This page contains information about getting involved in youth inter faith activity and planning your own activities. In the sections about Higher and Further Education and Youth Initiatives, you will find more information that might be helpful.
How and where can I get involved?
There are an increasing number of inter faith activities run by, for and with young people, for example: in schools; colleges; universities; within the local community through bodies such as youth services and organisations; and through faith communities' own youth programmes.
Higher and Further Education
If you are a student in Higher or Further Education institutions, your Students' Union, societies, Chaplaincy, or Student Services department may organise, promote and take part in inter faith activities in which you could take part. The separate pages about Higher and Further Education contain more detailed information.
In the local community
If you are interested in getting involved in inter faith activity within your local area, you may find it useful to use our search engine for local inter faith groups in the UK.
If you are involved in a faith community or youth group, it may be that others involved can also help to put you in touch with local inter faith initiatives. Within some areas of England, the Near Neighbours programme of the Church Urban Fund supports a range of inter faith projects and initiatives and may also be able to put you in touch.
If you have an interest in social action and voluntary service, you may be interested to get involved in national days such as Mitzvah Day, Sadaqa Day and Sewa Day. Those are social action days which have an inspiration in the value of service which is rooted in all faith traditions. There are also inter faith organisations that focus on specific issues, such as Faith for the Climate.
If you are interested in setting up your own inter faith project in your local area, the Faiths Working Together Toolkit, jointly published by Near Neighbours and the Inter Faith Network, contains helpful tips and case studies.
If you are involved in a youth organisation, such as National Citizen Service, the British Youth Council, or uniformed organisations such as Girlguiding and the Scouts, these may also have resources or contacts they can put you in touch with. For example, the Birmingham Scouts and Guides have a special partnership with the Jo Cox Foundation which led to the creation of the More In Common badge, which has a strong inter faith component.
Faith communities and faith-based youth bodies
Many faith communities are also engaged with inter faith structures and projects at national and regional level, and some have dedicated officers or teams focused on inter faith engagement. All of the national faith community representative bodies in IFN membership have a commitment to working for good inter faith relations and should be able to suggest ways to get involved. If you live in Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales, your national inter faith linking bodies will also be able to point you to initiatives:
- Interfaith Scotland
- Northern Ireland Inter-Faith Forum
- Inter-faith Council for Wales/ Cyngor Rhyng-ffydd Cymru
Some faith communities also have national youth councils and other youth programmes that emphasise the importance of inter faith learning and engagement.
How might I plan an inter faith activity?
There are many different kinds of inter faith activity. Traditionally, much inter faith activity has centred on dialogue and discussions, which brings people together to share ideas, understand each other's beliefs better, and explore areas of common ground and difference.
Dialogue is different from debate in that it involves respectful exploration of views, but not argument or trying to win someone over to your point of view. IFN has a number of resources on Dialogue, including its Dialogue resource pages, and its booklet Let's Talk: Practical pointers for inter faith dialogue. You can also find information and guidelines for dialogue in Connect: a youth inter faith action guide.
You can also plan other types of inter faith activities, such as sport events, a get together to meet a practical need in the local community, or other creative activities which can also be found in the Connect guide noted above. You will also find ideas in the Higher and Further Education section of the Inter Faith Week website.
If you have an interest in planning inter faith social action and service, the Faiths Working Together Toolkit may be of particular use.
Inter Faith Week
Inter Faith Week takes place in November each year, and is a programme of IFN. Every year, hundreds of activities take place, most of which are open to the public. The Inter Faith Week website also contains guidance, tips and resources for planning inter faith activities. Scottish Interfaith Week, which has run since 2004 and inspired Inter Faith Week, is a programme of Interfaith Scotland. It also takes place each November. Its website also contains useful guidance and resources, as well as information about activities taking place in Scotland.