Congregational members from Banstead United Reformed Church (URC) in Surrey and the Muslim Cultural & Welfare Association of Sutton gathered for an open Q&A to learn more about each other’s faith. In Darwen, Lancashire, churches and mosques partnered to offer food and furniture for refugees and asylum seekers in the town. These were practical outcomes arising from a scheme that brings together churches from various denominations and mosques to meet and share conversations in their local settings.
Following a successful digital pilot programme last year, a group of churches and mosques have announced a new phase of dialogue. Members of churches and mosques which have not attempted such an interfaith encounter are encouraged to volunteer for the new programme, to take the first step to meet and learn more about each other’s faith and practices. For instance, topics of exchange from last year’s Zoom conversations included lessons learnt from living through a global pandemic, comparing religious festivals and developing more local co-operation.
URC’s Interfaith Secretary, Rev. Philip Brooks said of this new phase of dialogue: “We believe that by encouraging local mosques and churches to meet with one another, it is not only beneficial in terms of mutual understanding, but it also offers greater potential to extend the support that faith communities are so good at providing to their local communities.”