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IFN E-bulletin December 2019

This is a web version of IFN's December 2019 E-bulletin. A PDF version of this and past e-bulletins can be found here. To receive an email when a new e-bulletin is issued (every 2 months), sign up below:

 

Items

Faith and public life updates

Inter Faith Network for the UK News  

Inter faith projects, programmes and developments

Resources and study/training

Calls for information, competitions and nominations

Jobs, internships and volunteering

Funding opportunities

Special Weeks/Days

Diary Dates

 

FAITH AND PUBLIC LIFE UPDATES

General Election and faith communities

The General Election on 12 December saw the Conservative Party gain a significant parliamentary majority, with just under 44% of the popular vote. It will therefore form the new UK Government.

The vote followed an election period during which faith community organisations held hustings, and in some cases produced manifestos and/or guidance on the election for members of their faith communities.  Local inter faith organisations in a number of areas were also involved in holding hustings.  Nearly all of the major parties included in their manifestos commitments relating to religion and belief.  A digest can be seen at: https://religionmediacentre.org.uk/factsheets/faith-manifestos/

In some instances, members of particular communities were urged not to vote for certain parties. For example, some Hindus were urged not to vote for the Labour Party following the passing of a conference floor motion criticising India's actions in Kashmir at its party conference in September https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2019-50382791. Ephraim Mirvis, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, wrote in The Times criticising the Labour Party over its record on Antisemitism and urging  people to “vote with their conscience” https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2019-50552068. There were also campaigns through messaging apps to encourage particular faith groups to vote in a particular direction.

The Muslim Council of Britain reiterated, in the context of the run up to the General Election, its concerns about Islamophobia within the Conservative Party https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2019-50561043 and, following the announcement of the election result, issued a press release in which it referred to  “a palpable sense of fear amongst Muslim communities” and called for renewed “efforts to heal the country and bring communities together” https://mcb.org.uk/press-releases/mcb-responds-to-general-election-result/  

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Exiting the EU – the important role of faith communities

A note, ‘Exiting the EU – the important role of faith communities at a time of transition’ was circulated to member bodies and put up on IFN’s website on 31 October. It highlights faith communities’ trusted role in signposting information and as providers of community support and their vital work to unite communities, promote good relations and tackle hatred.

The note was developed by the IFN office in the light of discussion earlier that month at IFN’s Faith Communities Forum (FCF) meeting and subsequent correspondence with FCF members. The Department for Exiting the EU and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government were also consulted in the development of the note.

The note can be found on IFN’s website at:

https://www.interfaith.org.uk/resources/leaving-the-eu-the-important-role-of-faith-communities-at-a-time-of-transition.

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London Bridge terrorist attack

On 29 November two people were murdered and a number of others injured in a terrorist stabbing attack at London Bridge by a convicted terrorist out on licence.

Faith and inter faith organisations in the UK responded through messages, statements and prayers. On 1 December IFN’s Co-Chairs and the Moderators of IFN’s Faith Communities Forum issued the following statement in response to the attack:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected by the terrorist stabbing attack at London Bridge on Friday afternoon in which two were killed by the attacker and several injured. 

We condemn, in the strongest terms, terrorism and the extremist ideologies that underpin it and we call on all to stand together and speak out in the strongest terms against them.

With each terrorist attack in recent years, there has been horror and anger at the atrocity; condemnation; prayers and sympathies for those killed or injured; admiration for courage and resilience displayed; and a call to ‘stand together’.  And where terrorists or extremists have drawn selectively on religious writings and history, there has been disavowal by faith communities of this evil twisting of elements of their traditions into distorted and dangerous forms to justify the unjustifiable.

It is a matter of profound sadness and concern that voices of faith communities have to be heard again and again in the context of responses to terrorist attacks and also hate crime. There are so many important social justice issues on which their voices need to be heard as well as broader issues such about how we live together well as people of different faiths and beliefs in the UK. 

Yet we cannot remain silent in the face of terrible actions, with their impacts both on those directly affected and on our society more generally. We end, as we began, with thoughts and prayers for those killed, injured, bereaved and otherwise affected by the attack on Friday and a call to all to stand together in the face of terrorism and to speak out in the strongest terms against it and against the extremist ideologies that underpin it.”

 

A copy of this statement is also on the IFN website at https://www.interfaith.org.uk/news/statement-following-attack-at-london-bridge.

IFN’s Policy on the making of statements is at https://www.interfaith.org.uk/uploads/Policy_on_making_of_statements.pdf.

Relevant in this context is Looking After One Another: The Safety and Security of our Faith Communities, published by IFN in partnership with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Home Office, Crown Prosecution Service, National Police Chiefs’ Council and National Fire Chiefs’ Council. It contains guidance on responding jointly to attacks on places of worship; working for calm at times of tension; and working to build on and strengthen existing good inter faith relations. It also contains material about how and where to report hate incidents, cyber-attacks, and actual or suspected terrorist activity; where to find information on strengthening the security of buildings; and where to find information about working to build – and strengthen – good inter faith relations locally.

