports will appear here, together with the text of some of the talks.
Many thanks to Modern Church for allowing us to reproduce them.
Many of our members were involved, including our chairman Alan Race, who chaired the conference, Rev Georgiana Heskins, Staff Tutor, South East Institute for Theological Education, who spoke on Revelation and Scripture in Abrahamic Faiths, Rev Bonnie Evans-Hills, who was Conference Chaplain and led a workshop on Feminist Movements Within Religious Traditions.
Jenny Kartupelis our new Programme and Development Officer, led a workshop on Christians Facilitating Interfaith Dialogue: Opportunities and Challenges In Practice.
SEEKING THE SACRED: MODERN CHURCH AND WCF CONFERENCE
Workshop on ‘Christians facilitating inter faith dialogue: opportunities and challenges’ held on 15 July 2015 led by Jenny Kartupelis.
Attended by 12 delegates, a number of whom were active in interfaith groups and projects.
Summary of discussion ...
How people see the value of dialogue, to individuals and society
- People mentioned:
- Confront racism
- Break down antagonism
- Increase respect across diversity
- Address exclusion
- Highlight diversity in the town when interfaith group is in the local media
- Britain leads the world in interfaith practice
Do Christians have particular advantages, duties or beliefs that help them to engage and facilitate interfaith?
- Christians have a duty to get media to change its attitude to religion; especially the
- big evangelical churches, who are well resourced in PR terms
- Interfaith organisations usually need leading by a Christian to get them going
- (comment made by a non-Christian)
- Interfaith is at the heart of the Gospels – look at who Jesus hung out with.
- Christian desire for ‘Hospitality’ motivates – but there is a lack of understanding by
- Christians about other faiths
Do they have particular constraints? How can these be addressed?
- Christians can only be involved if they have opportunities to meet and get to know people of other faiths
- Christians need some real life grounding – ‘unfamiliar journey’ course.
- Christians need Islamic understanding
- Some churches fear that interfaith is about reducing all religions to a ‘grey mush’
- Some Christians are deeply opposed to dialogue with other faiths especially cult-type churches
- Christian church must seriously re-think what it means by ‘mission’, and that it should not mean proselytisation
- Extreme Christians can get themselves onto Councillor positions and then push
- schools towards a more explicit Christian agenda
Does the government have any role?
- Who should resource and stimulate building relationships of trust?
- National and local government have a responsibility to look at how they should do this
- It needs to understand that interfaith is important in non-diverse areas (especially rural), so that there is a better understanding by the electorate
- Government should support and resource interfaith much more
Ideas to promote interfaith practice
- ‘Prayer Partnering’ provides opportunities for faiths to get to know one another, when an area is not diverse.
- Created by twinning between interfaith groups in diverse and non-diverse areas
- All people have spiritual experiences and this creates a link between faiths; set up ways of exploring these
- Silence is also an important resource. In modern Britain we have too little silence
- “Philosophy for Children” course in schools should be supported
- Marriages between faiths are very helpful!
An exciting and challenging, thoughtful event from the WCF team...Ed.
Horsham Hosts International Conference 20 - 23 August 2013
International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF), World Congress of Faiths (WCF)
Horsham Interfaith Forum (HIFF)