A Touchstone Guide to Bradford Interfaith Organisations

Bradford has a long tradition of interfaith work but it has happened under a variety of different initiatives. "Interfaith" is sometimes spelled "Inter-Faith" because some people want to stress that this is not about a separate entity or additional religion but about relationships amongst distinct faith groups. "Multifaith" is often used to describe activities which involve people from different groups (e.g. occasional acts of worship which draw on different traditions or use material that is meaningful to people from different faiths. This is a mapping of interfaith organisations from a Christian perspective but when you add them together this in no way represents the sum of Bradford interfaith activity. Some of the other faith communities see interfaith relationships as a "normal" part of their religious life. Meanwhile many people in Bradford quietly get on with sharing friendship (and food) with their neighbours in local areas as they have done for many years.

Educational

It is important that the work of the Interfaith Education Centre should not be confused with that of the faith-based groups. It is part of Bradford Education, with a clear educational agenda, and has gained a considerable reputation for its work, not least in its work with SACRE in producing Religious Education syllabuses for the District.

Interfaith

  • BRADFORD FAITHS FORUM came into being through the initiative of the Community Cohesion arm of Bradford Vision, the Local Strategic Partnership, and has now become independent. It aims to create a forum in which people of different faiths can come together to discuss Bradford-wide issues and speak with local and national government. A Regional YORKSHIRE AND HUMBER FAITHS FORUM is based in Leeds. UNITED FAITHS is the Regional Interfaith Youth Council.

  • BRADFORD CONCORD INTERFAITH SOCIETY meets monthly. This is primarily a voluntary group of enthusiasts committed to learning more about other faiths and providing a neutral arena for encounters amongst believers from different traditions.

  • INTERFAITH WOMEN FOR PEACE brings women together with a concern for peace and reconciliation in Bradford and the wider world.

  • INTERFAITH WRITERS FOR PEACE brings people together to share poetry and reflect on current affairs.

  • ACTIVE FAITH COMMUNITIES is a regional body which works with different faiths. It has an office in Kirkstall, Leeds and is active in Bradford. An Intercultural Leadership School brings young people together from different faith backgrounds.

  • The BISHOP OF BRADFORD brings faith leaders together from time to time, especially in response to sensitive events in Bradford and beyond, often at Bishopscroft. Joint statements from faith leaders can be produced relatively swiftly.

  • The FAITH MATTERS column in the Telegraph and Argus on Saturday evenings offers an exchange of news and views from different faith groups. This is edited from Touchstone.

Christian Churches' Interfaith Work

The mainstream Christian Churches have paid interfaith workers. In the Anglican Diocese of Bradford the Bishop has an Interfaith Advisor. Methodist interfaith work is based at the Touchstone Centre, which publishes a quarterly newsletter "Faith to Faith in Bradford". The Roman Catholic Diocese of Leeds has a part-time interfaith officerand in one area of Bradford two Roman Catholic sisters (from different orders) live alongside their Muslim neighbours, offering a distinctive Christian presence. The Holy Family Sisters in Allerton are also active in interfaith relationships.

The Parish of Manningham specialises in Interfaith activity and has initiated the Sharakat programme, encouraging people of faith to come together in tackling common concerns in their part of the city. A monthly breakfast group at St Paul's brings together Christian interfaith practioners. The RAPTA ("communication") PROJECT at St Saviour's works with other faiths in Fairwseather Green. In addition a Women in Interfaith group of practitioners meets at the Cathedral. On the other side of the city centre St Clement's and St Augustine's is served by a priest with distinctive interfaith experience.

'Bradford Churches For Dialogue And Diversity' (BCDD) offers Bradford Interfaith experience as a significant training resource for people within Bradford and from outside the city. The Keighley Inter-Faith Group has developed quite rapidly since the Millennium in a town where the interfaith scene is less complex than in central Bradford.