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Preventing and responding to terrorist attacks

There is a Government website for anyone affected by terrorist attacks: https://victimsofterrorism.campaign.gov.uk/.  This contains information on where to seek advice and assistance following a terrorist attack. It also provides details of official helplines and support services available to victims, survivors, witnesses, family members, and all those affected.

This month, Counter Terrorism Policing made available free online training for the public on how to react to a terrorism incident.    Called ACT Awareness, the training comprises seven modules and takes 45 minutes to complete.   Counter Terrorism Policing is inviting people to take the course and become so-called ‘CT Citizens’. 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-50708637

Another useful resource is the National Counter Terrorism Security Office’ Crowded Places Guidance, which is at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/crowded-places-guidance.

 

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Religiously motivated hate crime

In October the Home Office published Hate Crime, England and Wales, 2018/19, containing statistics about hate crime offences recorded by the police in England and Wales from April 2018 to March 2019: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/hate-crime-england-and-wales-2018-to-2019  There were 103,379 hate crimes recorded in England and Wales in 2018-19, with increases seen in all categories. 47% of attacks were targeted at Muslims and 18% at Jews (a doubling of anti-Semitic attacks since the previous year).

Sikhs and Hindus continue to raise concerns about hate crimes affecting their communities. See, for example, http://www.thesikhnetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/The-Sikh-Manifesto-2020-2025.pdf

The Guardian reports that a survey of faith and community groups by Citizens UK suggested that the Home Office figures potentially showed only the tip of the iceberg, after seven in 10 participants said they never reported hate crimes to the police. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/oct/15/hate-crimes-double-england-wales

During November there were reports of religiously motivated hate crime in a number of areas, including Antisemitic incidents in Brighton and Canvey Island and a report of a serious attack on a rabbi in London.  https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/red-substance-daubed-on-brighton-synagogue/  https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7670697/Swastikas-anti-Semitic-graffiti-Remembrance-Sunday-Canvey-Island-Essex.html  

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/dec/04/police-release-cctv-footage-of-attack-on-rabbi-in-north-london

The vulnerability of communities and individuals in the face of hate and prejudice was underlined at the  No2H8 Crime Awards on 7 November, as was the vital importance of being an 'upstander'.  https://no2h8crimeawards.org/ 

 

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MHCLG Faith Engagement Adviser appointed

In October it was announced that Colin Bloom has been appointed as Faith Engagement Adviser at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.    He will “make recommendations to the Communities Secretary about how the government can best celebrate and support the contribution of faith groups, break down barriers and promote acceptance between faiths, and promote shared values while tackling cultures and practices that are harmful.”

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/faith-engagement-adviser-appointed

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Church of England teaching document on Christian-Jewish relations

In November, the Faith and Order Commission of the Church of England published a teaching document on Christian-Jewish relations entitled ‘God’s unfailing word’.  The document encourages Christians to rediscover the relationship of “unique significance” between the two faiths, worshipping one God, with scriptures shared in common.  It speaks of attitudes towards Judaism over many centuries as providing a “fertile seed-bed for murderous antisemitism”.

https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/news/church-england-teaching-document-calls-repentance-over-role-christians

The Council of Christians and Jews has welcomed the document.  A copy of its statement is at http://www.ccj.org.uk/ccj-statement-on-gods-unfailing-word/.

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550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak

The 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak was marked in gurdwaras and many other places around the UK during November.  A number of these had an inter faith dimension, for example a celebration at London’s City Hall led by City Sikhs; an event at Bradford Cathedral where the Bishop of Bradford, Rt Revd Dr Toby Howarth, welcomed speaker Lord Singh of Wimbledon; and the unveiling at Glasgow Gurdwara of tapestries created by a multi faith team of volunteers (about which see more below).

The official anniversary date, 12 November, happened to be during national Inter Faith Week this year and so a number of activities marked both occasions, for example a visit by a Board of Deputies of British Jews delegation, led by Vice-President Edwin Shuker, to the Khalsa Jatha Central Gurdwara in London.

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INTER FAITH NETWORK FOR THE UK NEWS

Come Together Appeal

On 3 December the Inter Faith Network for the UK launched the ‘Come Together Appeal’.

In these often divided times, it is vital for people to stand together against prejudice and hatred and to come together in respect, understanding and cooperation for the common good.  www.interfaith.org.uk/news/appeal

The Inter Faith Network works in many different ways to support the development of greater inter faith understanding and cooperation and to enable people to come together.

