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IFN E-Bulletin May-June 2018

The Inter Faith Network E-bulletin provides news and reports on the activities of the Network and other inter faith initiatives, including ‘diary dates’.

The E-Bulletin contains:

If you have items which you would like considered for inclusion in the next e-bulletin please email these to ifnet@interfaith.org.uk by 13 July with ‘e-bulletin’ in the subject line. Submissions may be edited for length or style.

 

FAITH AND PUBLIC LIFE UPDATES

 

Remembering the Manchester Arena attack – standing together one year on

22 May marked a year since the terrorist attack at the Ariana Grande concert in the Manchester Arena. Among the events held to mark the anniversary was a service at Manchester Cathedral. HRH Prince William and Prime Minister Theresa May joined families of victims in remembrance. The Dean of the Cathedral spoke of how people of all faiths and none had come together and there were also short addresses from Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh leaders and from a Humanist. This reflected the strong multi faith response to the attack and in supporting those affected.

The BBC reported that a multi-faith group holding banners reading "Manchester City United" and "Total Love" were met with applause by those outside the cathedral.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-enWgland-manchester-44197949

Among the speakers at the Cathedral Service was Rabbi Warren Elf, whose reflections on the multi faith response to the attack have been offered at IFN meetings in London and Manchester and can be read at https://www.interfaith.org.uk/resources/moving-forward-together-report-of-the-30th-anniversary-national-meeting-of- and https://www.interfaith.org.uk/resources/ifn-day-event-for-local-inter-faith-practitioners-a-short-report-manchester.

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Integrated Communities Strategy consultation

The consultation on the Green Paper on the proposed Integrated Communities Strategy that was launched in March by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government remains open for another week until Tuesday 5 June.  As noted in the March/April issue of the e-bulletin, the Green Paper invites views on the Government’s vision for building strong integrated communities “where people – whatever their background – live, work, learn and socialise together, based on shared rights, responsibilities and opportunities”. It sets out a programme of actions that it is proposed to take across Government to deliver this vision at the local and national level.

Key proposals in the Green Paper include:

  • identifying priority policies and services to review across government to determine how they can drive integration;
  • testing a package of information for recent migrants to support them to integrate into their communities and to build understanding of life in Britain;
  • addressing the segregation of schools along ethnic or faith lines that exists in some places, even where the local population is very diverse, for example by promoting mixing and twinning arrangements between schools in areas of high segregation;
  • developing a new strategy for English Language in England, to improve the coordination of provision to learners and help improve their outcomes;
  • trialling new approaches through Jobcentre Plus to break down the barriers to employment and support people from isolated communities into work; and
  • empowering marginalised women, including exploring the legal and practical challenges of limited reform of the law on marriage so that civil marriages are conducted before or at the same time as religious ceremonies.

The Green Paper can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/integrated-communities-strategy-green-paper

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Muslims Against Anti-Semitism

On 17 May a group called ‘Muslims Against Anti-Semitism’ took out a full-page advert in the Telegraph. 

Further information at: http://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/british-muslims-write-letter-opposing-anti-semitism-the-time-has-come-to-speak-out/

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Minister’s ‘faith tour’ continues

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, Minister for Faith at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, is completing the second part of his ‘Faith Tour’.  The tour aims to highlight the UK’s ‘diverse landscape of faith communities and places of worship’.   This  part of the tour has included visits to Manchester to a mosque for an Iftar meal to mark the beginning of Ramadan, a gurdwara and a Chinese Buddhist temple; Bradford, to the Hindu Cultural Society; and to Blackburn, with a meeting with local authority and community leaders.   The tour has a link with the Government’s Integrated Communities Strategy consultation (see above). 

The faith tour can be followed on Twitter at @lordnickbourne, and by searching the hashtag #faithtour2.

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New guidance for coroners – respect for religious and cultural wishes

At the end of April, the High Court ruled illegal the ‘cab rank’ system of burials operated by North London Coroner Mary Hassell.  Following this judgement, in R (Adath Yisroel Burial Society & Anor) v HM Senior Coroner for Inner North London,   the Chief Coroner, HHJ Mark Lucraft QC, issued in May guidance for coroners: https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/guidance-no-28-report-of-death-to-the-coroner-2010517.pdf

Guidance No. 28, ‘Report of death to the Coroner: decision making and expedited decisions’ is “intended to be a practical guide to assist coroners in situations where (a) a bereaved family has made a request to the coroner for urgent consideration of the death of a loved one and/or early release of the body or (b) the coroner or coroner’s officers otherwise become aware of features of a particular death which may justify treating it as especially urgent”.

The guidance underlines that proper respect should be given to representations based on religious belief including wording that “The Chief Coroner understands and is sensitive to the fact that some faith groups, particularly Jewish and Muslim, have religious and cultural wishes about treatment of a body and burial following a death. Coroners should pay appropriate respect to those wishes, within the framework of their legal duties and in the context of their other responsibilities.”

