Attended an Event about Pentecost at City URC Church – arranged by Inter faith Council – there were several Christian, Hindu and Muslim members present. It was an informative and interesting meeting led by Rev Sally Thomas (URC) and Sam Pritchard (Evangelical Alliance).
Attended an Event at the Dar ul-Isra Mosque– arranged by the Anglican Third Order of the Society of St Francis – to mark the 800th anniversary of the meeting between St Francis of Assisi and Sultan Malik al-Kamil near Damietta during the Fifth Crusade. The purpose of the event was to advance Interfaith dialogue in Wales. There was meal and dramatic presentation in this two hour meeting with a good representation of Anglican, Roman Catholic and Free Church members as well as the hosting Muslim friends.
Attended a full day Stakeholder event arranged by Welsh Government on “Increasing Diversity and Inclusion in Public Appointment in Wales”. It was hoped to develop a vision for diversity; to develop ideas for actions and to provide a learning experience. Clearly the system needs substantial reforming to bring it to the 21st century. It proved a very interactive day with a multitude of practical ideas for the Welsh Government to consider.
Attended a three hour celebration of the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi arranged at the Wales Millennium Centre by the Hindu Council of Wales. This day has been designated as the “International Day for non Violence” by the UN in recognition of Gandhi vision. Representatives from across Governmental, Civic and Religious organisations enjoyed a variety of spoken and visual presentations with the emphasis on peace and non violence. The culmination was a procession from the Centre to the Gandhi statue which was unveiled two years ago.
Once again it was an honour to enjoy an interfaith dinner organised by the Muslim Council of Wales to mark and celebrate 20 years of devolution. It was held at City Hall and an exhilarating address was given by Baroness Warsi who also praised the way in which faith communities in Wales had been come together. The First Minister (Mark Drakeford); Deputy First Minister (Jane Hutt) and Deputy Secretary of Muslim Council for Wales (Dr Abdul-Azim Ahmed) also gave extremely timely talks. The whole event, as usual, was underpinned by particularly tasty food.
Meeting with Gethin Rhys and Vaughan Salisbury to discuss our response to the “Consultation on Religious Education and Relationship and Sexuality education.”
Meeting with Gethin Rhys and Church in Wales and Catholic Church education officers in Wales to discuss the “Consultation on Religious Education and Relationship and Sexuality education.”
Attended the Bicentenary celebration of the Birth of the Báb. A presentation was given about the significance of this Being who was Herald to the coming of the Bahá’u‘lláh (Founder of the Bahái’i Faith) followed by refreshments. A very interesting meeting with a significant number of young people present as they respond positively to the religion’s emphasis on practical action.
Was privileged to attend a dinner at the Cornerstone Centre with the World Council of Churches Inter-Faith Officers Network where interreligious experts from across the world came to Wales for the ‘Towards Fostering Dialogue Ecumenically’ Conference which met in Cardiff, hosted by CYTUN, between October 31 and November 3. I had most interesting conversations with delegates from Malaysia, India, Greece, Sweden and Hungary.
This was a memorable night organised by the Inter Faith Council for Wales to celebrate Inter Faith Week. The pilgrimage to Rhiwbina places of worship was broadcast on ITV Wales and finished in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where there were short presentations from the various religions; a word of thanks from Jane Hutt (Deputy Minister) for all the Council’s work to promote shared community understanding followed by presentations from the Interfaith Council choir to harmonise everything. Over a hundred were marching and more than that in the church hall where the evening concluded with a tasty buffet.
Attended a meeting of the Faith Communities Forum under the chairmanship of the Deputy Minister but attended also by the First Minister and the Education Minister. One of the key issues was the new curriculum and the consultation on ensuring access to the full curriculum and changing the name of religious education. There were contributions from almost everyone on this issue and it was interesting to see the agreement between the various faiths. A second issue was the Children (abolition of reasonable chastisement) Bill. There was an extremely effective presentation which included a video setting out the situation clearly: https://gov.wales/abolishing-defence-reasonable-punishment-children-overview
A further issue was a presentation on the objectives of the Strategic Equality Plan. It was emphasised that the Welsh government wants to ensure communities are respectful and equality embedded. The strategic equality objectives must be updated by March 2020, to be used over the next 4 years. Another issue, briefly considered, was the membership and structure of the forum. Government officials will be arranging a workshop in the New Year to consider this.
