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Celebrating diversity in Inter Faith Week

Christians can make a stand against division and fear by meeting with others across the differences of faith and culture, writes Baptist minister Andy Williams. Inter Faith Week is an opportunity to do that   

 

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People have very different views about Brexit. It is a divisive issue. It seems that there are more topics than usual that are potentially divisive in our society at the present time. Recent terrorist attacks aim to spread fear and divide people and communities.

In the midst of this, how can we make a stand against division and fear? What difference can we make as people and as Christians? We can celebrate difference. We worship God as the creator of the most amazing amount of difference. Each person is unique. It seems God revels in creating difference and diversity. So let’s celebrate the God given, amazing, diversity among us, in communities and in the UK.

IFW12017The population of the UK is more diverse in faith than it has ever been. This potentially enriches our lives and communities, but this is stifled if we don’t step out to meet one another across the differences of faith and also of culture. As people we are united in our common humanity. As people of faith, we have so much that unites us in faith perspectives on life and we share many common values in our different faith traditions. 

Inter Faith Week provides wonderful opportunities to meet one another, make and renew friendships and share visions of the kind of society we want to create. In the adjacent photo, the boy is from a mosque and the girl is from the church. They are both serving cake at a community feast, hosted by a Baptist church, with the help of their local inter faith project. 

What kind of society do we want, in the present and the future, for these children, our own children and grand-children and those in our churches and communities? If we have a common vision for an inclusive and diverse kind of society where people live well together, we can work with friends of other faiths to make it a reality.

As Baptists we are committed to freedom of conscience in matters of faith and this in itself implies diversity, so let’s celebrate it. Find out what is going on for Inter Faith Week (12-19 November) in your community and join in. 

The Interfaith Network shares information about planned events all across the UK. If there isn’t one near you, or you can’t go, why not set up one of your own? It’s as simple as inviting a person of another faith for a coffee and a chat and perhaps a cake! 

Alternatively, if you’re not into cake, you could go for the ‘spread hummus’ option, like the Manchester students in the photo below.

Have a great Inter Faith Week celebrating our amazing, God-given diversity.

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The Inter Faith Network have produced a short guide which is packed with suggestions for marking the Week and examples and illustrations drawn from the many successful activities held for the Week to date. It also includes practical guidance and links to further information. Download your copy of the toolkit here.

Here is a prayer that you may like to use personally or with your church during the week. 

Andy Williams (below) is Moderator of the Baptist Inter Faith Working Group

Andy Williams Inter Faith Week
 
Baptist Times, 24/10/2017
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