Archbishop hosts encounter between local Christians and Muslims
- Created on Monday, 26 July 2010
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, hosted an event at Lambeth Palace which brought together 50 imams and clergy from 25 local areas to encourage and strengthen local inter faith relationships.
The Revd Mark Fisher, Andrew Stunell MP, Bishop Richard Cheetham, The Archbishop of Canterbury and Maulana Shahid Raza
"Across the country, Christians and Muslims are making huge contributions to their communities in countless churches and mosques, charities and community groups. But, because they are often working towards similar goals, there is great potential for them to collaborate more.
"That is what this conference is about – challenging ignorance and building effective, friendly working relationships, not only between clergy and imams but also between their congregations. Inter faith activity is an important component of the Big Society we want to build, in which people work together for the common good and to tackle shared problems."
The programme sought to celebrate and publicise the fruitful work done by these local dialogue groups, which are run by both mosques and churches in the local areas as well as in prison and hospital chaplaincies.
One example of the practical outworking of this is the Springfield Centre in Birmingham, a children's centre that serves both mosque and parish church, as well as the rest of the community. The centre provides holistic support for children's development and support to families with young children, as well as helping to foster local inter faith engagement.
The event, organised by the Christian Muslim Forum, provided an opportunity for many men and women from local churches and mosques to share their experiences of working with each other, and explore areas where they can work together locally on issues of shared concern.
The Christian Muslim Forum has brought together over 200 local leaders of both faiths since 2006 and will run the event in partnership with the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB) and Churches Together in England (CTE). Participants have drafted a letter to go out to churches and mosques, encouraging leadership and congregations to meet and learn from each other.