Anglican bishops at the Lambeth conference affirmed the importance of interfaith dialogue
‘Making space in our hearts for one another’
Here are some of the bishops’ reflections:
We recognise that we live today in a world where many faiths live side by side. We encounter each other on a daily basis and as neighbours are drawn into dialogue together.
Such dialogue, in truth, arises from our love and concern for all humanity, who like us are created in the image and likeness of God. (85)
The good news we share is of a God who loves all, who invites them into the fellowship of his Spirit and the grace-filled embrace of his Son Jesus Christ. In our relations with those of other faiths we are committed to honour other people’s humanity, to serve them and to show them Christ. Our meeting together with those of other faiths is often spoken of as dialogue. Dialogue comes from the Greek and means literally through word(s), and for Christians the Greek word logos is also the word used in John’s Gospel for Jesus, the Word of God.
The purpose of dialogue is not compromise, but growth in trust and understanding of each other’s faith and traditions. Effective and meaningful dia logue will only take place where there is gentleness,honesty and integ rity. In all of this,we affirm that Christianity needs to be lived and presented as “a way of life” rather than a static set of beliefs. (89)
Perhaps there are situations where the word conversation is a more appro priate word than dialogue, and it is clear that hospitality is a key principle for dialogue. As one bishop said,
“dialogue can break down, but hospitality will not.” We need to learn the Benedictine principle of hospitality, which is about relation ships — making space in our hearts for one another. (90)
We honour the special relationship we have, as Christians, with the Jewish com munity. It was a delight and honour for the Conference to be ad dressed by Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. . . We renew our commitment to on-going dialogue and genuine friendship with the Jewish People. (91)
We urge local Churches to contextualise their faith in such a way that Christianity is no longer seen as a western faith, especially in minor ty settings. This is particularly important in the light of the “war on terror”. (94)
. . . We recognise the human right of individuals to convert from one faith to another. (95)
Extracts from Lambeth Indaba