The UK government earlier this week launched a consultation on how the government can best support faith communities' engagement with one another and with their local communities.
Addressing a reception attended by over 200 representatives of Britain's faith communities, including the archbishop of canterbury, the secretary of state, Hazel Blears, Secretary of State said:
""Faith groups are a key part of the way we respond to the challenges we face from building strong resilient communities to tackling anti-social behaviour.
"This consultation provides us with an opportunity to find out how Government can best support dialogue between faith groups and the circumstances in which inter faith activity is helping to make a positive difference to communities around the country..."
There are a number of organisations in the UK such as interfaith (for faith dialogue) and faithworks (for faith groups who want to help their comminity) that already lead by example, providing encouragement, support and guidance but the government is clearly interested in what is taking place at a local level and what they can do to help.
The consultation will look to discover what is needed to widen and deepen inter faith dialogue and social action. In particular it will seek to:
1. Understand how to best build confidence in the benefits of partnership working and develop a greater understanding of the contribution that faith communities can make
2. Discover to what extent local authorities and other public bodies are already working with faith communities
3. Understand better the structures which facilitate interaction and social action and how can these be best developed
4. Learn about some of the barriers to inter faith activity - especially in connection with the involvement of women and young people - and how we might best work together to overcome these
So in terms of your own faith/local community, your experiences, networks etc I'd love to know please how would you respond to the consultation questions - what is happening where you live and work that you or your community is involved in? What would make it easier or more effective? What are the barriers but also the success stories that inspire you.
If you are not from the UK it would still be great to pleae hear your thoughts and experiences as we can learn from what is happening in other parts of the world and be inspired.
Please do let others know about the consultation and if you intend to respond to it as well...