Guide to Interfaith Dialogue
1. Seek ways to enter into dialogue with neighbours of different faiths.
Keep an eye out in your community for things like festivals, fetes and open days - they’re a great way to connect.
2. Plan dialogue together.
Decide what the focus of the dialogue will be. A common cause or shared local issue is a good starting point to learn about each other’s faiths or simply getting to know one another.
3. Be mindful of the religious, cultural and ideological diversity in your community.
Be aware of areas of tension and discrimination in your community. Are Muslim women who decide to wear the hijab or burqa treated differently? What about Sikhs who wear dastaars?
4. Allow participants to describe and witness to their own faith in their own terms.
Share openly and honestly about your faith and expect others to do the same. Listen carefully and respectfully to each other.
5. Seek to generate educational efforts in your own faith community about other faiths.
Share the insights of your interfaith dialogue with others in your community. Education is an important step in overcoming distorted images and false assumptions.
6. Share about your lives together.
Interfaith relationships are grounded in the sharing of our daily lives. Begin by asking a neighbour of another faith to explain the meaning of a custom or festival.
7. Look for common activities or pursuits based on a shared concern for humanity.
Different faiths often share the same yearning for a just community. Climate change, refugee policy, youth wellbeing and community welfare are some possible examples.
8. Be aware of the cultural influences we bring to dialogue.
When we meet each other, we bring with us our cultural conditioning and historical memory. Consider these influences on the dialogue process.
9. Be open to sharing in each other’s celebrations, rituals, worship and meditation.
These are excellent opportunities to build mutual understanding and respect.
These guidelines are adapted from the World Council of Churches’ Guidelines on Dialogue with Living Faiths and Ideologies. Read the full statement and guidelines at: http://ow.ly/QNlt8