First meeting of new regional Inter Faith network takes place in Ireland
The inaugural meeting of the Network of Inter Faith European and North American Concerns (NIFENAC) took place on Monday (10 September 2018) in Ireland. The meeting was chaired by the Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson.
The meeting was hosted by the Director of the Church of Ireland Centre of Dublin City University (DCU), the Revd Prof Anne Lodge, in conjunction with Prof Ethna Regan, School of Theology, Philosophy and Music at the university. This initial gathering engaged people from the Church of Ireland, Church of England and Church in Wales with members of DCU staff and members of the Dublin City Interfaith Forum to share experiences of inter–faith dialogue and plans for development. Also present were participants from Lambeth Palace, the Anglican Communion Office and the Diocese of Europe.
NIFENAC is one of five regional groups which, while operating independently, will feed into the work of the Anglican Inter Faith Commission which was launched at the Primates Meeting in Canterbury in October 2017. The Commission’s remit is to bring mutual understanding and to build trust between different faith groups where there is ignorance, fear and hostility.
The Commission will build on the work done in recent years by NIFCON (the Network for Inter Faith Concerns) which latterly was chaired by Archbishop Jackson. Through the five groups which cover the areas of Africa, Oceania, Europe and the Americas, South East Asia and Jerusalem and the Middle East, the Commission will gather research into the engagement of Anglicans around the world with other faiths.
The meeting opened with greetings from the chairperson of the Commission, Bishop Mouneer Anis, the Bishop of Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa, and Dr Josiah Idowu–Fearon, Secretary General of Anglican Communion. These were delivered by Bishop Michael Ipgrave of the Church of England who is a member of the Commission.
Bishop Ipgrave stressed the importance of the regional groups stating that it was not possible to have a global conversation without having local conversations. NIFENAC will seek to engage with Anglicans in North America and Latin America to gather information on their contexts, he said.
Dr Clare Amos (Diocese of Europe) led an illuminating Bible study on ‘The Other’ based on St Mark 4: 1–41. A further reflection was offered by Dr Peter Admirand of the Centre for Interreligious Dialogue at DCU.
Participants agreed to share their local ecumenically–based Inter Faith Networks; reflect on communications from the Commission; and develop Bible studies on New Testament passages suitable for use in an inter–faith context. They expect to continue to meet annually.
NIFENAC comprises Anglicans and others who share a concern for interfaith issues in their region. Those attending Monday’s inaugural meeting included:
Archbishop Michael Jackson (Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin); Bishop Michael Ipgrave (Church of England); Adrian Cristae (Dublin City Interfaith Forum); Dr Peter Admirand (Centre for Interreligious Dialogue, DCU); Kat Brealey (Church of England); the Revd Tricia Hillas (Church of England); the Revd Richard Sudworth (Church of England); Katie Hodkinson (Lambeth Palace); Dr Ethna Reagan (School of Theology, Philosophy and Music, DCU); Swami Purnananda Puri (Dublin City Interfaith Forum); the Revd Dr John Kafwanka (Anglican Commission Office); the Revd Dr Ainsley Griffiths (Church in Wales); the Revd Prof Anne Lodge (Church of Ireland Centre, DCU); the Revd Flora Winfield (Church of England); the Revd Bonnie Hills–Evans (Church of England); the Revd Susanne Cousins (Church of Ireland); the Revd Aled Edwards (Church in Wales); Clare Amos (Diocese of Europe); Philip McKinley (DCU Anglican Chaplain); Iman Arslaan Khan (Dublin City Interfaith Forum); and the Revd Myozan Kodo (Dublin City Interfaith Forum).