Faith in the Future: Join the Conversation
There is momentum growing around the role that faith communities can play in British society.
As revealed by reports such as the recent Keeping the Faith report from the APPG on Faith and Society, local authorities are eager to work more closely with faith communities during the current crisis and beyond. At a national level, too, there is an increasing openness to the idea that faith communities have a key role to play in bringing about the sort of national society we wish to see. For example, as Anne Smith discussed in a previous FaithAction blog, Danny Kruger MP recommended in his report on Levelling Up Our Communities that the government needs a “new deal” between government and faith communities, “actively supporting the extraordinary work of organisations of all faiths”.
In a similar vein, in November, FaithAction hosted a virtual conference, Building Back Better: The Role of Faith. This three-part event featured a statement from the Faith Minister, Lord Greenhalgh; an interview with the government’s faith advisor, Colin Bloom; a report launch from the Free Churches Group and Theos; and numerous discussions and presentations from MPs, academics, and faith leaders. (If you missed this conference, you can watch the recordings on our website).
The purpose of this event was to celebrate the vital contribution faith communities have made during the COVID-19 response, but also to advocate for their centrality beyond crisis response in sustaining the sort of cohesive, prosperous, happy, and healthy society we all desire to live in.
With that in mind, for the final session of this conference, we turned to Faith in the Future, where our multi-faith panel explored how faith can play its part in ‘building back better’ and sustaining a more cohesive British society, post COVID-19 and post-Brexit (it’s definitely worth watching if you missed it!). The intent was not for this to be a one-off conversation, however. Instead, we hope to use it as a launch pad into discussions in the new year with faith communities, large and small, up and down the country.
Since June, our Faith COVID Response project has focused on capturing the needs of faith communities during this time of pandemic. Now, we want to capture your ideas as we look ahead.
- What role should faith communities play in British society?
- What assets do they have to offer?
- What are they doing already? How can it be scaled up?
- How can their potential be unlocked without having them provide services that should be performed by the state?
- What would facilitate faith communities working more effectively together? … or with councils? … or with businesses and other sectors?
- What are the main needs in specific cities and regions, and what capacity do the faith communities have to play a part there?
These are the sorts of questions that we think about at FaithAction, and we want to invite you to join the conversation.
Our first step is will be to run a series of single faith focus groups across the course of January to gather your ideas around the role of faith in the future.
For details, including the dates of these focus groups and to sign up, please click here.
Additionally, if you would like to send us a written contribution with your ideas, or if you or your organisation has already produced a relevant report or document, please feel free to email us – [email protected]
We look forward to hearing your thoughts on the role faith should play in the future, and what sort of “new deal” with faith communities we should begin advocating for.