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Inter-Religious Work

by Gerry Lynch last modified 19 Oct, 2017 03:28 PM

The Diocese works to promote good relations and deeper understanding between Christians and people of other faiths

“We should always "be ready to give an account of the hope that is within us, but with gentleness and respect" and we must remember that people of other faiths are also loved by God, and can be touched by Him when they pray.

“Inter-religious understanding and engagement is just as important in areas like this Diocese where minority faiths are small. Stereotypes arise more easily where people rarely meet those of other faiths.” - Canon Guy Wilkinson

The Diocese has relatively small communities belonging to faiths other than Christianity, although there is a well established Jewish community in the Greater Bournemouth-Poole area, and small communities of Muslims in several of the larger towns, most notably in Trowbridge, Poole, and Salisbury. There are individuals belonging to all major world faiths scattered across the Diocese.

Among New Religious Movements, the neopagan movement is larger in Wiltshire than almost anywhere else in the country.

Bishop Nicholas regularly writes to leaders of other religions in the Diocese around major festivals, to extend good wishes and recognise their contribution to the common good.


Diwali celebration 2017 starts today Thursday 19th October for five days

Diwali is the five-day Festival of Lights and is traditionally celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains and is one of the most significant festivals in the Indian culture.

The word Diwali means rows of lighted lamps and it is known as the Festival of Lights because houses and shops are decorated with candles and colourful lights. This shows the victory of light over darkness and good over evil.

For many Indians, Diwali honours Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and people will start the new business year at Diwali and some will say prayers to the goddess for a prosperous year ahead.

The Bhumi Project is the world’s only organisation that address the intersection of Hinduism and environmental issues. Here is their Diwali message

We are hard at work. In recent years we have trained young Hindu climate leaders who are now active in their communities. We coordinated the 2015 Hindu Declaration on Climate Change to support the Paris climate negotiations, and got more high-level Hindu leaders to sign on than for any other such statement in history. We organized climate pilgrimages across in India that attracted national media attention, and we've worked with some of the largest temples in the country to help them green their operations.

In addition to India, we work directly with Hindus in the UK, Europe, US, Africa and Oceania. Our unique mission and strong track record have enabled us to develop close ties with the United Nations and other global institutions. We are the leading Hindu voice in fast-growing the religious-environmental movement.


2017 Inter Faith Week

Looking ahead, the annual Inter Faith Week will be 12th - 19th November. I would be glad to know of any parish that would be interested in having an event - whether a discussion, an encounter or anything that will increase our ability to relate to those around us of other faiths. Please be in touch at

Inter Faith Week is overseen by the Inter faith Network of the UK. Have a look at this 


In Southampton there are a number of events being planned

Monday 13 November              

Parkes Institute Annual Display  - Avenue Campus – all day;

Lecture - Avenue Campus @ 6:00pm    

Tuesday 14 November

Islamic Society Interfaith Panel: Abrahamic Religions

Location on Campus TBD @ 6:30pm

 Wednesday 15 November

City Sanctuary Interfaith Service at 1:10 – 2:00pm                                                                           

Thursday 16 November

Solent University 6.30 Talk/Discussion: ‘Relevance of Religion in Society’

Speaker: Keith Ward, Oxford                                                                                  

Saturday 18 November

Spirituality & Art Event (Prayer Flags/Faith Mural)

Early afternoon Leader: Guy Dekel                                                                                  

Sunday 19 November

Southampton Council of Faiths ‘Steps for Peace Walk’

1200 City Centre

Updated Listing 21st October 2017

Bishop Nicholas will be joining a meeting at St James , Trowbridge between the vicar The Revd Rob Thomas and members of the congregation and leaders of the Wiltshire Islamic Cultural Association

23 May 2017
Bishop Nicholas issued a joint statement with leaders of the Muslim community
in Salisbury after the terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena.


The Church Urban Fund Near Neighbours programme seeks to bring people together who are near neighbours in communities that are religiously and ethnically diverse, so that they can get to know each other better, build relationships of trust, and collaborate together on initiatives that improve the local community they live in. Learn more at

The Church of England Presence & Engagement programme helps parishes be a truly national Church in areas of high religious diversity, following report to General Synod Presence and Engagement: the churches' task in a multi Faith society. It encourages and supports the mission and ministry of parishes and other Anglican communities in multi-religious contexts, supported by the Church of England's national Adviser on Inter Faith relations.

The BBC website has a useful introductory guide to the beliefs of a wide variety of religions - visit it here.

Porvoo Guidelines: inter-religious encounter in churches of the Porvoo Communion
The Porvoo Communion draws together Anglican churches from Britain and Ireland with Lutheran churches from Scandinavia and the Baltic. These guidelines emerged from a consultation held in Oslo in December 2003. They have no official status, but offer some practical pointers on pastoral issues.

Inter Faith Marriage Guidelines: advice from a Christian perspective.

Network for Inter Faith Concerns (NIFCON) of the Anglican Communion.

The Bournemouth and Wessex Branch of the Council of Christians and Jews meets 4-5 times per year with attendance at meetings from 60 up. More details at

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