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Humanism and SACREs in Wales    

The Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams AM, wrote to Directors of Education in Wales’ 22 local authorities saying that “‘It is the view of the Welsh Government that: to ensure compatibility with the Human Rights Act 1998 the provisions relating to the constitution of SACREs [Standing Advisory Councils on Religious Education] and ASCs [Agreed Syllabus Conferences]… are to be interpreted as permitting the appointment of persons who represent holders of non-religious beliefs in the same way as they permit the appointment of persons who represent holders of religious beliefs.” The letter also said that that the new guidance supersedes paragraph 103 of Circular 10/94 which precluded humanist membership on the same basis as membership by religious representatives.

This followed a legal challenge after Vale of Glamorgan Council would not admit humanist representative Kathy Riddick to its SACRE group on the grounds only religious representatives could join. The local authority later withdrew its decision after Humanists UK was granted permission for a judicial review.

Further information is at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-44054815

The National Association of SACREs, an IFN member body, has made a statement in response. This can be seen at http://www.nasacre.org.uk/file/nasacre/1-659-response-to-welsh-guidance.pdf.   

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25th Anniversary of the National Association of SACREs

The National Association of Standing Advisory Councils for Religious Education (NASACRE) works to support, strengthen and promote the work done by local SACREs and represents the interests of members at a national level. In May it celebrated its 25th anniversary with a conference and AGM in London focussed on ‘Standing Together – Celebrating the Power of Community’.  Details of the anniversary event are at http://www.nasacre.org.uk/conference-and-agm/2018

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Inter faith participation in launch of new Hindu temple

There is a growing trend for faith community places of worship to invite other communities at special moments such as opening of new places of worship and key festivals.

An example of this was the launch of North Kent's first Hindu temple in May.  This reflected the inter faith engagement of the Gravesend Hindu community with guests from many faiths and the local inter faith body as well, of course, as leading figures from their own community and civic leaders: http://www.gravesendreporter.co.uk/news/first-hindu-temple-in-north-kent-opens-1-5513262

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Taylor Review Pilot for Places of Worship

The Taylor Review was commissioned in 2016 to examine the funding and sustainability of listed Church of England buildings and ensure that they are conserved for future generations. The Review’s report was published in December and it has now been announced that the Taylor Review Pilot, administered by Historic England on behalf of the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, will run in Greater Manchester and Suffolk from September 2018 until March 2020.

The pilot will fund: a project manager (based in Manchester, Cambridge or London); 2 x fabric support officers (one each in Manchester and Suffolk); 2 x community development advisers (one each in Manchester and Suffolk); and a minor repairs fund in the two pilot areas. It aims to test the impact of fabric support officers focussing on maintenance and repair of historic fabric and community development advisers helping to increase engagement beyond the worshipping community in both an urban and rural context.

It is open to all faith groups who manage listed places of worship and meet the eligibility criteria. For further information, visit https://historicengland.org.uk/advice/caring-for-heritage/places-of-worship/churches-sustainability-review/.

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Faiths invited to mark 10th Anniversary of the Climate Change Act

The 10th anniversary of the Climate Change Act will be marked in November. The Act made the UK the first country to set legally binding targets for reducing carbon emissions.

The Committee on Climate Change, an independent committee created by the Act, is encouraging organisations to celebrate this milestone as a chance to talk about the decarbonisation of society, and the importance of the UK continuing to lead on climate change internationally. It has particularly reached out to encourage faith and inter faith organisations to get involved.

For further information on the Anniversary, visit https://www.theccc.org.uk/our-impact/ten-years-of-the-climate-change-act/.

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Interfaith Scotland visit of UN prevention of genocide adviser

Adama Dieng, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide, visited Interfaith Scotland in May for a dialogue event. He presented the UN’s Plan of Action for the Prevention of Genocide which has been developed for ‘Religious Leaders and Actors’ to prevent incitement to violence that could lead to atrocity crimes. This can be found at www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/documents/Plan_of_Action_Religious_Prevent_Incite.pdf.

More information about the visit is at https://interfaithscotland.wordpress.com/author/simoninterfaithscotland/

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West Midlands Faith Action Plan

Diverse faith communities in the West Midlands are supporting an action plan launched in early May by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street to tackle key issues like youth unemployment and homelessness. This follows a number of months of engagement between the Mayor and different communities.

Action Plan recommendations include: 

  • Offering faith communities the opportunity to bid for social programmes tendered by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), such as skills contracts
  • Rolling out the Mayor’s Mentors programme through faith groups to provide young people with mentoring in and around places of worship
  • Working with faith organisations to prevent and deal with homelessness, providing ideas and practical advice for those who want to help but are not sure how

One proposal under the plan is to work with the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner to explore proposals for an anti-hate crime campaign similar to the successful ‘Kick it Out’ initiative used to tackle racism in football.

