Inter-Religious Affairs

by Gerry Lynch last modified 02 Oct, 2018 08:05 PM

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


      • Advises the Bishop of Salisbury on work with other religions
      • Promotes good relations between Christians and other faiths in the Diocese
      • Encourages church people to learn more about the teaching and practice of other religions


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      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.

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      The September/October issue of IFN’s e-bulletin is now available at
      Just a few of the items covered are:

      • Political parties – modelling respectful engagement; and the Final Report on the Commission on Religious Education
      • Inter faith projects and programmes, including Inter Faith Week 11-18 November and a range of national and local initiatives
      • Resources, including Connect: a youth inter faith action guide and training, including on ‘LGBT+Faith’ and on tackling Modern Slavery
      • Consultations and competitions, such as Interfaith Scotland’s Connecting Across the Generations art competition
      • Jobs, internships and volunteering opportunities with an inter faith focus, including at IFN
      • Funding sources, including for integration work and commemorating the First World War
      • Some forthcoming inter faith events across the UK


      Inter Faith Week 2018: A week to focus on inter faith understanding and cooperation

      Inter Faith Week 2018 - 11-18 November

      Inter faith cooperation and understanding are ever more important. Do join in and be part of this very special Week!

      Inter Faith Week’s aims are to:

      • Strengthen good inter faith relations at all levels
      • Increase awareness of the different and distinct faith communities in the UK, in particular celebrating and building on the contribution which their members make to their neighbourhoods and to wider society
      • Increase understanding between people of religious and non-religious beliefs

      Further information can be found on the About page and background on the History page

      More information about Scottish Interfaith Week, led by Interfaith Scotland, can be found here

      Quick links

      Salisbury City Council unanimously adopts the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism

      Following the antisemitic vandalising of the Holocaust Memorial tree in Churchill Gardens earlier in the year and the Salisbury statement on antisemitism in 2017, Councillor Derek Brown, with the full support of Bishop Nicholas and Jewish representatives, brought a motion to the City Council at its latest meeting.

      The Council unanimously adopted the resolution adopting the IHRA definition and those that spoke “expressed their anger, dismay and revulsion that there are some in our City/society who were prepared to act in the way they did”.

      A new tree – a myrtle – has been sourced and will be planted in due course. The myrtle tree reflects the quotation from Isaiah 55.13: “Instead of the briar shall come up the myrtle tree: an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off”

      The definition reads: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities”, and is followed by a series of examples which are part of the definition

      Faithful and spiritual conference

      This Conference called “Faithful and Spiritual”, is being organised through the Church of England’s Presence and Engagement programme which supports parishes with significant communities of parishioners of other faiths than Christian.

      The Church of England makes a formal distinction between ‘Faiths’ (Islam, Hinduism etc) and ‘New Religious Movements and Alternative Spiritualities’ (Wicca, Paganisms etc) and has advisers in dioceses on both.

      The Revd Paul Cudby is a leading CofE expert on ‘Alternative Spiritualities and has written a really interesting book: ‘The Shaken Path’ about the different strands.

      The Conference will consider what are the implications for parishes where there are either communities of other faiths – notably for this diocese in Salisbury, Trowbridge, Andover and Bournemouth; or where there are parishes with significant groups, either resident or visitors, of neo Pagan and other New Religious Movements, such as Avebury.

      Rosh Hashanah

      Bishop Nicholas wrote to the Jewish community on the feast of Rosh Hashanah to wish Shanah Tovah (read here).


      New Inter religious Affairs Adviser for the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Church of England

      The Revd Dr Richard Sudworth, a parish priest in Birmingham, has been appointed and more can be read about him here

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      The Inter Faith Network of the UK

      If you like to see a glimpse of the extent of inter faith engagement, you can see something of it in the Newsletter of the Inter Faith Network of the UK here. It's well worth a look and points to a number of current areas  of national importance.

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      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. More details at

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