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About the Inter Faith Working Group 

The Inter Faith Working Group (IFWG) exists to stimulate, inspire, energise and provide resources to enable people, both inside and beyond the life of our Union, to develop positive relationships with people of other faiths and reflect theologically.  As an expression of love for our neighbours, our commitment to religious liberty and as part of our witness to the way of Jesus Christ, the tasks of the Inter Faith Working Group are:
  • To inspire, inform and prophetically challenge the churches and structures of our Union to build good relationships with people of other faiths. 
  • To model relating to people of other faiths and engaging in inter faith dialogue on behalf of our Union and in partnerships as appropriate.
  • To inform responses to relevant global and national events, re-focussing the stories in the context of a deeper understanding of the issues involved. 
  • To provide training and resources on inter faith relations and dialogue and living in a multi faith society, wherever appropriate working ecumenically and with other faith communities. 
  • To work with the Baptist Steering Group and in particular the Ministries Team and Colleges to contribute to resources to assist in the initial and ongoing training/formation of ministers to lead churches in building good relationships with people of other faiths. 

Feedback from the Inter Faith Working Group meetings

Meeting on 13 October 2021 (online):

  • Inter Faith Week this year is taking place from 14-21 November
  • The Church-Mosque conversations resource will be launched, building on the pilot in 2020.  Churches are encouraged to make contact with their local mosque and hold conversations during the Spring of 2022 with the aim of building awareness and relationships
  • A webinar/zoom conversation is still being planned to encourage inter faith working.

Meeting on 20 January 2021 (online):

  • An interfaith webinar is being explored as part of the Continuing Ministerial Development programme
  • After a successful pilot during interfaith week in 2020, a new Church-Mosque Conversations resource is being developed for use in helping churches form links with local mosques.  Eventually this may lead to formal twinning links between congregations
  • A new resource on antisemitism has been produced by the Council for Christians and Jews (CCJ) working with Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI).  Connected Communities is now available.

Meeting on 1 July 2020:

  • Appreciation that people of various faiths are working practically together in their communities during the pandemic
  • New contact made with the Muslim Council of Britain
  • Agreed action in response to Black Lives Matter
  • Initial planning of contributions to Baptist Assembly 2021

Meeting on 1 February 2018 at Oadby Baptist Church, Leicester:

  • If you have a mosque near you, why not visit on Visit My Mosque Day, 18 February - #visitmymosque
  • The group continues to create resources which are available on this website – we are planning a new resource on Mission and Dialogue
  • The Baptist Union Inter Faith Group has a facebook page - as well as pages on this website
  • Our next meeting will be held at Leicester Hospitals’ Chaplaincy where we'll be joining with the chaplains from the multi-faith and belief team @leic_chaplaincy

Meeting on 17 May 2018:

  • Considered and commented on the Integrated Communities Strategy Green Paper - click here to read more
  • Reflected on how the beginning of the Muslim Holy Month of Ramadan, in which most Muslims fast, challenges us as Christians to look again at the teaching of Jesus on fasting in Matthew 6: 6-18.
  • Made plans for encouraging Baptists to be involved in local events for Inter Faith Week from 11-18 November

If you're interested in making friends and building community in a multi-faith context and networking with others involved  in similar work we'd love to hear from you.  Please contact us here, or by Facebook message.

Who's Who

andy williams Andy Williams is married to Joanna and they have two adult daughters. Ordained in 1990, Andy has served as the minister of three Baptist churches in Manchester, Burnley and is now joint minister of Blackley Baptist Church and Centre in Yorkshire. He was a founding member of the inter faith organisation, Building Bridges in Burnley in 2002 and the Burnley and Pendle Faith Centre in 2006. From 2013 to 2016 he worked as the half-time Community Development Worker of Faith Network for Manchester, co-ordinating and delivering inter faith and multi faith projects from Manchester Multi Faith Centre. Andy believes passionately that good inter faith relations are essential for authentic Christian witness and mission in contemporary society in the UK and so serves as the moderator of the Baptist Inter Faith Working Group.
Mark 1
Mark Burleigh is a Baptist Minister who has served churches in Horsham and Leicester.  He has worked as a member of the multi-faith De Montfort University chaplaincy team and now is Head of Chaplaincy for the University Hospitals of Leicester, a team that includes Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and non-religious members.  Mark is currently (2017) the President of the College of Health Care Chaplains (CHCC), a director of the UK Board for Healthcare Chaplaincy Ltd (UKBHC) and a member of the Committee of the European Network of Health Care Chaplaincy.  He is also an Honorary Visiting Chaplaincy Fellow at the Markfield Institute of Higher Education, which trains Muslim Chaplains.
His hobbies include music and cycling
Alison Mackay Alison Mackay serves as a Regional Minister for the Heart of England Baptist Association,  prior to her appointment 6 years ago, she was minister at Leytonstone United Free Church.  There she served as Secretary to the Waltham Forest Interfaith Group, and for a term was chaplain to the Muslim Mayor of Waltham Forest.  Leytonstone Free Church, in multi cultural East London, is committed to working together and building relationships to unite the wider locality.  Alison was involved in many local events including The Big Iftar and annual Pilgrimage walks around different places of worship.  She was also involved in the organising and running of courses on the Environment and Healthy Eating, working alongside friends from the Jewish, Hindu, Sikh and Islamic centres, for the well bring of the whole community.  Alison also  ministered as a  chaplain for the Metropolitan Police serving many from various belief traditions.  Alison is totally committed to working towards good interfaith relationship and says it is a privilege to serve the Union as part of this important group. 
Paul Weller is Research Fellow in Religion and Society at Regent's Park College, University of Oxford; Professor in the Faith and Peaceful Relations Research Group in the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University; and Emeritus Professor of the University of Derby. He has, in the past, worked as a Baptist minister and is a member of Broadway Baptist Church in Derby. He is author of a number of publications dealing with Baptist theology and inter-faith matters including his book: P. Weller (2005), Time for a Change: Reconfiguring Religion, State and Society, London: T & T Clark;  and his journal articles P. Weller (1990), Freedom and witness in a multi-religious society: A Baptist perspective Part I, in The Baptist Quarterly, Volume 33, April 1990, pp. 252-264; P. Weller (1990),  Freedom and witness in a multi-religious society: A Baptist perspective. Part II, in The Baptist Quarterly, Volume 33, July 1990, pp. 302-315; and  P. Weller (2014) Theological Ethics and Interreligious Relations: A Baptist Christian Perspective in Internationale Kirchliche Zeitschrift/Bern Interreligious Oecumenical Studies, Volume 1, pp. 119-140.



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