The Faith Action Plan is a result of the Mayor and Faith Conference, staged at the University of Birmingham in November, which saw more than 400 individuals from different faiths come together to discuss issues like reducing hate crime, increasing job opportunities and tackling homelessness. 

Further information can be found at https://www.wmca.org.uk/news/faiths-unite-to-help-mayor-launch-action-plan/.

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Campaign honouring WWI soldiers of different faiths

The Jewish News reports that a campaign to honour First World War soldiers of different faiths in synagogues, mosques, temples and churches has had a £2 million boost from a Government fund.  ‘There But Not There’, an initiative led by Lord Dannatt, former Chief of the General Staff, and backed by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, includes artistic silhouettes placed throughout places of worship in the UK. http://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/campaign-honouring-first-world-war-soldiers-of-different-faiths-gets-2m-boost/

Venues where the silhouettes had already been installed at the time of the article were Arundel Cathedral; Alyth Synagogue, Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha and Palmers Green Mosque in London; a Belfast classroom; a Welsh church; and the Indian Army Memorial Room at the Royal Academy Sandhurst.

The £2 million in extra roll-out money, from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund, will be made available to faith schools, community centres and places of worship in the form of £500 micro-grants, with application accepted until 30 June.

Further information about the installation project is at www.therebutnotthere.org.uk/.

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INTER FAITH NETWORK FOR THE UK NEWS

 

Inter Faith Week – 6 months to go!

This year Inter Faith Week takes place from 11-18 November.  We hope that all our readers will take part and encourage their organisations to do so.

The 6 months to go press release is at https://www.interfaithweek.org/resources/press-release-inter-faith-week-2018-6-months-to-go.  The flyer for the 2018 week can be downloaded from www.interfaithweek.org/resources/flyer.

This year’s is the 10th such Week.    www.interfaithweek.org   Inter Faith Week has grown steadily ever since its launch   It is a fantastic opportunity for people of all faiths and beliefs to mix and learn; visit places of worship of your neighbours and find out why their faith matters to them; get past stereotypes and misunderstandings and increase religious literacy; celebrate; dialogue; and volunteer together to help their local community.

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, Minister for Faith at the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, said, in the press release:

“Inter Faith Week is a great way to recognise the amazing contributions of communities of all faiths and none from across the country. It’s important that we celebrate the great efforts of those who come together and build valuable relationships to the benefit of British life.”

In May IFN published a report on last year’s Week, Stories from 2017, Inspiration for 2018 www.interfaithweek.org/resources/inter-faith-week-stories-from-2017-inspiration-for-2018.  Many illustrated examples from IFW 2017 can be found in this.

IFN’s  Inter Faith Week Toolkit is packed with suggestions for marking the Week and examples and illustrations drawn from the many successful activities held for the Week to date by faith and belief bodies, local inter faith organisations, community and voluntary organisations, businesses, local authorities, emergency services, SACREs, schools, colleges, universities, chaplaincies, sports organisations, and others.  It also includes practical guidance and links to further information.  The Inter Faith Week team at the Inter Faith Network Office will be happy to assist.

Inter Faith Week is timed to begin on Remembrance Sunday, which this year is the Centenary Armistice Day. This supports and encourages remembering of the service of soldiers and civilians of different faiths and beliefs. It is also an opportunity for events focussing on peace.

Sunday 18 November will be Mitzvah Day (www.mitzvahday.org.uk) - a Jewish-led day of social action involving people of all faiths and none working together in their local communities. Many events are being jointly held to mark both Inter Faith Week and Mitzvah Day and these will form a part of Inter Faith Week.

Inter Faith Week is a programme of the Inter Faith Network for the UK (www.interfaith.org.uk), which manages the Inter Faith Week website: www.interfaithweek.org, working with the Inter-faith Council for Wales (http://interfaithwales.org.uk), and the Northern Ireland Inter-Faith Forum (http://niinterfaithforum.org) in relation to Wales and Northern Ireland.

Follow Inter Faith Week on Twitter at @IFWeek and on Facebook at @IFWeek.  If tweeting or posting, the hashtag is #interfaithweek. 

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Scottish Interfaith Week

Scottish Interfaith Week (SIFW) has taken place with great success since 2004 and is led by Interfaith Scotland (www.interfaithscotland.org). The dates of SIFW 2018 are 11 to 18 November. More details are at http://scottishinterfaithweek.org.

The Scottish Government has declared 2018 the ‘Year of Young People’. One of the main aims of the Year is to develop better understanding, co-operation and respect between generations. The fact that faith communities have an important role to play in providing opportunities for people of different generations to dialogue and engage in activities together is reflected in the theme for this year’s SIFW which is  ‘Connecting Generations’.

Follow Scottish Interfaith Week on Twitter at: @followsifw and on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/FollowSIFW.   

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Meeting of IFN’s Faith Communities Forum

A special session of IFN’s Faith Communities Forum was held on 8 May to discuss the Green Paper on the Integrated Communities Strategy.  Mr Hardip Begol, Director, Integration and Communities, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government attended the meeting to make a presentation and answer questions.

