The advocacy and promotion of inter-faith dialogue continues to be a most rewarding brief. In 2017 there proved once again to be ample opportunity to represent the diocese at various gatherings principally centred in and around the Cardiff area.
Attendance at these events serves as a constant reminder that our perceived world of fixed and exclusive religious or territorial boundaries is undergoing change. Cradle Catholics enthusiastically helping out at a recent opening ceremony of a Buddhist Centre in Cowbridge Road is one example of what has been observed at first hand.
Nearer to home in 2017, the diocese has witnessed two events of some significance although totally different in scale and reach. In July, the second International Inter-Faith Symposium took place at Trinity St. David, Lampeter, which looked ahead to future challenges for those in academia charged with teaching our youth. There is every indication that much more will come from these developments at Lampeter and that its longestablished tradition of reaching out across historic faith boundaries is continuing in a most inspiring fashion.
Then at the other end of the scale, the small rural church in Bletherston played its part by hosting an exhibition during Inter-Faith Week in November – possibly the first of its kind in the diocese. The report of the event in Pobl Dewi concluded by asking what might be possible elsewhere in the diocese? At the time of writing (May) it is very encouraging to note that two significant centres of population – Aberystwyth and Llanelli – are indicating a desire to mark Inter-Faith Week later this year in some appropriate way.
I have two objectives next year as Inter-Faith Officer: to remain alert to and in contact with trends and initiatives across the spectrum of inter-faith activity within Wales and beyond; and to translate this activity into support and encouragement for local initiatives.
Revd Derek Davies, Interfaith Officer