Autumn’s coming!

For some, August is a chance to get a bit of work done without a cascade of emails and phone calls, for others it’s a well-earned rest and an opportunity to spend time with family and friends.

Either way, London springs back to life soon!  Check your online calendar or paper diary now and don’t miss out . . .

DCLGlogoFriday 21 August (deadline) Senior Policy Advisor – leading on Muslim community engagement at Department for Communities and Local GovernmentThe Faith Engagement team is seeking an individual to fulfil the role of Senior Policy Adviser, leading on Muslim community engagement, helping to lead the faith team and, in particular, to help diversify and strengthen Government engagement with Muslim communities across a range of issues.  More information here.

UtopiaUntil Sunday 23 August  Utopia at the Roundhouse, Camden Lock.  Life stories from ordinary and extraordinary Londoners from many backgrounds brought together in an installation by film maker Penny Woolcock and Block9 (Glastonbury), with video & evening performances.

easternfaithsrWednesday 26 August 6.30pm – 9pm at London Central Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre.  Eastern Faiths Scriptural Reasoning “seeking to engage the Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Assyrian and Buddhist communities so that we may know one another without ignorance.”  Scriptural Reasoning is where people from different faiths gather to read and reflect on short passages from their scriptures. Scriptural reasoning is not about seeking agreement, proselytising or ‘being right’ but rather increasing understanding about one another’s traditions and exploring the texts and their possible interpretations across faith boundaries. The result of this is often a much deeper understanding of ones’ own and others’ scriptures.  Booking essential, contact Jayde at London Central Mosque.

LePolicierAmoureux_1905x800-1200x504-350x200Thursday 3 September to Saturday 3 October Our friends at International Alert are holding their annual Talking Peace Festival.  This year’s line up includes ‘Peace in our cities’, looking at how urban conflicts erupt and what can be done to reduce potential flashpoints, ‘Peace from the street up!’ art show, Conflict Cafés (Middle East, Nepal), Peace Tracks, ‘Can an app stop a bullet?’ and much more, marking the UN International Day of Peace on 21 September.  Details at

london-interfaith-centre-logoMondays in September (dates tbc)  Christian response to religious plurality past and present, and how other faiths deal with the issues of religious plurality.

A new module starts at the London Interfaith Centre, part of their programme on “Living Together in a Multi Faith World”. More information here.  Contact Laurence Hillel for details.

slide-1Saturday 5 September Tour de Salah 2015 sponsored cycle ride, stopping off at London’s iconic Islamic centres for prayer, across London in support of humanitarian charities Human Appeal, Islamic Relief and Penny Appeal.  Register here.

ftil logoSaturday 5 September 10.30am – 4pm  Lambeth Inter Faith Walk 2015  A two mile walk through Streatham, visiting 6 places of worship starting at the Shree Swaminarayan Hindu Temple. Download the map and directions here.  Some walkers will be sponsored, raising funds for Faiths Together in Lambeth.

ehrcWednesday 9 September 5pm – 7pm at the University of Chester: the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Work on Religion or Belief, organised by the Forum for Research into Equality and Diversity, the seminar will be led by Dr David Perfect (who has spoken at our European events) and will explore the EHRC’s policy, research and legal work on research or belief.  Further details and registration here or contact Chantal Davies at

Future of Faith 12 SeptemberSaturday 12 September 10am – 4.30pm.  Speakers and discussion on The Future of Faith in the UK – Evaluating Faith in a Secular Society with the Christian Muslim Forum, London Interfaith Centre and the Islamic Centre of England at St Anne’s and St Andrew’s Church, 125 Salusbury Road, London NW6 6RG (morning) and at the Islamic Centre of England, 140 Maida Vale, London W9 1QB (afternoon).  Contributors include Shaykh Dr Mohammed Ali Shomali, Bishop Paul Hendricks, Aliya Azam MBE, Dr Chris Hewer and Revd Maggie Hindley.  More information and registration here.

