The Inter Faith Network for the UK office has now closed

Further background on closure timeline can be found on the homepage. A Press Release issued on 22 February about IFN's closure can be found at Read more…

IFN National Meeting 2021 - Faith communities and COVID-19: Learning from the journey

This page contains video presentations from the 2021 National Meeting of the Inter Faith Network for the UK, held on 23 March. The theme of the day was Faith Communities and COVID-19: Learning from the journey.

Each of the presentations below was given as part of the IFN 2021 National Meeting. Recordings are included here with permission of the speakers.

Session 1 - Stepping up to serve: sharing stories of faith and inter faith responses to need

Major Pam Knuckey, Assistant Director (Research), Research and Development, with Major David Evans, Territorial and Inter Faith Officer, the Salvation Army UK

The Salvation Army is known for its wide programme of response to social need, including emergency response. In the presentation, Pam and David talk about its response during the pandemic, including through its congregations and partnerships.

Gurdeep Kaur, Co-Founder, Sikh Foodbank and Dr Maureen Sier, Director, Interfaith Scotland and IFN Trustee

Like other nations of the UK, Scotland has seen a tremendous response from faith communities to need during the pandemic. Gurdeep will give an in depth insight into one of the important intiatives that has emerged to serve community need during COVID-19 and Maureen will be sharing the inspiring response from Scotland.

Hetvi Parekh, Sewa Day Team Leader Nottingham

The national charity Sewa Day has been responsible for a wide range of responses to food need during the pandemic. Hetvi leads their Nottingham team which has helped deliver 50 tons of food donations to foodbanks, charities and local schools in the last 12 months and will be giving an insight into their work which has involved volunteers of many backgrounds, including from local faith communities.


Session 2 - A time of challenge

A significant aspect for many communities has been the unequal impact of COVID-19 in terms of mortality and illness and the issue of vaccine hesitancy. Some reflections on this are offered by:

Shermara Fletcher, Principal Officer for Pentecostal, Charismatic and Multi-cultural Relations, Churches Together in England

Dr Arshad Latif, Covid-19 Response Group, British Islamic Medical Association


Session 3 - Religious Education and COVID-19 response  

Paul Smalley of NASACRE, Senior Lecturer at Edge Hill University and IFN Trustee talks about how RE in schools adapted to the online world of the pandemic and introduces a new IFN resource shortly to go live – ‘Learning About Inter Faith Activity in the UK: A secondary resource for pupils aged 11 to 14’ - which includes examples to help secondary school pupils learn about inter faith activity through the lens of  inter faith response to COVID-19.

Session 4 - Partnership working during the pandemic – and beyond

During the COVID-19 pandemic, partnership working involving statutory agencies and faith communities has been of great importance on many different fronts including messaging about vaccines; developing guidance; legal measures; and bringing emergency responders together to discuss and plan.   In this session there is a chance to hear from three different perspectives about the importance of this kind of engagement and of partnership working beyond the pandemic.

Daniel Singleton, Director, FaithAction

Daniel talks about FaithAction’s work in England to support actions by the UK Government on places of worship during the pandemic and faith communities during COVID-19; and the importance of faith groups and local authorities working in partnership. He will also be highlighting the present and future possibilities of the ‘Faith Covenant’ developed by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Faith and Society for which FaithAction provides the Secretariat.

Esmond Rosen, President, Barnet Multi Faith Forum and IFN Trustee

Response from the perspective of a local inter faith organisation which has been working closely with its local authority throughout the pandemic – reflecting its ongoing approach to partnership work with statutory agencies.

Kate McColgan, Chair, Inter Faith Council for Wales and IFN Trustee

Kate reflects on the experience in Wales of the Inter Faith Council for Wales and the Faith Communities Forum of the Welsh Government of mutually supportive work with the Welsh Government to tackle the pandemic.

Session 5 - COVID-19 and inter faith engagement moving forward

Brief reflections on the road ahead from:

Ed Petersen, Chair, Northern Ireland Inter Faith Forum and IFN Trustee

Eda Molla Chousein, Youth Programme Coordinator of the National Interfaith Youth Network, Religions for Peace UK

Dr Avtar Singh Matharu, Chair, York Interfaith

Malcolm Deboo, Co-Moderator of IFN Faith Communities Forum