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Meeting of IFN member National and Regional Inter Faith Organisations and Educational and Academic Bodies

A joint category meeting for National and Regional Inter Faith Organisations and Educational and Academic Bodies was held on 28 March.  The two main Agenda Items were: Youth Inter Faith Engagement and Tackling Hate Crime and Prejudice.  In the first of these there were presentations from Ashley Beck about IFN’s youth inter faith engagement programme and from Phil Champain of 3FF about its youth engagement.   In the second of these there were reflections on the hate crime related section of the Integrated Communities Strategy Green Paper and on the role of inter faith organisations and educational and academic bodies in providing resources and skills for tackling hate and prejudice and how they are currently engaged with these topics.  There were also round table updates on member bodies’ current inter faith work and issues of concern to them and a number of IFN matters including membership fees and ways of working.

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Working for solidarity

IFN’s Co-Chairs wrote to IFN’s member bodies on 18 May underlining the importance of standing up for each other saying, “The significance of faith communities standing up for each other to oppose prejudice and hatred has been underlined in a number of contexts this week.  In a context where events here or overseas can have impact on inter faith relations, solidarity and continued extending of the hand of neighbourly friendship are particularly important.  IFN member bodies' work in this regard continues to be vital” and drawing attention to some IFN's publications with particular relevance, especially Looking After One Another https://www.interfaith.org.uk/resources/looking-after-one-another-the-safety-and-security-of-our-faith-communities-2017 and https://www.interfaith.org.uk/resources/lets-talk-practical-pointers-for-inter-faith-dialogue.

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INTER FAITH PROJECTS, PROGRAMMES AND DEVELOPMENTS

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Sport and inter faith relations

In recent e-bulletins there has been information about the event that IFN held with Sporting Equals on ‘Using the Power of Sport to Build Good Inter Faith Relations’ in Inter Faith Week last year. For the report on this event, see https://www.interfaith.org.uk/resources/using-the-power-of-sport-to-build-good-inter-faith-relations.

Sport and physical activity are enjoyable and important in their own right. They can also be valuable tools for creating and deepening understanding between people of different      Backgrounds – young and old. During May IFN has been profiling some of the many ways that sport and physical activity can help build inter faith understanding and cooperation on Twitter and Facebook.  

The IFN office, in consultation with Sporting Equals, circulated member bodies in May with ideas for using sport as a catalyst for building bridges and supporting greater integration. These can be seen at www.interfaith.org.uk/activity/sport.

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Faith and Belief Inclusion Charter

The Three Faiths Forum (3FF) relaunched at the beginning of May as the Faith and Belief Forum. It has produced a new Faith and Belief Inclusion Charter intended to “establish a supportive network of those who believe in a diverse society which is welcoming to all people, of all backgrounds and beliefs”. Its principles are outlined thus:

  • “We believe in an inclusive society where people of different faiths and beliefs have strong and positive relations. We believe that intolerance has no place in our communities or workplaces, and that diversity adds value to our society.
  • By connecting people of different faiths and beliefs, we can create a society which is fair to people of all backgrounds – religious and non-religious. We encourage people to engage more across differences and learn to understand each other better.
  • We recognise the need to create a more positive conversation about faith and belief in our communities and in all of the UK. We will have these conversations in a spirit of mutual respect and curiosity, and be open to different perspectives.”

Signatories of the Charter will commit “to working together in a spirit of partnership to promote good relations between people of different beliefs in our communities, workplaces and wider society.” To read more, including how to sign up, visit https://faithbeliefforum.org/.

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Inter faith iftars

The period of Ramadan observed by Muslims began on the evening 16/17 May.   Throughout the UK many Muslim communities are inviting their neighbours and people of other faiths to join them as they break their fast at the end of the day at an inter faith iftar meal.  For example, Christian, Hindu and Sikh guests and others joined Muslims in breaking the fast at the invitation of the Maidenhead Mosque.  https://www.maidenhead-advertiser.co.uk/gallery/maidenhead/131720/people-of-different-faiths-gather-to-break-ramadan-fast.html

A number of mosques and other bodies are hosting inter faith events as part of the Big Iftar.   Many of these are listed at http://www.thebigiftar.org/events/   Some places of worship of other faith communities are also holding iftars with their Muslim friends, such as the Alyth Synagogue in London which is holding a ‘kosher iftar’ for the fifth year in a row, http://www.thebigiftar.org/event/alyth-synagogue/.  

Local inter faith organisations, such as Barnet Multi Faith Forum and Epsom and Ewell Inter Faith Forum, are also hosting inter faith events including iftars throughout June.   This is as part of their overall programmes which also see marking of other key faith community periods and festivals such as Diwali.

