Methodists: Understanding the Multi- faith Society Leads to Peace and Equality

The first historical national conference of multi faith society has been held on the media last week. Delegates from all the faith communities found in UK, including Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Zoroastrian, gathered together with the UK’s media. The Methodist Church was represented in the event.

Looking upon the everlasting conflict between different faith groups in the history, uncountable innocents have laid down their lives in violence. This conference provides a chance for faith communities to gather and build a spirit of co-operation, respect and understanding.

Representing Christianity, the Methodist Church has showed its openness towards a multi- ethnic society, which is believed to be a gift from God. Just like there are many different parts on the body of Christ, each carrying out unique functions, but they cannot be separated from each other in order to complete a task. The Methodists believe that this is the sort of society God wants us to establish. Moreover, they think people should enjoy freedom in learning about the beliefs and practices of other faiths.

Dr Elizabeth J Harris, Secretary for Inter Faith Relations at The Methodist Church, addressed “Many of the stories coming out of the inter faith relations world in Britain contain good news. They are about growing understanding and greater co-operation.?
However, Dr Harris continues to remind the faith groups that very often the media has overlooked these moments. Most media “look for people stories rather than reports or impersonal description of issues.?Therefore, the media department in a faith group should have wisdom in dealing with events.

Dr Harris appreciates the Muslim Council of Great Britain for their timely media intervention. He urges all Methodists not to judge their Muslim neighbors by the minority of Muslims who have extremist views. He believes “most British Muslims want to contribute to the good of the country.?

Meanwhile, in order to educate the Methodist, new guidelines on the principles and practice of relationships with people and communities of other faiths are under preparation. The new resource will complement “The Life We Share? The pack contains audio CD featuring interviews with 15 people from five different faiths: Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism. Each person talks about major life themes, such as beginnings, suffering and hospitality. It is expected to be out in time for the Methodist Conference of 2004 in Loughborough University from 26 June to 1 July 2004.