On behalf of the Board of IFN, Co-Chairs Jatinder Singh Birdi and Bishop Jonathan Clark encourage all readers to consider a donation to support IFN’s vital work. Every gift will be carefully used to make a real difference. 

It is easy to donate by clicking on this link: www.interfaith.org.uk/donate, by PayPal or by sending a cheque to: the Inter Faith Network for the UK, 2 Grosvenor Gardens, London SW1W 0DH.

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Inter Faith Week 2019

Inter Faith Week took place from 10 to 17 November.  750+ activities are known to have taken place across England, Northern Ireland and Wales – and details of further events continue to come in.  Many thousands of people from different backgrounds and of all ages took part. 

Churches, gurdwaras, mandirs, mosques, synagogues, temples, viharas, schools, colleges and universities, sports grounds, parks, council chambers, museums, galleries, libraries, community centres, hospitals, hospices, workplaces and online platforms were the locations of an amazing range of activities. These included celebrations; faith trails; cultural activities; dialogues; volunteering to help local communities; Remembrance events; conferences and talks; tree plantings and litter picks; classroom activities; theatre productions; poetry readings; food festivals; sports tournaments; events linked to both the Week and Mitzvah Day (17 November) and more. The environment and the climate crisis featured strongly.

During the Week, Inter Faith Network staff and a number of Trustees and Faith Communities Forum Moderators visited and spoke at events around England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The Co-Chairs of the Inter Faith Network, Jatinder Singh Birdi and Bishop Jonathan Clark said:

“This has been a fantastic Week. It has showcased the contribution faith communities make to society, helped increase inter faith understanding and sparked new conversations. We have been delighted to see so many local initiatives and also many organisations getting involved for the first time.

At this time so often characterised by division, it has been very good to witness people coming together in such a positive way.  There are key values that we share and Inter Faith Week provides a chance to envision ways that we can all draw on them to strengthen our common life and to work together to address such issues as climate change, homelessness, and hate crime”.

 

The end of Week press release can be found at https://www.interfaithweek.org/news/press-release-inter-faith-week-2019

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IFN Inter Faith Week linked blog and resources for primary age pupils

This year, IFN topped and tailed the Week with two resources to help primary school age children. It collaborated with anti-bullying charity Kidscape to provide a special blog for ‘Friendship Friday’ (FF) on the Friday immediately before the Week. This year the theme for FF was about people finding ways to be kinder and friendlier. Kidscape invited IFN’s Executive Director to write a blog for parents and carers of primary age children to share some pointers about the importance of faith and belief; encouraging respectful inter faith engagement; and working to prevent faith and belief-linked bullying. The blog was highlighted by both organisations during the Week, and widely circulated.  It can be seen at www.interfaithweek.org/news/inter-faith-week-and-friendship-friday.

Toward the end of the Week, IFN launched its resource for primary schools, about which more information appears below.

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Feedback sought

The Inter Faith Network, which leads on Inter Faith Week, develops the Week further each year as an increasingly valuable platform for building inter faith understanding and cooperation and religious literacy.  To do that, it is very much helped by people who have held or attended events completing and submitting a survey telling us about their experiences and views.

The wider the range of responses, the more IFN is able to learn and develop the Week in the future. This year’s survey can be found at: https://www.interfaithweek.org/resources/feedback.  If you took part in the Week, please do take 10 minutes to respond!  Thank you.

IFN also welcomes photos taken at events, drawing on these for reporting, publications and social media.   You can upload photos at https://dropevent.com/gallery/IFW19 or email them to ashley.beck@interfaith.org.uk

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Scottish Interfaith Week

Scottish Interfaith Week also took place between 10-17 November, and its theme this year was ‘Eat Share Love’. Further information about the many activities that took place to mark it can be found at www.scottishinterfaithweek.org or by contacting Interfaith Scotland, which leads on the Week. 

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INTER FAITH PROJECTS, PROGRAMMES AND DEVELOPMENTS

Faiths working to support the homeless

Faith community leaders in a number of cities supported the World’s Big Sleep Out which took place across the globe on 7 December https://www.bigsleepout.com/. In London’s Trafalgar Square a multi faith delegation organised by Faiths Forum for London took part.

Many places of worship are opening their doors to provide warm and safe shelter to homeless guests during the coldest months of the year. Some schemes are single faith led, for example that of Church groups in Southend https://www.southend.gov.uk/news/article/1807/southend_churches_winter_night_shelters_to_open_2_december  Others are multi faith, for example the One Roof Winter Night Shelter project (Leicester) which will again see seven different faith venues providing, in rotation, shelter,  food and companionship https://www.oneroof.org.uk/our-work/about-the-winter-shelter/ and Basildon Emergency Night Shelter, which is run by five different faith groups in seven locations https://www.basildon.gov.uk/article/7768/In-the-news-Basildon-night-shelter-set-to-open-for-winter.