This year, Ramadan and the Jewish festival of Shavuot coincided and a special joint gathering was held by young Jews and Muslims at Moishe House in London: https://faithbeliefforum.org/moishe-house-shavout-iftar/

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21 for 21 – Abrahamic Inter faith youth project

The Church Times, British Muslim TV and Jewish News, together with Coexist House, have launched a competition to find 21 young inter faith leaders who have worked to break down barriers between Christians, Muslims and Jews.   The project hopes to highlight the value of inter faith dialogue and activity, and the winners’ work will be showcased in print and on air across the three media organisations.    The project will conclude with an awards ceremony hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace during Inter Faith Week in November.

For more information, and to nominate a person aged under 35 to become one of the 21 young leaders, visit https://21421.co.uk/.  Nominations close on 29 June, and will be selected by a panel of faith leaders, inter faith practitioners and others from across the three faith traditions.

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Women Peace-ing Together

Leeds Concord Interfaith Fellowship’s women’s group have been making letter-flags that will spell out ‘Women Peace-ing Together’.   They will be contributing to a display in Leeds City Museum’s Broderick Hall later in the year, commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the WWI Armistice with symbols of peace.

A number of the group are also featured in an exhibition entitled ‘A Woman’s Place’ at Abbey House Museum, which features stories and objects from strong, pioneering women from 1860 to the present day.

For more information about the group and its work, email concordwomen@phonecoop.coop.

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Rabbi Clergy Action Network

The Council of Christians and Jews’ recently launched Rabbi Clergy Action Network aims to facilitate partnerships and opportunities for both rabbis and clergy to work together on social action and to foster dialogue.  With rabbis and clergy signed up all around the UK, it operates locally and nationally.

Further information is at http://www.ccj.org.uk/our-work/rabbi-clergy-action-network/.

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Watford Interfaith Association Peace Garden

Watford Interfaith Association’s Peace Garden has been opened to the public by the Mayor Dorothy Thornhill, who is a patron, at a multi faith ceremony.  It contains a labyrinth with grassed seating, flower beds, special trees and a specially donated bench.   It was initiated by the Watford Interfaith Association (WIFA) five years ago starting from a half acre plot of rough ground in the Orchard.   Volunteers from various faith groups and others have worked hard to create the labyrinth from scratch and dug flower beds and mowed the long grass. Last Autumn many members of different faiths came together over two days to plant 2,000 bulbs in the garden. 

For further information on the Peace Garden, visit http://www.wifa.org.uk/the-watford-peace-garden/.

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RESOURCES AND STUDY/TRAINING

 

ACAS guidance on religion or belief and the workplace

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) has published Religion or belief: key points for the workplace.  The guidance offers employers, managers, HR professionals, employees, trade union representatives and job applicants advice on how to avoid discrimination taking place in the workplace on the grounds of religion or belief. It also offers good practice advice on dealing with these matters should they arise. The guidance advises on how to create inclusive workplaces, where religion and belief are respected, and where people of different faiths and beliefs feel they belong. It can be downloaded from http://www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/a/p/Religion-or-belief-discrimination-key-points-for-the-workplace.pdf.

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GEO guidance on workplace dress codes

The Government Equalities Office (GEO) has published a guidance document, Dress codes and sex discrimination: what you need to know, for employers who set dress codes and employees and job applicants who may have to abide by them. 

Among its findings, the report notes that employers should be flexible and not set dress codes which prohibit religious symbols that do not interfere with an employee’s work; and that if an employer wants to implement a dress code or uniform policy, it must ensure that this does not directly or indirectly discriminate against employees with a particular religion or belief or no religion or belief.  The guidance document can be downloaded from http://www.edf.org.uk/government-equalities-office-guidance-dress-codes-and-sex-discrimination-what-you-need-to-know/.

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Inter Faith Week: Stories from 2017, Inspiration for 2018

IFN has recently published its report on last year’s Inter Faith Week, entitled Inter Faith Week: Stories from 2017, Inspiration for 2018.  As well as telling the story of the 2017 Week, this gives lots of examples and ideas for 2018.  The report can be found on the Inter Faith Week website at www.interfaithweek.org/resources/inter-faith-week-stories-from-2017-inspiration-for-2018.

The flyer for the 2018 week is also available at www.interfaithweek.org/resources/flyer.

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Using the Power of Sport to Build Good Inter Faith Relations

As noted above, the report on the event held by IFN, with Sporting Equals UK, on 14 November at Leicester Tigers rugby stadium on ‘Using the Power of Sport to Build Good Inter Faith Relations’ is available at https://www.interfaith.org.uk/resources/publications.   It contains many ideas useful for those wanting to develop sports inter faith activities. Hard copies are available from the IFN office.

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IFN 30th Anniversary National Meeting report

The report of IFN’s 30th Anniversary National Meeting, Moving Forward Together, is available on IFN’s website at https://www.interfaith.org.uk/resources/moving-forward-together-report-of-the-30th-anniversary-national-meeting-of-.   Hard copies are available from the IFN office.