Monday 14 – Wednesday 16 September 9.30am – 4.30pm  Understanding Islam Course with Dr Chris Hewer in Kingston.  The course is designed for a small group of Christians who would like to learn more about Islam. Tuition is free but donations are welcome to cover costs. The course will take place in a private home. “Both Christians and Muslims have ‘wonderful ideals and awful realities’. We need to see the difference. Then we need to make sure that we compare like with like, ideals with ideals and realities with realities, and take care not to compare ‘my ideals’ with ‘your realities’.”  There is a further three day course on 13 – 15 November. Tea/coffee provided; bring your own lunch. Booking and commitment essential. More info from Diana Mills.

Tuesday 15 September  4pm – 5pm Westminster Cathedral Interfaith Group at the Hinsley Room, Morpeth Terrace, close to Westminster Cathedral. The speaker will be Karanodakasayi Visnu Dasa Adhikari (Man Mohan Gupta) who will be talking on Vedic culture and civilisation. More info from John Woodhouse.

L_Strap_webThursday 17 September 9.30am – 8pm at The Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AR. The Impact of Diasporas.  The University of Oxford and the University of Leicester.  The event is the culmination and conclusion of two innovative, multidisciplinary five-year research programmes.  “Diasporas are not a modern phenomenon. Ever since the last Ice Age people have moved into the British Isles from the European continent. Our research focuses primarily on the cultural, linguistic, and genetic interactions between peoples known to history as ‘Celts’, ‘Britons’, ‘Anglo-Saxons’, and ‘Vikings’.”  More info here.

OHLW-2015-Web-Banner3178Saturday 19 – Sunday 20 September All day. Open House London.  Fifty-nine places of worship across the boroughs and many government and public sector buildings are open (free of charge) to the public during this annual architectural festival.

This year Open House includes BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, the Buddhapadipa Temple, the Zoroastrian Centre For Europe, Friends Meeting House, Golders Green Unitarians, Lambeth Palace, Sukkat Shalom Reform Synagogue and The Queen’s Chapel (St James’s Palace).  More info here.

4cain-webMonday 21 September 7pm and four more Monday evenings. The Curse and the Promise: Religion and Violence St Martin-in-the-Fields (Trafalgar Square) Church Lecture Series reflects on both how faith can become the cause and perpetrator of conflict and persecution, and also the victim.

Monday 21 September Revd Dr Sam Wells, Monday 5 October Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, Monday 19 October Revd Giles Fraser, Monday 2 November Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad, Monday 16 November Karen Armstrong. Download flyer.  More info here.

New_Scotland_Yard_sign_3Thursday 8 October LBFN’s training event at New Scotland Yard on cooperation on safety and security for local places of worship, with Ecclesiastical Insurance, Tell Mama, the Community Security Trust, London Resilience and the Metropolitan Police.  The training will include checklists and guidelines.  Our previous session was very popular, so early booking is recommended. Priority is being given to churches, temples, Islamic centres, gurdwaras and synagogues which book in pairs or groups. Contact LFBN’s convener for further details and booking.

Thursday 15, 22 October and 5 November  Community Reconciliation – working creatively with division at St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace.  A series Modern artof practical workshops to assist participants to develop strategies for bringing divided communities together. £150 for the three days and the workbook.  More info here.

Sunday 15 November to Saturday 21 November Inter Faith Week 2015 – visit the website here to add details of your local activities this year.  Download the flyer here.

Symposium-2-300x200Londoners may be interested in an initiative by the Anglican Bishop of Birmingham, enabling difficult conversations around lived faith in Birmingham post ‘Trojan Horse’. A series of conversations over six months explored the theme ‘What does Lived Faith look like in a 21st Century City?’  A group of 24 people from different faiths met once a month for three hours each time to talk through the way faith is lived in Birmingham. The group consisted of Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Ravidassi and Sikhs.  The topics were wide ranging and included issues such as evangelism and conversion, gender issues, young people and education, caste legislation, race and global conflicts. The aim was not, necessarily, to reach consensus but to find a way to talk constructively about these topics.  “By ‘lived faith’ we are looking to move beyond a purely intellectual understanding of religion to see faith as something that not only affects the way each individual member of a religion lives out their faith, but also the way in which that living inevitably interacts with those who live around them.” Read more about the Birmingham Conversations here.