In some areas, groups are working to provide food - for example, Northampton Inter Faith Forum collaborated with the Hope Centre earlier this month to provide and serve food to the guests of that community charity.

A number of other faith groups run programmes throughout the year to offer support to the homeless. For instance, volunteers from the Sikh community have helped hundreds of homeless people through the Midland Langar Seva Society (MLSS) by offering hot food, drinks and company every week https://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/local-news/how-friday-night-food-drop-17300369. A similar facility is offered by Who Is Hussain, a Muslim charity that hosts weekly food drives for the homeless. They also offer free haircuts, free CV workshops in conjunction with local charities to help find employment, and distribute care packages such as hygiene kits and winter essentials https://whoishussain.org/.

Faith communities also work for housing justice through their ongoing social welfare work.

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Online faith map of Wolverhampton

An online faith map of Wolverhampton has been created by Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council and Interfaith Wolverhampton - bit.ly/wtonfaithmap.  It features more than 250 faith groups and its purpose is to highlight the rich diversity of faith groups worshipping in, and serving local communities.   It evolved from work with local faith groups that was initiated, supported and funded by Wolverhampton Safeguarding Boards.

For further information, contact admin@ifwton.org.uk.

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Glasgow gurdwara multi faith tapestry for peace

In November, as part of Scottish Interfaith Week, the Glasgow Gurdwara unveiled the city’s first ever multi faith tapestries.  The three ceiling-to-floor hand-stitched tapestries depict the three principles of the Sikh faith – pray, work, share. They were unveiled in as part of the celebrations of the 550th anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak, and will later be toured around different venues in the UK.  The Tapestry Project was founded by Manjit Kaur Jheeta, 65 from Pollokshields, who along with Paula Hope, a 52 year old Art Teacher, led a volunteer group of 90 women from different faiths and communities to weave the tapestries over 18 months. https://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/18060070.multi-faith-tapestry-peace-created-glasgow-gurdwara/

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Local inter faith groups

Local inter faith organisations play a very important role in encouraging inter faith understanding and cooperation in their areas.  Some local organisations are relatively new.  Others have been operating for a long time. In November, Edinburgh Interfaith Association celebrated its 40th anniversary and York Interfaith its 30th Anniversary. 

If you would like to get involved in or to support your local inter faith organisation, you can find your nearest group at: https://www.interfaith.org.uk/involved/groups.

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Learning About Religions through Dialogue Programme

The Learning About Religions through Dialogue programme is a research project funded by All Saints Educational Trust that links faith practitioners with schools where the practitioner’s religion is not represented in the school. Faith practitioners and teachers receive training as part of their involvement with the project. Training for faith practitioners was provided by St Philip’s Centre, Leicester; training for teachers was led by Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln.

The main purpose of the programme is for staff and pupils to be able to learn about the person’s religion and culture. It is predicated on the assumption, which will be tested through the research process, that the best way to learn about a religious tradition is by meeting someone from that tradition in the context of dialogue. Currently, there are six Lincolnshire schools involved in the project - three primary and three secondary.

The research will be evaluated in June 2020 and the results published. Further research is planned if the project is successful and there may be an opportunity for a funded PhD at Bishop Grosseteste University.

Further information can be found at https://www.bishopg.ac.uk/bgu-team-win-15000-grant-to-support-new-re-learning-initiative/.

For further information contact Mark Plater at Bishop Grosseteste University at mark.plater@bishopg.ac.uk.

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Climate Change

Faiths for the Climate continues to develop its work with faith communities to respond to Climate Change. Its website carries updates on actions by these.  The latest news can be seen at https://faithfortheclimate.org.uk/news.

Glasgow will be hosting the next UN Climate Change Summit (COP26) at the end of 2020 and some faith and inter faith bodies are already planning work towards that.  See, for example, https://bit.ly/34h6bom.

A significant number of Inter Faith Week events this year had a focus on climate change and other environmental issues. https://www.interfaithweek.org/events/calendar/environment-climate-event/

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Charter for faith and belief inclusion signed in Manchester

In November, Manchester’s Mayor Andy Burnham and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority signed a Charter for Faith & Belief Inclusion at Manchester Cathedral in the presence of the Bishop of Manchester, David Walker, and other faith leaders of Greater Manchester.

The Charter for Faith & Belief Inclusion is an initiative of the Faith & Belief Forum. Signatories of the Charter commit to working together to promote good relations between people of different faiths and beliefs in their communities, workplaces and wider society.

Further information at: https://faithbeliefforum.org/about/the-charter-for-faith-belief-inclusion/

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Resources and STUDY/training

New IFN inter faith resource for primary schools

In the course of Inter Faith Week the Inter Faith Network launched a new primary school resource designed to help increase pupils’ understanding of, and skills for, inter faith encounter, dialogue and action.  It focuses on learning about real examples of inter faith engagement, including in their areas.

