Faith organisations and their constituent members have a vital role to play in the community life of local areas. In particular they have a part in promoting community cohesion, taking social action and community leadership. They can either undertake these roles as individual organisations or collectively. We believe that the message and the impact of such activity are strengthened when they act collectively.
Concerted collective action across faith communities does not happen without support from central and local government and in many instances will not happen at all without intermediary organisations such as Building Bridges Pendle. We believe that Faith communities should not be isolated organisations within local communities and it is therefore essential that they also develop the skills, capacity and leadership to be able to work together with those of no faith.
There is a need for continued dialogue to enable faith organisations (and those of no faith) to gain a better understanding of each other. It is only through such dialogue that organisations will be able to determine the areas in which they can work together and those that pose difficulties. This dialogue will also help to develop a better and clearer understanding of where differences are faith based and where they are culturally based.
Our work over the years with Faith Communities has been via 3 main strands of work:
- Interfaith seminars; Delivered across the borough where people of faith and of no-faith are given an open invitation to attend. These sessions are used to stimulate discussion on a wide range of contemporary issues.
- The Pendle Forum of Faiths is a group which has been setup to become the representative body of the Faith Communities of Pendle.
- ‘Faith Communities Project’. This project involves the twinning of Churches and Mosques in the local Borough. The Twinning initiative entails a committed public relationship between a neighbouring Church and Mosque involving the members of both congregations, their leaders and trustees. It includes women and men, young people and the elderly and will have an impact on others who make use of both sets of buildings. The involvement of places of worship and congregations are central to twinning.
Faith leaders are encouraged to have close co-operation between each other and guide their congregations of a journey bringing inter-faith dialogue and community action to a new level.
Some examples of commitments expressed by Faith Leader through various initiatives over the years;
- Local faith leaders have pledged that “As a Faith leader of a sacred place of worship, I make a promise of working together with my fellow neighbour who does not share the same Religion or culture as mine. I will aim to bridge a common understanding between our congregations and build a relationship of friendship and respect”.
We pledge, as leaders and members of Faith Communities, to honour and respect all people in our neighbourhood by creating friendships and opportunities to share issues and concerns, experiences and expertise; To increase our understanding of diversity and faith: to be positive and active role models of open dialogue and constructive work as a community in our neighbourhoods: based upon our shared understanding of the oneness of God contained within our own faith tradition.