The report may be useful for those concerned with topics such as: extremism, hatred and inter faith engagement; education and dialogue; communicating in the digital world; social cooperation for the common good;  youth and inter faith engagement; opening up difficult dialogues, engaging with tough topics; the safety and security of our faith communities; developing guidance to reflect and support the vital work of local inter faith organisations; social media; and sharing of good practice internationally.

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Report on Day event for local inter faith practitioners

The report of the IFN Day Event for local inter faith practitioners from around the UK held in Manchester in October is on IFN’s website at https://www.interfaith.org.uk/resources/ifn-day-event-for-local-inter-faith-practitioners-a-short-report-manchester.   It contains useful summary style material about  topics such as: responding to terrorism, extremism and hatred; using smaller friendship circles within the wider work of a local faith body; bringing young people together for inter faith encounter; Inter Faith Week and other special days and weeks; supporting RE and inter faith engagement in schools; women and inter faith engagement; getting to grips with Facebook and Twitter; and developing programmes with impact.

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Reflection document on faith and forced migration

Christian Aid Scotland and Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees have published a new theological reflection on migration.   Becoming Human Together is the name of a new resource exploring Christian theology from the Reformed tradition as it relates to faith and forced migration.    It is interspersed with real life stories of people who have direct experience of forced migration, and examples of how churches and faith groups in Scotland can respond.

It can be downloaded at http://www.sfar.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Becoming-Human-Together.pdf.

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Prisons and the role of faith-based organisations

What works in prisons? Contributions of the Faith and Voluntary Sector to Prisoners and their Families’, was launched this week at an event in Parliament with the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Faith and Society and the APPG on Penal Affairs. The report highlights the different kinds of support that faith-based organisations provide for prisoners, whether by supporting them with their individual faith, or with other practical and emotional needs.  It illustrates the often innovative approaches they take – approaches which also offer considerable value for money. And it also considers the important work of the wider voluntary sector.

The report was produced by FaithAction for the APPG on Faith and Society, which is chaired by the Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP, and for which FaithAction provides the secretariat.  Further information, including the full report is available at http://www.faithaction.net/news/2018/05/17/new-from-faithaction-what-works-in-prisons/.

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Historic England – recordings and podcasts

Historic England and the Society of Antiquaries held a one-day conference on 12 March entitled ‘The Heritage of Minority Faith Buildings in the 20th Century’. Recordings of all the talks are now available online, at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLGOCpw7BaRwW8IgJAy4fCaxxH9FFlV-gx.

Historic England is also releasing podcasts for its ‘A History of England in 100 Places’ project, including on the top ten Faith and Belief sites. The podcasts are available here: https://soundcloud.com/historicengland/sets/100places.

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RE Council – Religious Literacy quiz

The Religious Education Council has released a new ‘religious literacy’ quiz.  It is available on the Council’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/religiouseducationcouncil/app/489107954569299/?app_data=%7B%7D.

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Faith Awareness course, Leicester

Christians Aware is holding its next Faith Awareness course on Monday evenings from 4 June to 2 July.  The course offers “opportunities for encounter between members of all faiths in the hope that participants will seek to develop mutual understanding, trust and respect, not hiding difference, and recognising the uniqueness and special contribution of each faith to its people and to the world”.   Participants will visit a different place of worship each week and will involve meeting and talking with members of different communities, and finding out how the spaces are used for special occasions. For more information including the full programme, visit https://www.stphilipscentre.co.uk/faith-awareness-summer-course-visiting-places-of-worship or contact Eliam Ngoma on 01162 540 770 or at eliam@christiansaware.f9.co.uk.

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CALLS FOR INFORMATION, COMPETITIONS, AND NOMINATIONS

 

FaithAction – Anti-human trafficking survey

FaithAction is seeking responses to a survey about the level of interest in, and knowledge of, human trafficking and modern slavery among faith-based organisations in the UK. It is part of a research project carried out in conjunction with the Universities of Sheffield and Leeds, and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

The responses gathered will contribute to the design of workshops and activities for faith-based organisations interested in getting more involved in anti-trafficking. The information may be used to contribute to research findings on faith-based responses to anti-trafficking.

The survey will be open until 15 June.  For more information, contact info@faithaction.net.

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NATRE - Spirited Arts Competition

The National Association of Teachers of Religious Education (NATRE)’s annual Spirited Arts competition is open for entries until 31 July.   Entries should be artwork based on this year’s RE-related themes, which are: Holy Space?; Pray!; Doubt and Faith; Looking For God; and Making Peace.   The competition will be judged in August by RE Today Advisers and students.  Winners will be announced in the new academic year. For full details of the competition and how to enter, visit https://www.natre.org.uk/about-natre/projects/spirited-arts/spirited-arts-2018/.

