Church leaders across West Yorkshire are leading the way in tackling issues raised in post-Brexit Britain with a conference to explore better interfaith and intercultural relations and new ways to tackle hate and religiously motivated crime.
Faithful Neighbours, the Diocese of Leeds' Presence and Engagement network, promoting good practice and support for mission and ministry in religiously diverse contexts, is coming to Halifax for a one day conference on Feb 1.
Almost 80 clergy from across the new Diocese of Leeds have signed up for the conference, called Crossing Thresholds. It has a packed programme of discussion, talks and workshops on topics such as welcoming asylum seekers and refugees, new approaches to interfaith, what place evangelism today, issues from Brexit, Near Neighbours and how to grow catalyst young leaders.
The day, held at the Blackley Baptist Church in Elland, will be led by the Bishop of Bradford, the Rt Revd Toby Howarth, and the Bishop of Huddersfield, the Rt Rvd Jonathan Gibbs.
Bishop Jonathan said: “This is a good news story about the Church taking on post Brexit Britain and not being afraid to tell its story of faith and how it encourages good relations with its neighbours of different faiths.
“Faith should not be seen as part of the problem in the current climate, but as potentially part of the solution.
“We could be setting the model for the church nationally on this day,” he added.
Faithful Neighbours, formerly Bradford Churches for Dialogue and Diversity, is now diocese-wide and is one of four Presence and Engagement Centres in cities across England – the others are in Leicester, Birmingham and London – set up to develop church mission and ministry in a world of religious diversity.
Faithful Neighbours’ Chief Executive, Richard Bennett is delighted that so many church leaders have signed up for the conference.
He said: "It demonstrates the importance of faith in building better local communities and the need for church leaders to be confident in respecting religious difference where we live, where we work and in response to global news stories."
“This conference is supported by similar Church of England centres in Leicester and Birmingham, setting a clear signal that Presence and Engagement is now an issue for all communities across the whole Diocese of Leeds,” he added.