UWTSD hosts special Interfaith Conference


15.08.2018

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David has recently hosted its third Annual Interfaith Symposium bringing together faith leaders and academics from Wales, the United Kingdom, and further afield.

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This year, the theme of the annual conference was ‘Spirituality: Multifaith and Interfaith Perspectives’. The event was an opportunity to bring together scholars and practitioners from diverse traditions and practices in order to discuss matters of multifaith and interfaith engagement, as well as themes of contemporary relevance that are vital for peaceful coexistence  

During the three-day conference participants delivered short presentations on the potential contribution that their own tradition can make towards inter-faith engagement and dialogue. There was also an opportunity to discuss some of the key problems and challenges facing the world today and to chart new directions in inter-faith thought and practice.

Dr Angus Slater, Lecturer in Theology and Religious Studies and one of the conference organisers said:

“I think that this interfaith conference in Lampeter is unique for a couple of reason.  It really represents the context of Wales especially with regards to interfaith work and theological reflection. Holding the conference here reflects the work that we’re doing here at the University, not just with the Churches in Wales, but also with the various religious communities throughout Wales.

One of the things that I’ll take away with me today is that there’s a real vibrancy to religion in Wales at the moment – there’s a real push from a variety of religious organisations to talk with each other better and to come to a better understanding of each other as well.”

Prof. Wayne Morris, Head of Theology and Religious Studies and Associate Dean of Humanities, University of Chester was a keynote speaker at the conference.  He commented:

“Our focus today has been on interfaith studies and dialogue in Wales and it’s really the first time we’ve had an opportunity to reflect specifically on this context.  It’s been a very rich discussion of perspectives and considering what the future holds in terms of what interfaith studies will like look in Wales but also alongside what the practice might be and what exactly is happening on the ground - that’s been very enriching to hear from both academics and practitioners.”

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Reverend Aled Edwards OBE, Chief Executive of Cytûn took part in a panel discussion that looked specifically at ‘Interfaith Encounters in Wales’. Revd. Edwards, who is the General Secretary of Cytûn, also studied at the University’s Lampeter campus. He added:

“I’ve been greatly encouraged – it was good to bring academics together to look at the issue of where interfaith rests, who we are as a people and where do we go next in terms of our politics. It’s very obvious that there is a new dynamic afoot particularly in some parts of Wales where new and different cultures are coming together and creating a civic dynamic that is quite crucial.

It’s vital that we have conversations with each other and those of us who are out there practising interfaith work and bringing communities together need to sometimes think and to have what we’re doing analysed by good minds and to see where we need to develop strategically for the future, particularly in a world, that perhaps in the wake of populism is becoming less tolerant and less kind to each other.

It feels good to come back to Lampeter – I have many fond memories. This is where I began to learn how to think in earnest and it’s good for me to come back, almost at the end of a career, to think again and to look at where I need to go and to perhaps plot ahead in a new setting and a new way – It’s always good to think!”

Further Information

For more information please contact Arwel Lloyd, Principal PR and Communications Officer, on 01267 676663 / arwel.lloyd@uwtsd.ac.uk