Religious Faith in a Modern Vibrant City

Article excerpt

Byline: ARCHBISHOP NICHOLS

Two important events are taking place in the Council House these days, both hosted by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham. They tell an interesting story.

Firstly, yesterday he launched a new publication: Exploring the Faithful City. This book tells the story of the work of the faith leaders of Birmingham. It's a fascinating tale, starting back in September 2001 when the late Rabbi Tann went across the city to Dr Mohammed Naseem at the Central Birmingham Mosque to express solidarity in the backlash of attacks on the World Trade Centre. From that gesture of support has been born a network of firm relationships between the faith leaders.

One fruit of this is a project to explore the contribution the faiths can make to the wellbeing of Birmingham. With the full support of Birmingham University, it brings together academic study into the tradition and teaching of each major faith, as well as direct engagement with citizens, leaders of commerce and other aspects of city life.

Perhaps it is not surprising that one of the overall benefits brought by religious faith is a willingness to serve others in way that goes well beyond self-interest. This is an important contribution to the life of every city.

The second event being hosted by the Lord Mayor takes place in the Council House on Monday. It is the launch of the newly established Birmingham Agreed RE Syllabus. The fruit of hard work by members of the council, the teaching profession and religious communities, it will give shape to religious education in the city's state schools. …