Presence and Engagement is the Church of England's national programme equipping Christians for today’s multi-faith world. We believe the Church must remain present in diverse areas, and engage positively with other faiths.According to the 2011 Census, there are over 300,000 people across our diocese following different faiths. Many of us know neighbours, colleagues and friends from a different religious community, and issues of religion are prominent in the media, so Presence and Engagement is for every church.
Bishop Tony Robinson chairs the National Presence & Engagement Task Force, of which Revd. Jenny Ramsden, the Diocesan Interfaith Adviser, is also a member.
The National Presence and Engagement Website is here: https://www.churchofengland.org/about/work-other-faiths. Here you will find some useful guidelines for Church leaders addressing a range of common issues for Churches and parishes where people of different faiths live side by side, including 'Civic and Interfaith Services', 'Actions in Times of Tension', 'Schools, Practical Issues'. 'Marriage (between a couple of different faiths)', and 'Engaging with the Asylum Process' (and more).
Presence and Engagement training for clergy: every member of clergy in the Diocese of Leeds is required to undertake training in Presence and Engagement, which consists of three parts:
1. Area Visit (half a day) - a visit to a project or church in an area or religious diversity to meet with people of (a) different faith(s) and with local clergy.
2. Core Day (full day with lunch provided) - exploring some of the theology of presence and engagement and what this means for clergy and their context.
3. Thematic Options (half a day) - a variety of workshops for you to choose from, for example on Islamophobia, Engaging with New Religious Movements, Parish Ministry in an age of Anti-Semitism. Some of these workshops are open to all.
For information about upcoming training/workshops and information on how to book please contact our Diocesan Interfaith Adviser - Revd. Jenny Ramsden - jenny.ramsden [at] leeds.anglican.org
Interfaith News. The Diocese of Leeds is committed to building and maintaining good relationships between people of different faiths. Read below for our latest interfaith news:
Faith Leaders and young people from across the Diocese come together to learn about the Holocaust
"Faith leaders and young people from across the diocese have gathered to learn from the events of the Holocaust. The visit to the Holocaust Education and Memorial Centre in Huddersfield was attended by Christian, Muslim and Jewish faith leaders, including Bishop Nick and Bishop Toby, as well as some 15 young people from the different faiths.The Revd Jenny Ramsden, Diocesan Interfaith Advisor,and pictured with guests said: "This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, and there is a real concern from the Jewish community that, with the dwindling number of survivors able to share their stories, the horrors of the Holocaust will be forgotten. “The theme of this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day is 'Stand Together', and so it seems particularly significant to bring together Christian, Muslim and Jewish Faith leaders and young people to visit the Holocaust Education and Memorial Centre - to learn about the Holocaust from survivors and their families, and to discuss how we can learn its lessons by standing together against rising division and hate." Bishop Toby said: “It was a great visit. As time passes, it is vital that personal knowledge of the Holocaust passes to new generations and stories do not fade.”Those present heard from Rudi Leavor, Chair of Bradford Reform Synagogue, (pictured) about his family’s experiences in the Holocaust. The day featured discussion on how what is seen and heard is relevant in the climate of today. Bishop Nick also spoke and the trip marked not just the significance of this year being the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Aushwitz, but also the 25th anniversary of the genocide in Bosnia". (Jack Bacon)
Diocese joins Sikhs in Celebration of Founding Guru's 550th Birth Anniversary.
A unique celebration of religious friendship has been held at Bradford Cathedral to mark the 550th anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism. Christians and Sikhs from across our region joined in song and prayer and heard a powerful address by Lord Inderjit Singh of Wimbledon, pictured speaking. “It was a wonderful, groundbreaking event,” said Bishop of Bradford, the Rt Revd Toby Howarth, pictured, who helped organise the evening in the 800-year-old cathedral. “There were hundreds of people from Leeds, Bradford and beyond representing all the different Gurdwaras. “Writer and broadcaster Lord Singh is one of the most prominent Sikhs in the country and told how we are not a multicultural society with people just living side-by-side, instead, we are an intercultural society, with everyone engaging with each other.” The celebration included Christian song, Sikh devotional singing and South Indian dancing. “This was an very special honouring of the Sikh Community by the Christian Community,” Bishop Toby said.
Near Neighbours working through the Church Urban Fund is our close partner encouraging people of different faiths and none to understand each other better and work together on initiatives that improve their local neighbourhood. Contact Kaneez Khan - kaneez.khan [at] wellspringstogether.org.uk
There are links to resources, including books, videos and information sheets on the Digital Learning Platform under ‘Social Engagement’.
Diocesan Interfaith Adviser - Revd Jenny Ramsden - jenny.ramsden [at] leeds.anglican.org