With so many different religions bumping along together on these islands, the concept of facilitating better understanding and co-operation between them was perhaps inevitable and certainly admirable. The Inter Faith Network for the United Kingdom (IFN) is a charity that was founded in 1987 after extensive preparations and research by John Brian Pearce (1935-) beginning in 1984.
Pearce later became an IFN Director. The first co-Chairs were Rabbi Hugo Gryn and Bishop Jim Thompson, supported by co-Vice Chairs Dr. Indarjit Singh, Dr. Mughram Al-Ghamdi and Om Prakash Sharma.
The IFN offers membership to various types of multi- and single faith groups around the country (currently numbering 176) and arranges seminars, joint initiatives, consultation and information services, including a directory. It encourages inter-faith sports and social activities and has contributed to the school curriculum for Religious Education. It has also worked with the Commission on Racial Equality.
Though its aims may seem idealistic and even unthinkable for some, the IFN’s shared Act of Commitment voices a hope that is entirely in keeping with the British psyche, that:-
“We commit ourselves,
As people of many faiths,
To work together for the common good,
Uniting to build a better society,
Grounded in values and ideals we share…”
(Image: Catholic Church England & Wales at Flickr.com / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)