The resource is for Upper Key Stage 2 pupils. It consists of a teachers’ introduction and four units, which are: 1a Religious Diversity in the UK and the Importance of Inter Faith Activity, 1b Introducing Inter Faith Activity, 2 Let’s Talk – Inter Faith Dialogue, 3 Making a Difference in the Community: Inter Faith Social Action, and 4 Team Spirit – Inter Faith Sport.

The resource can be found at https://www.interfaith.org.uk/resources/learning-about-inter-faith-activity-a-primary-resource.

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CCJ Holocaust Memorial Day resource

Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January 2020 will mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The Council of Christians and Jews has produced a resource to reflect this year’s theme, Stand Together. It encourages churches in the UK to mark Holocaust Memorial Day in their services and in their communities and includes suggested prayers and commentaries on the readings set for the Sunday closest to Holocaust Memorial Day.

The resource can be downloaded at http://www.ccj.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/HMD-Resource-2020.pdf

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Faith & Belief Forum online resources for secondary schools

The Faith & Belief Forum’s education and learning team has been working, supported by Dangoor Education, to make its resources accessible to more schools and young people by putting its resources online.  The first set of lessons is now ready to pilot in schools. The first topic is Safe Space, exploring the principles and skills needed to have meaningful encounters and dialogues with others. The package includes 6 lesson plans with the lessons aimed at Key Stage 3, particularly Years 7 to 9.  Any school wishing to be involved, should contact Sarah Koster, Education and Learning Manager by email at sarah@faithbeliefforum.org.

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70th Anniversary of journal of the World Congress of Faiths

The World Congress of Faiths (WCF) is marking the 70th anniversary of its journal, Interreligious Insight.  The journal is now available also online and there is an almost complete set of journals with the WCF archives at Southampton University Library.  For more information, or to subscribe, visit http://www.worldfaiths.org/whats-on-offer/.

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Woolf Institute Summer School 2020

The Woolf Institute has opened applications for its 2020 Summer School, offering a programme of study on Religion and Society from the Medieval to the Modern. Led by Dr-Esther-Miriam Wagner the course introduces students to different aspects of past and present inter faith relations in Europe and in the Middle East, and aims to equip them with the required analytical tools, bibliographical background and objectivity for the study of inter faith relations. The programme runs from 22 June to 3 July and the deadline for applications is 3 May.

For more information, visit https://www.woolf.cam.ac.uk/study/summer-schools.

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Why Religion Matters: Religion Literacy, Culture and Diversity

The Religious Studies department at the Open University has developed a new free course on its FutureLearn site entitled ‘Why Religion Matters: Religious Literacy, Culture and Diversity’.  The course aims to provide an understanding of why religion matters in society and in different cultures and is for anyone who may interact with a religiously diverse public in their personal or professional lives. This includes police, civil servants, teachers, journalists, council workers and parents. The duration of the course is 4 weeks, with 3 hours of weekly study time.

For further details, visit https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/why-religion-matters

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CALLS FOR INFORMATION, COMPETITIONS, AND NOMINATIONS

Westminster Interfaith Photo Competition

Westminster Interfaith is bringing out a revised edition in 2021 of Transcendence: Prayer of People of Faith, a collection of about 140 prayers and readings coming from a wide selection of world faiths.   As part of the development of this, it is holding a photograph competition.   People are invited to send in their best photographs on the theme of “Interfaith / My Faith / Religions of the World”.   The winning images will be included in the new edition.  All winners will be acknowledged by name and receive a free copy of the book.   For further information, email westminsterinterfaith@rcdow.org.uk.

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Sandford St Martin Trust Awards

The 2020 Sandford St Martin Awards, the UK’s annual broadcasting awards for content exploring religious, spiritual or ethical themes, are open for entry. The deadline for entries is 31 January. Winners will be announced at a special ceremony at Lambeth Palace in June 2020.

For details on how to enter, visit https://sandfordawards.org.uk/the-awards/enter-the-2020-awards/. For more information, contact Anna McNamee (Executive Director) or Colette Cunningham (Awards Administrator) on 020 7898 1796 or by email at info@sandfordawards.org.uk.

 

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JOBS, INTERNSHIPS AND VOLUNTEERING

IFN’s website lists job and internship opportunities with a significant inter faith dimension with IFN member organisations at https://www.interfaith.org.uk/involved/vacancies/jobs.

Inter Faith Network for the UK – Volunteers

The Inter Faith Network for the UK is seeking volunteers to help with various projects in the IFN office from January 2020 onwards.  For further information and an application form, contact ifnet@interfaith.org.uk.