Meeting of our Council. Again there was a good attendance for a day with a full agenda. A timely Devotion prepared by Nerys Siddall was presented and the Revs Brian Matthews (PCW) and Simon Walkling (URC) were welcomed to their first meeting. It was noted that: there will be a meeting in January to discuss the Community Ministry document (POG); that the discussion about theological training is ongoing (WBW); it was agreed to write to National Eisteddfod officials to express our view that the Eisteddfod’s Morning Service should be held annually in the pavilion; the initial list prepared by Aled Davies of Christian workers visiting schools was noted.
Most of the morning was devoted to discussing two issues relating to the Welsh Government in the presence of Jon Luxton (Re Cognition) consultant to the government. The first issue was the proposed change to the law relating to the punishment of children and an explanation and open discussion was provided on the issue. Vaughan Salisbury had prepared and distributed a “Response” to the proposal to change the name of religious education. Vaughan’s work was greatly appreciated and there was a thorough discussion of the “response” and it was accepted with no opposition to be sent to the Welsh Government. (The document together with the education report by Vaughan can be found on the Web site).
There was a short ceremony to launch the Rev Denzil John‘s new book, Gair Duw ar Waith
(God’s Word in Action), the first copy of which was presented to him by the President.
In the picture l-r Helen Jones (FCCW Secretary) Denzil John; Rheinallt Thomas; Judith Morris (General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Wales)
Rev. Carolyn Castle, lead chaplain, CWM Taf NHS Trust was welcomed and there was a useful discussion following her presentation. Gethin Rhys was requested to follow some elements to assist the FCCW in the future.
The regular Gethin Rhys reports on behalf of CYTUN had been circulated in advance (the September Policy Bulletin and Policy and Election Bulletin 2019) – their content was appreciated and Gethin was thanked for all his detailed work. Similarly the President’s Report, which had been circulated in advance, was noted. The Treasurer’s report was received and new scales of payments to the denominations were agreed for 2020.
It was announced that Simon Walkling, the moderator of the Welsh National Synod of the United Reformed Church will be inducted as president of FCCW in May as my successor. I referred to the fact that Simon Walkling has been moderator of the national Synod of Wales for 7 years. Simon lives in Pontypridd.
His background means that he has been involved with all the nonconformist denominations for years. This will be the first time that the president of FCCW has been a non Welsh speaker although he is learning to speak Welsh. His nomination was confirmed by the Council.
A full copy of the minutes can be found on the website or by email from Mrs Helen Jones, Secretary (email@example.com). The next meeting is on Monday May 11th at Baptist College, Cardiff.
Attended the Wales Inter Faith Council meeting held at the Cyncoed United Synagogue. The meeting was described as being filled with Great warmth and fellowship and asseen in the picture there was a smile on the faces of the members.
This was an AGM and elected Chair was Katie Mccolgan (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and as Vice Chair was Surinder Channa (Sikh Community) . Four new groups were accepted as members and a draft constitution was considered. Jon Luxton was present here again to lead considerations on the consultations already referred to above at the FCCW meeting. Here again there was a lot of unanimity of opinion between the different faiths represented.
Attended a Cross Party Group on Faith meeting in the Senedd. The guest speaker was Dr Andrew Williams of Cardiff University who shared the results of their research on “Faith in Recovery?”. Service users experiences of religious and spiritual approaches to alcohol treatment “. There was an interesting and comprehensive presentation of the research which had been commissioned by Alcohol Change as so little was known about the contribution of faith communities in the field of treatment and the recovery from alcoholism. There are 135 faith based alcohol treatment service providers representing over 300 groups/projects/initiatives/courses in England and Wales. The report proposes five recommendations: there is a need for: Transparency; Monitoring and regulation; Ethics, care and theology; Diverse and culturally appropriate services; Pathways to treatment and recovery. These issues are developed and the full report and/or executive summary can be obtained following the link below:
A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL
Rheinallt A Thomas
E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org