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Brighton and Hove Interfaith Contact Group – ‘Angels in Our City’ competition

Brighton and Hove Interfaith Contact Group is holding a competition as part of its ‘Angels in Our City’ project.   Entrants are invited to create an angel representing the spirit of Brighton and Hove.  This can be any form of artwork (including words).   Winners will receive £50 and an ‘Angel award’, and the winners’ work will be displayed at the Jubilee Library. The competition is open to all ages, and entries will be judged in four age groups (10 years and under; 11-16; 17-25; and 26 and over). The competition closes on 1 September and winners will be announced on 15 October.

As part of the wider project, libraries throughout the city will be holding Angel craft and fun workshops throughout half term, and the Jubilee Library will be holding a week-long Angel Exhibition in its foyer from 4 June.

For more information and to enter the competition, visit http://interfaithcontactgroup.com/angels-competition/.

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National Diversity Awards

Nominations are open until 1 June for the 2018 National Diversity Awards.   The Awards celebrate the achievements of grass-roots communities tackling the issues in today’s society; recognise their dedication and hard work; and aim to empower and inspire the wide breadth of diverse communities across the UK.  The categories for Community Organisation and Positive Role Model both include sections for Race, Religion and Faith.

The awards ceremony will take place on 14 September in Liverpool. For more information about the awards and how to make a nomination, visit http://www.nationaldiversityawards.co.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 has regular volunteering opportunities.  Further information about these can be found on IFN’s website.

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Women’s Interfaith Network - Trustees

The Women’s Interfaith Network is looking for “passionate people who have an interest in inter faith work” to join its Board of Trustees.  The closing date for applications is 6 August.  For more information, visit https://www.charityjob.co.uk/volunteer-jobs/women-s-interfaith-network/trustees/569124.   

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FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

 

Near Neighbours grants programme re-opening in June

The Near Neighbours programme is reopening in June. It will again be 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.

As part of the criteria, projects should: 

  • Bring together peoples of two or more different faiths and/or ethnicities, to build friendships and develop relationships of trust
  • Work locally - the programme wants to see people who are living very locally (ie in the same street, estate or neighbourhood) come together
  • Work sustainably - the programme wants to see long term and natural relationships grow, that will last beyond the period of funding
  • Work to improve the community - the programme wants to see people working to make their communities a better place to live
  • Involve diverse people in planning and implementation. People from more than one faith group and/or ethnicity are involved in planning and implementing the proposal.

For more information, visit https://www.cuf.org.uk/near-neighbours-small-grants or email near.neighbours@cuf.org.uk with general enquiries.

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Building a Stronger Britain Together programme

The Home Office programme Building a Stronger Britain Together closed its latest call for grants on 16 February.  However, the programme is continuing to offer in-kind support such as social media training, technical assistance to help a group improve their website, or capacity building work to help a group protect more vulnerable individuals.   It is open to bodies in England and Wales.  Applications for in-kind support can be submitted at any time. 

Further information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/building-a-stronger-britain-together.

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Faiths in Scotland Community Action Fund

Faiths in Scotland Community Action Fund continues to be open for applications to its rolling small grants scheme.  Small grants of up to £750 are available to faith based anti -poverty projects with an annual turnover of £30,000 or less and can be applied for at any time.    For more information call 0141 221 4576 or visit https://www.faithincommunityscotland.org/faith-in-community-scotland-action-fund/our-grants/smallgrants/.

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Supermarket grant schemes

Bags of Help is Tesco’s local community grant scheme where the money raised from the 5p bag levy in Tesco stores is being used to fund community projects across the UK. The projects must meet the criteria of promoting community participation in the development and use of outdoor spaces.  Bags of Help is administered by Groundwork in England and Wales and supported in Scotland by Greenspace Scotland.   (It is not available in Northern Ireland where carrier bag money is managed centrally.)  Further information is at http://www.groundwork.org.uk/Sites/tescocommunityscheme/pages/Category/the-tesco-bags-of-help-programme-tes2.

Waitrose supports charities through its Community Matters scheme.   Local branches are each given £1,000 to share out between three local good causes each month such as welfare organisations, community groups and schools.   To apply, fill in a Community Matters form at a local branch or contact the branch champion for community giving at a local branch, using their branch finder tool at http://www.waitrose.com/branches/index.aspx.

Sainsbury’s stores each partner with a Local Charity of the Year voted on by the local people.   To apply, fill in a nomination form at your local store.  More information is at https://www.sainsburyslocalcharity.co.uk/.

The Asda Foundation offers grants for local community projects which will “make a real long term difference, benefitting the wider community with [its] vision to ‘Transform Communities, improving lives locally.”  Further details are at https://www.asdafoundation.org/applying-for-funding/significant-local-community-projects.

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Community foundations

Community foundations are local, grant-making organisations to which local community organisations can apply for funding. There are 46 community foundations in the UK, covering Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and most of England. A map of community foundations across the UK and how to contact them, can be found at http://www.ukcommunityfoundations.org/our-network .

