This very important consultation started with the note affirming that the Church has always lived in a religiously pluralistic world and in this rich diversity of different faiths we the Displaced Disciples often find ourselves face-to-face with neighbours and co-workers, relatives, strangers, and friends who belong to different religious traditions. Relationships with such folk offer us unique opportunities to witness, love, and serve “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Rev. Dr. Dexter Maben, who led a session on the Theological Understanding of Religious Plurality called the delegates to believe in a God who creates and interacts with the entire cosmos, thus we should seek through relationships with people of other faiths to learn more about the God we know through Jesus Christ. His new paradigm on ‘Displaced Discipleship’ challenged the participants to meet and encounter the ‘other’ in our journey of life only to recognize the rich faith experiences of the people of the other faith.
The day’s deliberations and the sharing of the contexts enumerated the fact that the Church is called to life-giving relationship with all of creation and it should see interreligious relationships as one of God’s special callings in our time.
The need to engage intentionally, along with other Christians, in interfaith work, learning practical ways to encounter people of diverse faiths in order to learn from them, to live in community with them, to develop mutual respect, and to discover areas of commonality were recognised as pertinent for the witness of the Church.
This consultation in the next two days will look at the Ecumenical Mission in a pluralistic world and the advocacy skills to be fostered towards building communal harmony. An immersion program is planned to visit an Inter-faith Dialogue centre and also the Islamic Foundation Trust to engage in a conversation and also to recognise and help the commitment of the other faiths in building harmony and peace.