The Birmingham Diocese is very diverse with people of all the world’s faiths living here. Whilst there are large populations of Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus there are also may Jews, Buddhists, Jains, Zoroastrains and many more besides. For many of us these people are our neighbours, colleagues or friends who we see on a daily basis. Other of us don’t live in a multi-faith area but meet people of different faiths when we are in the city centre or we hear about them in the news. Whatever our situation, living in a religiously diverse society is now a reality, and one which demands that we ask the question ‘What does the Lord require of us?’ Many Christians are grappling with the question of how they live out their faith in a multi-faith situation, sometimes coming up with creative and interesting answers, other times struggling to know what they should do.
As The Church of England in this Diocese we are committed to helping churches discover how God wants them to live out The Gospel in our society, with a church as diverse as the Church of England, there will be many answers to this question and we want to encourage churches to find answers that make sense to them, draw them closer to God’s calling and makes sense to the people they meet. For some their response will be to dialogue and cooperative ways of working, for others it will be in acts of service and self-giving and for others it will include evangelism and the offer to respond to the Good News of Jesus Christ. As we explore these different approaches we encourage churches to try new ways, resource congregations with what they want to do and help all congregations to respond to God’s call to love Him and to love our neighbours whoever they may be.
Our work is done, primarily, by tailoring responses to the specific needs of congregations, recognising that each situation brings its own joys, opportunities and challenges. We run some centrally organised courses usually at the Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre in Sparkhill and often in partnership with others such as colleagues in the Diocese or outside organisations with specific expertise such as The Feast, the Christian-Muslim Forum or Interserve.
The Director of Interfaith Relations, Dr Andrew Smith, is always happy to come to meet with churches or groups to either offer consultation or to speak with congregations or preach on matters relating to interfaith issues. If you’d like to find out more contact Andrew or fill in the form at the bottom of this page.
Visit the Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre website www.faithfulneighbourhoods.org.uk.
Director of Interfaith Relations
Dr Andrew Smith
T: 0121 426 0426