Christians and Other Faiths
The Diocese Interfaith Advisor
Finding common ground
Other faith communities are a growing and significant presence in Chester Diocese. The well-established Jewish and Muslim communities in Trafford, Stockport and Tameside have now been supplemented by growing Muslim communities in many of our towns, and smaller numbers of Hindus and Sikhs. There is also a growing interest in eastern spirituality, especially Buddhist, amongst people of no faith. In addition many of us have contacts with people of other faith traditions in the workplace, at school or in health care.
The biblical command to “love the stranger” (Deuteronomy 10:19) encourages us to make and model good relationships with people of other faiths, especially at times when there is suspicion and anxiety about difference and diversity, and where many of those of other faiths feel vulnerable and isolated.
In a culture where public faith is often disparaged the faith communities can together witness to its importance, and co-operate on projects that serve and seek the welfare of the places where we live.
As Christians we need to understand the common ground which we share, respect the real differences, and be able to give account of our own faith in Christ in a relevant way.
The Diocesan Interfaith Advisor Roger Clarke (appointed in 2014) is available to assist churches explore and engage with other faith communities, and is creating a network of people with appropriate skills, expertise and interests in this area. He can provide examples of training and teaching resources, and is happy to visit parishes, clergy chapters and deaneries to speak and to help them engage with interfaith issues. He is keen to hear from and build up a network of people with experience and interests in this field.
Roger is Vicar of the Parish of Eccleston and Pulford and Bishops Chaplin previously Vicar of Hale Barns with Ringway, near Altrincham, a multi-cultural and multifaith community where around a third of the population are Jewish and Muslim, and where good relationships are being built. He has found working with people of other faiths to be exciting, stimulating and challenging, and has found his own Christian faith strengthened by these encounters He can be contacted on 01244 679969 email@example.com
Presence and Engagement: The Church of England’s official network for Interfaith matters – with resources, stories and statistics.
St Philip’s Centre: based in Leicester, but providing courses, training and educational materials.
Council of Christians and Jews: A long established and much respected forum for dialogue and engagement
Scriptural Reasoning: a well tried and well-proven way of sharing and discussing our sacred texts and understanding how they are used.
Near Neighbours Church Urban Fund
The Interfaith Network: co-ordinating the interfaith work of national faith bodies
Altrincham Interfaith Group: an example of a well-established local group