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Council of Christians and Jews – Part-time programming assistant

The Council of Christians and Jews is seeking a part-time programming assistant. This is a paid internship of between 10 to 14 hours per week. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.  For more information, visit http://www.ccj.org.uk/contact_ccj/recruitment/.

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Interfaith Scotland - Volunteers

Interfaith Scotland is currently looking for volunteers. To find out more, email admin@interfaithscotland.org.

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St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace – various roles

St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace is advertising a number of positions, paid and voluntary.  For more information, visit https://stethelburgas.org/get-involved/vacancies-and-volunteering/.

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FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

Near Neighbours small grants programme

The Near Neighbours small grants programme is funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and administered by the Church Urban Fund.  It is currently offering small grants of between £250 and £5,000 as seed funding for local groups and organisations working in a number of areas of England to bring together neighbours, and to develop relationships across diverse faiths and ethnicities to improve their communities.    To be eligible, projects should meet the following criteria: bringing people together, working locally, working sustainably, committing to diversity, and improving the community.

For information on the eligible areas and to be updated when the next round of funding opens, visit https://www.near-neighbours.org.uk/small-grants.

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Westhill NASACRE Awards 2020–2021

The National Association of Standing Advisory Councils for Religious Education (NASACRE) is inviting individual SACREs, or SACREs in partnership, to apply for a Westhill/NASACRE Award for 2020-21.   Applications are considered for awards of up to £4,000.  Projects should offer pupils at school opportunities to engage in compelling learning experiences in RE, or collective worship, within the broad theme of ‘education into diversity’.  The closing date is 31 March.  For further details, visit http://www.nasacre.org.uk/westhill-nasacre-awards/awards-2020-21.  

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FCC Community Action Fund

The FCC Communities Foundation is offering grants between £2,000 and £100,000 for projects which involve the provision, maintenance or improvement of public amenities including community spaces in places of worship, which are registered charities.   Projects must be based within 10 miles of an eligible FCC Environment waste facility.  The next round opens on 18 December and closes on 4 March.  For more information, visit https://fcccommunitiesfoundation.org.uk/funds/fcc-community-action-fund.

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Windrush Compensation Scheme

The Windrush Compensation Scheme is open to those who settled in the UK from a Commonwealth country before 1973, and in certain circumstances their children and grandchildren.   It provides payments to individuals who suffered losses as a result of not being able to evidence their lawful status in the UK.   These could range from a loss of employment or access to housing, benefits, education or NHS healthcare to emotional distress or deterioration in mental and physical health.  Additionally, it is open to all nationalities who arrived to live in the UK before 31 December 1988 and are settled here.  Claim forms can be downloaded and guidance on completing the application can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/windrush-compensation-scheme.  Claimants can also request a form to be sent by post by calling the helpline on 0800 678 1925 or via email WindrushCompensationScheme@homeoffice.gov.uk where they can also request a call back if they are overseas.

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Faith in Community Scotland

Faith in Community Scotland is an anti-poverty charity founded in 2005. They support individuals and faith groups in Scotland’s poorest neighbourhoods to achieve the difference that they are capable of. They do this through training, resources and funding which helps to build people’s skill and to increase their confidence.   It has a small grants programme which has distributed over £1 million over the past ten years to urban and rural faith groups tackling poverty.  For more information about eligibility and how to apply for a grant, email andrew@faithincommunity.scot.

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Funding websites

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) offers advice on fundraising and grants on its Knowhow Nonprofit site at https://knowhow.ncvo.org.uk/funding.

Funding Central - http://www.fundingcentral.org.uk/default.aspx - is a free website for charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises in England. It provides access to thousands of funding and finance opportunities, together with tools and resources to develop sustainable income strategies.  Similar websites for funding in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can be found at Funding Scotland - http://www.fundingscotland.com/ - Wales Council for Voluntary Action - http://www.wcva.org.uk/funding/search - and Grant Tracker for Northern Ireland - https://www.grant-tracker.org/.

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Website and Facebook grants

The Transform Foundation offers funding to charities to help with new website builds.  Grants of £18,000 are available.  Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. For further information and to apply, visit https://www.transformfoundation.org.uk/funded-website-programme

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Google and charities

Google is offering a service to registered charities which brings: Google Ad Grants: Free AdWords advertising to promote their websites on Google through keyword targeting; YouTube Nonprofit Programme: Access exclusive resources, features and programs designed to maximise their organisations’ impact on YouTube; and Google Apps for Non-profit: Free version of the Google Apps business productivity suite, including Gmail, Docs, Calendar and more.  For further information, visit www.google.co.uk/intl/en/nonprofits/join

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Subsidised fundraising workshops

The Foundation for Social Improvement offers subsidised training programmes for small charities across the UK.  The courses cover a wide range of subjects from event planning to leadership. Many of the courses focus on fundraising and sustainability skills in particular.   Further information and dates for upcoming courses in January and February can be found at http://www.thefsi.org/services/training.