3FF is developing a Festival programme, What Women Believe, that will premiere in Winter 2015. At its heart an exhibition of portraits and histories will celebrate the contributions of amazing women from the diverse communities of Camden “Do you know an inspirational woman in Camden?  Nominate a woman who is older than you and tell us about her in 150 words. Email your nomination to Stories will be shared in our online gallery, and a selection will be featured in a book and exhibition to celebrate Camden women.”

2094353690_a5e474dc5dThe Berakah Project is starting a multi faith youth ensemble in west London – the first of its kind in the world. The ensemble will be led by the founder of The Berakah Project, Mohammed Nazam, a professional musician and music educator with over 25 years touring experience with bands, writing music and working with young people in a range of contexts.  “We’re looking for young people from all faith backgrounds to take part and we are searching for the very best young musicians to take part in this ground breaking and vitally needed project.  Whether you play guitar, drums, percussion, sing, saxophone or keyboards – get in touch at:”

IFN newsRead the latest Inter Faith Network for the UK bulletin here.  The well known Shap Calendar of Religious Festivals (for 2016) is now available on IFN’s website here.  Shap continues its printed format.

p01lcgjhBBC Radio 4 Sunday Programme in East LondonListen to this edition of the programme, recorded in East London on 26 July.  It includes bee hives at East London Mosque, the Near Neighbours Programme, Ed Kessler from the Woolf Institute and Imam Yunus Dudhwala, head of Chaplaincy Services at Barts NHS Trust (who spoke at LBFN’s Multifaith Spaces event) on organ transplants.

Multifaith snooze

multifaith roomOne of last week’s Alex cartoons in the Daily Telegraph, kindly sent to LBFN.

We’ll be following up our November gathering at St Ethelburga’s with an event which will bring together the theoretical and practical aspects of multifaith spaces.  Let us know if you’d like to contribute.

Multifaith spaces | 6 Nov 3.30pm

Multifaith Spaces 6 NovDo you ever use a prayer room or a quiet space?  Are you responsible for running one?

Join us for our next gathering on Wednesday 6 November at 3.30pm!

A big thank you to St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace for welcoming us to The Tent at 78 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AG.

Please pass this invitation and flyer to your networks and friends, especially chaplains and others who work in hospitals, FE colleges, universities, prisons, airports, offices and shopping centres.

We are delighted to welcome Revd Dr Terry Biddington from the University of Manchester who will be presenting his newly published paper, and we’ll be hearing brief responses from AbdoolKarim Vakil (King’s College, London) and from three regulars at LBFN gatherings: Siriol Davies (Diocese of Southwark), Rosalind Parker (researcher & practitioner in interfaith & the arts) and Steve Miller (Director of the Faith-based Regeneration Network).

How do these spaces open up new ways of thinking?  How do they affect the lives of local people – whether they are patients, students, staff, offenders, travellers, worshippers, shoppers or office workers?   Do multifaith spaces simply ‘house difference’ or do they bring people together (or alienate them)?  How do local churches, mosques, temples, gurdwaras and synagogues work in partnership with those responsible for multifaith spaces?  What do they say about how people from different traditions share London’s places and spaces?  How do they relate to the role of religion & belief in the public square?  What is the intention – and what actually happens in practice?  Does their presence have knock-on effects within our communities?

The Tent is a good place to have a wide-ranging conversation and it is mentioned in Terry’s paper.  If you have never visited St Ethelburga’s, this is a good opportunity.  Space is very comfortable but limited, so please let us know by November 5 if you’re planning to attend.

Simon Keyes, the Director of St Ethelburga’s, is hoping to join us for the discussion if his journey back to London on the 6th goes according to plan.


Friday Saturday Sunday

Featured in the Multi Faith Space exhibition LBFN hosted last year, and also exhibited at last year’s 3FF Urban Dialogues arts festival, the Friday Saturday Sunday project is moving ahead.

The three architects, Matthew Lloyd, Shahed Saleem and Daniel Leon, belong to different religious traditions and have drawn up plans for an exciting new building.

This is their film on a collaborative design for a single space that is a mosque on Fridays, a synagogue on Saturdays and a church on Sundays. From Monday to Thursday the building becomes a place for inter-faith interaction.

