National Gathering 2017

Interfaith dialogue

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Interfaith dialogue

A topic from the World Cafe session of the National Gathering 2017.

Interfaith should be faith-sharing and dialogue rather than mutual monologue!

Unity is important; create an inter-denominational base as a foundation to inter-religious dialogue (stronger together).

How do you get beyond superficiality to higher level of interfaith?

Is there an alternative to debate vs. dialogue?

Values-driven  

  • Seek truth together
  • Mutual respect
  • Relationship-building
  • Seeking truth
  • Ask what they would like
  • Ask Questions, listen to answers, don't impose opinions
  • Breaking down barriers; building friendships and confidence
  • Issue of prayer - can this be joint?

Methods and techniques

  • Scriptural reasoning; Bible and Qur'an together
  • Meetings for Better Understanding (MBUs)
  • Dialogue groups creating safe space for conversations
  • Rules of engagement helpful - CMF Ethical Guidelines for sharing faith in Britain

Two models of Gospel proclamation

  • Road to Damascus - conversion experience
  • Road to Emmaus - conversation encounter

If you are involved in interfaith dialogue then it will mean going deeper into your own faith and becoming ‘deeply rooted and profoundly open’.

Start small, think big.

Church guest services for Muslims

Image: Mike Wilson,  Unsplash

Image: Mike Wilson, Unsplash

Church guest services for Muslims

A topic from the World Cafe session of the National Gathering 2017.

Two basic types:

  • Invite Muslims to usual church events, e.g. worship service, baptism, wedding etc.
  • Put together ‘Muslim friendly event’, e.g. breaking the fast meal (iftar) during Ramadhan

Suggestion

  • ‘Lent service’ at start of fasting period in Ramadhan, Muslims open to attend weddings, baptisms

While we should be careful not to cause offence, e.g. dress code, hugging between genders, treating the Bible with ‘disrespect’, we should also remain authentic, e.g. sing, read Bible, keep mixed gender seating

  • We have something to offer in our worship that speaks to the heart
  • Multi-language scripts/Bibles helpful and someone to sit with visitors to explain activities – when to sit, stand, pray etc.
  • Several testimonies of Muslims who were affected by promises of baptism, songs, hospitality
  • Teaching is important, but it’s the Love that draws them in

See also a helpful topic on The City about Muslim-friendly guest services [requires login]

How to reach young people?

Image: Brooke Cagle,  Unsplash

Image: Brooke Cagle, Unsplash

How to reach young people?

A topic from the World Cafe session of the National Gathering 2017.

  • Trust is precarious - be careful not to go outside of parents’ authority
  • Chance for young Muslims to get to know Christians first-hand rather than misconceptions taught
  • Children provide natural connection to build relationship

Examples:

  • Informal sports, e.g. football/cricket in park; Tae Kwon Do
  • Parenting and Play groups opportunity for parents and children to socialise
  • Some activities that have helped: Youth clubs, Messy Church (mind gender arrangements)
  • Opportunity to share Bible Stories, e.g. school assemblies (Open the Book), Christmas and Easter events in community

Qur'an: friend or foe?

Image: metropolislights,  Flickr

Image: metropolislights, Flickr

Qur'an: friend or foe?

A topic from the World Cafe session of the National Gathering 2017.

Foe:

  • Muslims believe Bible has been corrupted
  • Our interpretations may be misused/turned against us
  • If we start using Qur'an to quote anything of God, it may damage Christians
  • We may not have enough knowledge of the Qur'an to engage fruitfully

Friend:

  • Muslims not encouraged to ask questions in their own tradition, appreciate the opportunity to discuss and learn
  • Gives us chance to explain meaning and challenge preconceptions of corruption
  • Opportunity for Muslims to learn about meaning of Qur'an and contradictions between it and traditions
  • There is more about Jesus than Muhammad in Qur'an
  • Chance to let the Bible tell its own story

 

How to engage church leaders in reaching Muslims

Image: Mathias Jensen,  Unsplash

Image: Mathias Jensen, Unsplash

How to engage church leaders in reaching Muslims

A topic from the World Cafe session of the National Gathering 2017.

  • General comment that this was ‘difficult to do’
  • Reason put down to the busyness of church leaders
  • Not perceived as an issue for their particular congregations

Suggestions

  • Meet with local Imams; leaders often carry more weight in eyes of community
  • Help to promote social cohesion, e.g. Refugee/Syrian resettlement programme
  • Arrange events to which Muslims can be invited
  • Pastor to pastor is more effective. Help leaders who are on board to be ambassadors with peers
  • See where God is working in your locality, and show how we may join Him
  • Don’t ask them to do anything/take on more. Discuss initiatives but offer to do them/coordinate them yourself
  • Draw on, and promote, the power of prayer