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Home  >  News  >  International Panel for Interfaith Conference

News

International Panel for Interfaith Conference

Tuesday September 25 2018

Participants in the Round Table discussion in Edinburgh on Friday. The event was chaired by the Rev Barbara Ann Sweetin (back row, centre), and the Moderator of the General Assembly, the Rt Rev Susan Brown, led a Communion service.


Representatives of churches and organisations engaged in interfaith work throughout the world were in Scotland at the weekend to discuss 'Living Together in a World of Religions'.

Organised by the Church of Scotland’s World Mission Council, a round-table discussion in Edinburgh's Grassmarket Community Project on Friday was followed by a conference in St Matthew’s Church, Perth on Saturday.

Guests from as far afield as India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Egypt and Ghana, and Jamaica had been invited to take part in the event, which followed the theme of the World Mission Council’s report to this year’s General Assembly.

Subjects included the role of women in peacebuilding, the current position for Christian minorities in India and Pakistan, 'the politicisation of religion and the religionisation of politics' and the need to respect, listen to and work with people of all faiths.

The Rev WP Ebenezer Joseph from Sri Lanka told the round-table on Friday that while he remained a committed evangelical Christian, his perspectives had been altered by living with people of different faiths, and by his life having been saved by a Buddhist. He said: “We are called to be the servants, we are called to be the least, but if we are willing to play that role we create a big bridge for acceptance.”

Roderick Hewitt of Jamaica said that when he had been working in Birmingham it was a local Imam who had welcomed him, saying ‘I pray that Allah will bless your ministry in this community’. He said: “You cannot authenticate your faith unless you cross over into the world of the other.”

However, he added: “Acceptance is not the same as agreement… I must have confidence in my faith. The first rule in interfaith engagement is to have confidence in who you are.”

Also taking part were Carolyn Boyd, a Scot who heads the Ecumenical Women’s Initiative in Croatia, which has led peacebuilding and healing work among communities in the former Yugoslavia; and the Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, head of Christian Aid Scotland, who said that partnership was key to the charity’s work. She said: “’Ecumenical’ refers to the whole inhabited world. It means working with everyone.”


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