By Kåre Schelde Christensen, Former General Secretary, DanChurch Interfaith Relations
Being a Christian and being Church in a multi-religious society
Folkekirke og Religionsmøde (DanChurch Interfaith Relations) is a collaboration between a number of dioceses. We explore what it means to be a Christian and to be Church in a multicultural and multi-religious society. Among other things, we organise dialogue cafés with people from different religious backgrounds. The dialogue includes Muslims as well as people who are inspired by eastern religions. Our work has three main focus areas.
When we have a clear sense of our own identity, we often find it easier to meet people who have a different religious belief than ours. Most of us regularly meet people who do not share our Christian faith. We meet them at work, in kindergarten, in school or in the local supermarket. These meetings challenge us in new ways to put into words who we are and what we believe. This is the reason why DanChurch Interfaith Relations explores the relationship between Christian faith, identity and living. Examples of what we do are publications (in Danish) for use in parishes, and courses that are held to inspire interfaith dialogue.
A lack of knowledge about one's own faith and that of others can create misunderstandings and a distance between people. DanChurch Interfaith Relations organises dialogue cafés and courses and gives conferences for for example Christian and Muslim leaders. These events are meant to encourage us to talk with each other instead of talking about each other. The personal encounter with someone of another faith can build a bridge. It creates a space where we can observe what we have in common and in an atmosphere of trust confront each other with differences and disagreements.
The Mission of the Church
The Church wants to share the gospel with all people. This means that we want the good news of God’s unconditional love for all to be visible in the world! DanChurch Interfaith Relations is involved in mission by our presence, through dialogue and action.