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SPECIAL WEEKS/DAYS

Holocaust Memorial Day will take place on 27 January.  Its theme in 2020 is ‘Stand Together’.  Holocaust Memorial Day is the day for everyone to remember the millions of people murdered in the Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution, and in the genocides which followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.  It honours the survivors of these regimes and challenges everyone to use the lessons of their experience to inform their lives today. www.hmd.org.uk/

World Interfaith Harmony Week takes place from 1 to 7 February.  It is a UN recognised Week which was proposed to the UN General Assembly by HM King Abdullah of Jordan.  The first UN World Interfaith Harmony Week took place in February 2011. http://worldinterfaithharmonyweek.com

Sadaqa Day will take place on Sunday 22 March.  It is an annual day of faith-based social action led by the Muslim community.   mysadaqaday.org

The Big Lunch will be held on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 June.  Across the years millions of people from different faith backgrounds have joined together to take part through street parties, BBQs, iftars and picnics.  https://www.edenprojectcommunities.com/thebiglunchhomepage

Refugee Week will take place from 15-21 June. Refugee Week is a nationwide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and encourages a better understanding between communities.

VisitMyMosque Day will take place on Sunday 21 June.    It is a national campaign facilitated by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) that encourages mosques across the UK to hold an open day to welcome in their neighbours from all faiths and none.  www.visitmymosque.org

The Great Get Together, inspired by the late Jo Cox MP, is taking place from Friday 19 to Sunday 21 June.  https://www.greatgettogether.org/

Sewa Day takes place in October (2020 date tbc).  It is an annual day of faith-based social action led by the Hindu community.    http://www.sewaday.org/   https://www.facebook.com/sewaday/

National Hate Crime Awareness Week takes place from Saturday 10 October to Saturday 17 October. https://nationalhcaw.uk/

One World Week will take place from Sunday 18 to Sunday 25 October.  www.oneworldweek.org

Inter Faith Week will take place from Sunday 8 to Sunday 15 November.   www.interfaithweek.org   

Scottish Interfaith Week will take place from Sunday 8 to Sunday 15 November.  Scottish Interfaith Week is led by Interfaith Scotland.  www.scottishinterfaithweek.org

Mitzvah Day will take place on Sunday 15 November. It is an annual day of faith-based social action led by the Jewish community.  On Mitzvah Day, people give their time, not their money, to make a difference to the community around them.  Many events and projects held for the day have an inter faith focus.  www.mitzvahday.org.uk/

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Diary Dates

This section includes a sample of some of the events taking place around the UK during December and January.  Only one event per organisation is included.   We also include information on diary dates between e-bulletins on the IFN website at https://www.interfaith.org.uk/involved/events.

South London Inter Faith Group, with the support of Faiths Together in Lambeth, is holding an event on Sunday 15 December entitled ‘People of Faith Celebrating Together: Christmas, Milad and Gurpurab’.  It is being held from 1.45pm to 5.15pm at St Matthew's Roman Catholic Church, 37 Norwood High Street, West Norwood, London, SE27 9JU.  For more information, visit http://www.faithstogetherinlambeth.org/about-us/events/18-ftil-events/87-ftil-events or http://www.southlondoninterfaith.org.uk/.

Norwich InterFaith Link is holding its next event on Tuesday 17 December.  The topic will be "How do we stop the dying of the light?" Gayatri Verma will talk about the festival of Diwali.  It is being held at 7.30 pm at the Martineau Hall, Colegate, Norwich.  For more information, visit http://www.norwichinterfaith.co.uk/main.php.

Building Bridges in Burnley is holding its next event on Thursday 19 December.  The theme will be ‘Christ in Islam' and the speaker will be the Rt Revd Philip North, Bishop of Burnley.  This will be an opportunity to learn about the similarities and differences between Islam and Christianity and to ask questions.   It is being held from 1.30pm to 4pm at 160 Grey Street Burnley BB10 1PX.  For more information, visit https://bbburnley.wordpress.com/.

Barnet Multi-Faith Forum is holding an event on Sunday 22 December to celebrate the Jewish festival of Chanukah, with an explanation of the ‘importance, history and ritual of this ancient candle lighting festival’.  It is being held at 7.45pm at Woodside Park Synagogue.  For further information, visit http://barnetmultifaithforum.org/event/celebrate-the-jewish-festival-of-chanukah/.

Interfaith Milton Keynes is holding an event entitled ‘My New Year Spiritual Resolution’ on Thursday 2 January.  This will include prayers, promises and readings.  It is being held from 7.30pm to 9.30pm at The Crypt, Camphill Community, Japonica Lane, Willen Park, Milton Keynes MK15 9JY.  Teas and Refreshments will be served at the end of the evening. For further information, contact the Convenor at interfaithmk@gmail.com.

