Dialogue and Discussion

Inter Faith Week saw many events encouraging dialogue, discussion and debate between people of different faiths and beliefs.

These were organised by a wide variety of bodies, including faith communities and local inter faith groups.

They ranged from informal discussion during a faith-based social action activity or a visit to a place of worship to formal dialogue about issues of common concern, or to explore particular commonalities and differences. In a number of cases, a ‘debate’ format was used to explore different perspectives on challenging issues.

Examples of the kind of dialogues that took place during Inter Faith Week included:

  • The Three Faiths Forum’s ‘UK Youth Interfaith Summit’, an event run by young leaders to bring people of all ages together to connect, explore and act. Dialogue took place on a range of subjects, including the impact of the vote to leave the European Union and the refugee crisis. This was led by alumni of 3FF’s ParliaMentors programme.
  • An open meeting held by Inter-Faith North/West in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, with the theme of ‘Christianity and Islam: Points of Unity and Misunderstanding’. A guest speaker was invited, and participants also had the chance to engage in discussion on the theme with one another.
  • A Baha’i Community of the UK event in London, ‘Conversations and Beyond: Finding and Achieving our Common Humanity’, where participants engaged in a series of conversations on a range of questions applicable to the faiths and beliefs of all. The event aimed to find common ground and to enable discussion of significant differences.
  • ‘Conversations in Mercy’ at Clifton Roman Catholic Cathedral, Bristol, where a range of speakers engaged in dialogue with the audience about representations of the concept of mercy in the Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions.
  • An evening of fellowship and conversations at Luton Mandir, featuring dialogue on subjects such as justice and fairness, immigration and integration and contemporary politics.
  • A ‘Scriptural Reasoning’ session at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, Bury St Edmunds. Led by the University of Cambridge’s Scriptural Reasoning team, this event was an opportunity for people of different faiths to examine and discuss a variety of scriptural traditions, focusing on similarity and difference. Among other topics, participants discussed scriptural responses to the refugee crisis.
  • A discussion day at the Holland House Retreat Centre, Worcestershire, focusing on the theme of faith and criminal justice. Representatives from the Baha’i, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh communities came together with others to engage in dialogue on themes of faith, justice and reconciliation, based on experience in their localities.
  • An evening of inter faith encounter, dialogue and discussion on the theme of ‘The Common Good’, organised by the County Durham Faiths Network. The event examined the theme, and featured individual contributions from members of different faiths along with small group discussion and personal sharing.
  • A ‘Cake and Debate’ evening at the Northampton Unitarian Meeting House on the theme of ‘Does Faith Unite or Divide’. The event saw people of different faiths and beliefs coming together to examine the contributions that faith communities make to cohesive communities.
  • A Hull and East Riding Interfaith discussion on ‘Rudeness, abuse and behaviour online and offline’, at which people of different faiths discussed the positive and negative impacts of inter faith dialogue online. The event featured contributions from local faith and community representatives.
  • An opportunity for members of faith communities to engage in dialogue with the police on matters of common concern in Preston, Lancashire.
  • An open discussion on ‘Faith and Politics’ at Camden Town Hall. Camden Council invited local residents, students and community organisations to an open dialogue and discussion to share views on the relationship between faith and politics.
  • An Inter Faith Week debate at St Bonventure’s School, Forest Gate, East London. Students from a range of faith and belief backgrounds discussed religious dress in a wide ranging debate.
  • An ‘Interfaith Question Time’ at Cardiff University. Representatives from a range of the university’s faith and belief societies, as well as audience members, engaged in dialogue on a number of topics using a question and answer format.

To see dialogue and discussion that took place during Scottish Interfaith Week go to http://www.interfaithscotland.org/scottish-interfaith-week/.  

Published 18 January 2017