The building, even the idea of it, throws up all sorts of interesting ideas – practical, societal and theological – about how we live well together in London while remaining different.

LBFN’s event on 6th November (venue tbc) will be looking at some of them with Terry Biddington of the University of Manchester who has written a fascinating paper.

The following week, on Monday 11 November 7-8.30pm, the three architects are meeting at King’s College London (Strand campus) to talk through possible next steps.  Download the invitation here and reply to Rosie Parker (who is part of ENORB and also curating the Women’s Interfaith Network’s art exhibition) if you’d like to attend.

A theological reading of Multi Faith Spaces 6 November 4.30

MFS arriving

It’s a year since LBFN hosted Manchester University’s Multi Faith Spaces exhibition.

We promised a follow up event for practitioners, academics and policy makers to pursue the intricate, practical and theological challenges that were aired during our seminar discussions.

  • Do these spaces simply ‘house difference’ or do they bring people together (or alienate them)?
  • What do they say about how people from different traditions share London’s places and spaces?
  • How do they relate to the role of religion in the public square?
  • What is the intention – and what actually happens in practice?
  • Does their presence have knock-on effects within our communities?

I am delighted that Dr Terry Biddington (part of the Manchester team) has kindly agreed to talk to us about his new paper, Towards a Theological Reading of Multifaith Spaces, which asks

“how multifaith spaces relate to the heterotopias, non-spaces and Thirdspaces of some social theorists; what the theological issues around multifaith spaces are for those religious believers who use them; what theological approaches and language might begin to name and explore the potential of multifaith spaces for new shared understandings of human identity; and how multifaith spaces relate to notions of God.”

I’ve had a sneak preview (the paper will be published later this year) and it’s exciting stuff.

It also relates to the developing ideas around the Friday-Saturday-Sunday architectural proposal, intentional sharing and ‘visiting’ of religious places and how religious and non-religious people share place and negotiate identity.  The paper focuses mainly on Abrahamic traditions, but our discussion will be broader.

We’ve agreed Wednesday 6 November at 4.30pm for this event and I am looking for a suitable multifaith space in central London as a venue.  Please contact me if you know of something suitable.

There will be a couple of respondents to Terry’s paper, followed by discussion and something to eat.  We should be finished by about 6.30pm.

People involved in hospital chaplaincy, FE colleges, prisons, workplace MFS, universities, airports (& other shopping centres) are very welcome – please pass this invitation on to those whom you know.

Save the date and register your interest with LBFN if you’d like to join us in November.


Here’s something for those who enjoyed our Multi Faith Spaces event in July.

Three architects (Christian, Jewish, Muslim) who designed a beautiful and practical space to be used separately by the three religious communities – and open to the public at other times – have made a short film.  It is currently showing at Three Faiths Forum’s Urban Dialogues show (closes 1st December).

Could a temporary version be part of a festival, they ask – GreenbeltLimmud?


Multifaith spaces in London hospitals, prisons, airports, colleges & universities

Helen Sanderson of Quiet Room Designs, Rabbi Markus Lange of Marie Curie Hospice, Hampstead and Imam Yunus Dudhwala, Head of Chaplaincy at Barts Health NHS Trust.

The latest newsletter from Manchester University’s Architecture Research Centre is published today.

It includes a short account of the Multi Faith Spaces Exhibition’s visit to London, hosted by LBFN at St Alphege, Southwark.

The seminars organised alongside the exhibition were well attended and very worthwhile, bringing practitioners together from across the capital.  Detailed discussion on the intricacies of design and management were made possible by the tight focus on shared space.

LBFN will be holding a follow-up event for practitioners in 2013.  Let us know what you would like included – workshop topics, speakers, practical sessions, theological bases?

The Multi Faith Spaces project welcomes further input, evidence, ideas and suggestions for the research which finishes later this year.  Email Dr Chris Hewson, who spoke at the opening event.

Download the newsletter here.