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Comic Relief’s Core Strength Grants Programme

This programme offers grants to help cover the day to day costs of small locally led and based voluntary and community sector groups that are doing ‘much needed’ work in their local communities.   Grants of between £1,000 and £5,000 or between £1,000 and £10,000 (depending on the local community foundation) are to be used to support groups that can evidence a sustained beneficial impact on people’s lives who are excluded or disadvantaged.   For further information, visit http://www.comicrelief.com/apply-for-grants/open-grants-initiatives/core-strength-local-communities.

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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://knowhownonprofit.org/funding.

Funding Central - http://www.fundingcentral.org.uk/default.aspx - is a free website for charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises in England that provides access to thousands of funding and finance opportunities, together with tools and resources for supporting organisations to develop sustainable income strategies appropriate to their needs.  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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Heritage Lottery Fund grants to commemorate First World War

The Heritage Lottery Fund has £4million of funding available for communities to get involved in projects marking the Centenary of the First World War.  Projects applying for funding must be able to meet one of a number of successful outcomes based on heritage, people and communities.   Grants can be given between £3,000 and £10,000.  There is no current deadline for applications as grants are considered on a monthly basis up to 2019.

Further information can be found at https://www.hlf.org.uk/looking-funding/our-grant-programmes/first-world-war-then-and-now.

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Website and Facebook grants

The Transform Foundation is offering funding to charities to help with new website builds.  Grants of £18,000 are available.    It is also offering grants towards Facebook advertising of £5,000.   For further information and to apply, visit www.transformfoundation.org.uk.

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Google and charities

The internet search engine 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 heavily subsidised training programmes for small charities across the UK.  The courses cover a wide range of subjects from event planning to leadership but the majority of their training courses are focused on helping charities learn the skills to raise and earn income.   Further information can be found at http://www.thefsi.org/services/training.  Upcoming courses are in London and Peterborough in June.

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SPECIAL WEEKS/DAYS

The Big Lunch 10th anniversary will be held on Sunday 3 June.  Across the years millions of people from different faiths have joined together to take part through street parties, BBQs, iftars and picnics.  www.edenprojectcommunities.com/thebiglunchhomepage

Refugee Week is taking place from Monday 18 to Sunday 24 June.   It will be celebrating its 20th anniversary.  http://refugeeweek.org.uk/refugee-week-2018-celebrating-20-years/   

The Great Get Together, inspired by the late Jo Cox MP, is taking place from Friday 22 to Sunday 24 June.  https://www.greatgettogether.org/

Remembering Srebrenica Memorial Week will be held between 8 and 15 July.  The theme this year is ‘Acts of Courage’.   https://www.srebrenica.org.uk/

The European Days of Jewish Culture and Heritage, run by B’nai B’rith UK, will be on Sunday 2 September and from Sunday 7 to Sunday 14 October.   The theme for this year will be ‘Storytelling’. http://bnaibrithuk.org/heritage-days/

Sewa Day will take place this year on Sunday 14 October.   It is an annual day of faith-based social action led by the Hindu community.    http://www.sewaday.org/

One World Week 40th anniversary takes place from Sunday 21 to Sunday 28 October.  Its theme is ‘The World is Changing – How about us?’.   www.oneworldweek.org

Inter Faith Week in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will take place from Sunday 11 to Sunday 18 November. It is led by the Inter Faith Network for the UK www.interfaithweek.org See more above

Scottish Interfaith Week will take place from Sunday 11 to Sunday 18 November.  It is led by Interfaith Scotland. http://scottishinterfaithweek.org/

Mitzvah Day will take place on Sunday 18 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

Information on upcoming diary dates can be found at https://www.interfaith.org.uk/involved/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

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SUPPORT THE INTER FAITH NETWORK’S WORK  

TO INCREASE INTER FAITH UNDERSTANDING AND COOPERATION

We need your help to ensure that the Inter Faith Network for the UK’s work to promote inter faith understanding and cooperation continues and grows, helping people of all backgrounds to live and work together with mutual respect and shared commitment to the common good.  Gifts at all levels are much valued and make a real difference.  You can donate directly at www.interfaith.org.uk/donate or via PayPal or JustGiving at https://www.justgiving.com/interfaithnetwork-uk. Donations can also be made by sending a cheque to The Inter Faith Network for the UK, 2 Grosvenor Gardens, London SW1W 0DH.

REMEMBERING A FAMILY MEMBER OR FRIEND If you would like to make a gift in memory of a loved one, please get in touch by emailing remember@interfaith.org.uk or call us on 0207 730 0410.

A GIFT IN YOUR WILL By leaving a gift in your will to the Inter Faith Network for the UK, you can leave a living inheritance to help deepen and strengthen inter faith understanding and cooperation in this country – for now and for the future. If you are thinking about making a will, the best thing to do is to get in touch with a professional will writer, such as a solicitor or advocate; they can help to ensure it is legally correct and that your wishes are met. If you have already made a will, you can still make an addition or amendment in the form of a codicil. If you would like to pledge a gift, please provide our name and address, along with our registered charity number 1068934.
Please get in touch with us if you have any queries. 

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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