Sunday 16 – Saturday 22 November 2014
National Inter Faith Week begins on Sunday in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This will be its sixth year. The Week’s aims are:
National Inter Faith Week
Hundreds of organisations will be holding events to mark the Week, such as: local faith groups and inter faith organisations; schools, universities, colleges and other educational bodies; local authorities; youth organisations; emergency services; hospitals; businesses; voluntary organisations; chaplaincies; and others. A map showing events is at http://www.interfaithweek.org/map and this Release has a short annex with a sampling of different types of events being held.
Launch of Inter Faith Week
Strengthening good inter faith relations at all levels
Increasing awareness of the different and distinct faith communities in the UK, celebrating and building on the contribution which their members make to their neighbourhoods and to wider society
Increasing understanding between people of religious and non-religious beliefs
The Week was officially advance launched at an event on 13th November, at the Coin Street Community Centre in London.
This year the Week has a special focus on youth and intergenerational involvement in developing inter faith understanding and cooperation. Reflecting this, Co-Chairs of the Inter Faith Network for the UK, the Rt Revd Richard Atkinson and Vivian Wineman, with Vice-Chair Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala, are joined in launching the Week by inter faith colleagues and by young people of different faiths and practitioners who have come together for a special one day sharing of good practice event focusing on developing inter faith activity and education for and with young people.
The Co-Chairs said: “Inter faith understanding and cooperation are of year-round and ever growing importance but National Inter Faith Week provides a special time in the year when the spotlight falls on these issues. It is a time when people in communities around the country highlight the significance of faith and the contribution that faith communities make to society. Young and old of all backgrounds get the chance to find out more about their neighbours’ faiths and beliefs and to discuss, debate, learn, contribute together to projects and celebrate their diversity. Finding commonalities, sharing what matters most deeply to us, asking questions, exploring differences of view – these are all part of the Week. We hope that as many people as possible will take the opportunity to join in one of the hundreds of events happening.”
Prime Minister David Cameron has said about the Week: "Inter Faith Week is now a well regarded fixture in the faith calendar and I am delighted it is going from strength to strength. The Week plays an important role in bringing together people, and I would encourage everyone to get behind this year's activities. There is no better way of celebrating the richness and diversity of faith in our country."
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said: “The Week is a brilliant opportunity for people of different backgrounds to make new connections, find out more about each other and celebrate together the great multicultural society we have here in the UK. My best wishes to everyone involved in making Inter Faith Week what it is today. I hope many communities up and down the country will get involved to make this year another great success.”
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles has said:
"Inter faith social action brings our communities closer together and Inter Faith Week is a terrific opportunity to highlight this, whilst celebrating the practical contribution that our faith groups make to society. I hope that people of different faiths and beliefs - from local authorities, schools, and voluntary organisations across the country, will take part in some of the events that will be happening across their communities.”