Multi Faith Spaces Exhibition – opening event 10th July

The exhibition, showing the research findings on multifaith spaces from the universities of Liverpool and Manchester, sparked debate among those involved in running or planning these spaces.  The exhibition was packed on Tuesday with practitioners from across London.  (Photo: Phoebe Robertson)

The Revd Dr Howard Worsley (London South Bank University), Helen Sanderson (Quiet Room Designs), Catriona Robertson (Convener, London Boroughs Faiths Network), Yunus Dudhwala (Head of Chaplaincy & Bereavement Services, Barts Health NHS Trust), Dr Chris Hewson (Manchester University) – the five speakers at the opening event on Tuesday. (Photo: Phoebe Robertson)

It has been worthwhile for people closely involved with multifaith spaces to meet up and to share expertise and experience.  Alan Dixon (Salvation Army), Barbara Stanley-Hunt (Barking and Dagenham Faith Forum),  Revd John Sakutombo (St Thomas’s Hospital), Yunus Dudhwala (Barts Health NHS Trust), Faruq Siddiqi (Royal London & Barts Hospitals), Rabbi Markus Lange (Marie Curie Hospice, Hampstead). (Photo: Phoebe Robertson)

Bethan Williams (University of the Arts), Prof Harbhajan Singh (Bexley Multi Faith Forum) & Bryan Lovell during the Q & A session at the opening event. (Photo: Phoebe Robertson)

Dr Chris Hewson (University of Manchester), Warwick Hawkins (Department of Communities and Local Government) and Jan McHarry (Buddhist Representative, Faith-based Regeneration Network). (Photo:Phoebe Robertson)

The exhibition’s last day is Friday 13th July, 11am – 4pm, with a workshop on multifaith spaces at airports and commercial spaces at 2.30-4pm.  Details can be found on the flyer.

Multi-faith spaces exhibition arrives in London

The University of Manchester’s exhibition has arrived in London!  Tuesday’s opening event will be packed – the guest list is extensive and includes people from faith forums across London as well as professionals from the NHS, universities, prisons, DCLG, local councils – and designers of prayer rooms and quiet rooms.  We will be meeting a wide range of practitioners.  If you haven’t let me know you are joining us, please do so asap.

The exhibition arrived on Sunday after showing at three venues in Cambridge.
Thank you Peter Hayler (R – of Great St Mary’s Cambridge) & Gabriel Moore (L) for getting it all set up :)

The researchers at the Universities of Manchester and Liverpool are interested to hear our views and responses.  The workshops and opening event will be recorded, but contributions to the workshops (see below) will not be attributed without permission.

Dr Chris Hewson (Manchester University) will be speaking at the opening event on Tuesday 10th July at 12.30pm – and participating in the workshop at 2.30pm that day.

Monday prisons, police stations, secure mental health units; Tuesday Higher & Further Education; Wednesday NHS settings; Friday airports and shopping centres.  Please book in advance.

Download the flyer here and pass it on to people who may be interested – the exhibition and workshops are free of charge, but only with us for one week.

Multi Faith Spaces – symptoms & agents of religious & social change: opening & workshops

Thanks to everyone who has replied saying they are coming to the opening event on Tuesday 10th July at 12.30pm.  See the list of workshops below.

This is the Exhibition’s first London visit and there is a lot of interest in Multi Faith Spaces – Symptoms and Agents of Religious and Social Change.  Light refreshments will be served – let us know any dietary preferences when you register.

Download the poster here and pass it on to people in your borough who run/use/are planning prayer rooms, quiet rooms and Multi Faith Spaces.

We’re all looking forward to excellent contributions and a good discussion on what Multi Faith Spaces are for, how they work, the joys and challenges of running them/using them and what the future holds.

The exhibition is open on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 11am to 4pm.

Workshops  (please register in advance)

  • Monday 9th July 2.30-4pm: Prison, police & secure mental health services
  • Tuesday 10th July 2.30-4pm: Higher and Further Education
  • Wednesday 11th July 2.30-4pm: Hospitals & NHS
  • Friday 13th July 2.30- 4pm: Shopping, leisure, airports

The workshops will include a viewing of the exhibition – both are at St Alphege, Kings Bench Street, London SE1 0QZ.  Lunchtime refreshments will be served at the opening event; tea and cake at the workshops.

Register your name for the opening event and for the workshops here.