Concord Leeds Interfaith Fellowship is organising a visit to the new Jamyang Buddhist Centre, Clyde Works, Ingram Road, Leeds LS11 9RQ on Monday 6 January at 7.45pm. For more information call John Summerwill on 0113 2697895, visit www.concord-leeds.org.uk or email chair@concord-leeds.org.uk.

York Interfaith Group is holding an event on Tuesday 7 January to explore the topic ‘Why don’t we all have the same New Year?’.   A panel of its members from different faiths will explore what happens for each faith community and why.  It is being held from 7.30pm to 9pm in the Snow Room at the City of York Council, West Offices, Station Rise, York YO1 6GA.  For more information, visit http://www.yorkinterfaith.org/YIG_2020_Programme.pdf.

Woking Action for Peace, Friends of the Earth, Surrey Faith Links, Woking LA21, Woking Quakers and Woking People of Faith are holding the next Woking Debate on Saturday 11 January.   The theme will be “Climate emergency – what can we do?”  The debate will take place from 11am to 12.30pm, with refreshments available from 10.30am, at Christ Church, Jubilee Square, Woking, GU21 6YG. For more information, contact Keith Scott at ketihsc_2000@yahoo.com or 01483 824980.

Dacorum Interfaith Network will be holding its next meeting on Monday 13 January.  This will be a planning meeting for Inter Faith Week 2020. The meeting will take place at 7.30pm at the Hemel Hampstead Quaker Meeting House, 1 The Alleys, (between George Street and St Mary’s road) Hemel Hampstead HP2 5ZB. For more information, contact Norman Spink at normanspink@hotmail.com.

Westminster Cathedral Interfaith Group will next be meeting on Wednesday 15 January. Sister Emmanuel Bac Nguyen will be speaking on “The challenges and hopes for the Church in Vietnam.” The meeting is being held in the Hinsley Room, Morpeth Terrace SW1P 1EP from 4.00 to 5.00pm. For more information contact John Woodhouse on 0790 8888 586 (by text) or email woodhousesopten@btinternet.com.

The Focolare Movement is holding an inter faith event on Saturday 18 January titled ‘Journeying In Dialogue’ at which local, national and international contributors will share their experiences of building unity. The event will welcome three keynote speakers: Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, Dr Mohammad Ali Shomali, Director of the International Institute for Islamic Studies and Bhai Sahib Ji, leader of the GNNSJ Sikh Community. To book, visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/journeying-in-dialogue-tickets-76427999203?aff=ebdssbdestsearch.

Interfaith Wolverhampton is holding its next ‘Bring and Share Lunch’ on Tuesday 21 January.   Navi Aulkh, an 'urban missionary' working for the All Nations Church, will be speaking about this and also about the associated 'Eden: Whitmore Reans'.  It is being held from 12.45pm to 2pm.  For further information, including the venue, visit http://www.ifwton.org.uk/diary.html.

Stratford-on-Avon Interfaith Forum is holding a meeting on Tuesday 21 January.  This will be presentations on faith and culture, and how faiths have changed in accordance with the societies they have taken root in, with reference to Christianity, Buddhism and Islam.  It is being held at 7.30pm.  For more information, including the venue, contact info@stratfordinterfaith.org.uk at or visit https://www.stratfordinterfaith.org.uk/index.php/events.

More information on events and projects in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales:

Northern Ireland Inter-Faith Forum:  www.niinterfaithforum.org

Interfaith Scotland:  www.interfaithscotland.org

Inter-faith Council for Wales:  www.interfaithwales.org.uk

 

INTER FAITH NETWORK ‘COME TOGETHER’ APPEAL

This month the Inter Faith Network for the UK launched the ‘Come Together Appeal’.

In these often divided times, it is vital for people to stand together against prejudice and hatred and to come together in respect, understanding and cooperation for the common good.  www.interfaith.org.uk/news/appeal

The Inter Faith Network works in many different ways to support the development of greater inter faith understanding and cooperation and to enable people to come together.

On behalf of the Board of IFN, Co-Chairs Jatinder Singh Birdi and Bishop Jonathan Clark encourage all readers to consider a donation to support IFN’s vital work.  Every gift will be carefully used to make a real difference. 

It is easy to donate by clicking on this link: www.interfaith.org.uk/donate, by PayPal or by sending a cheque to: the Inter Faith Network for the UK, 2 Grosvenor Gardens, London SW1W 0DH.

 

Disclaimer: Information in this bulletin has been sourced and compiled with care.  IFN does not take responsibility for accuracy of information supplied by external organisations and inclusion of items within this e-bulletin does not imply endorsement or validation by IFN of the events, publications or the bodies which have produced these.

 

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