Anglicans to host Hindu-Christian conference

June 24, 2014

[Network for Inter Faith Concerns of the Anglican Communion] The Anglican Communion’s Network for Inter Faith Concerns of the Anglican Communion (NIFCON) is hosting a conference in Birmingham, UK, this October on the Christian relationship with Hindus in the Diaspora.

NIFCON was founded twenty years ago, and has had an influence on the Lambeth Conferences since then1, with a strong emphasis on Christian-Muslim Relations throughout the Communion.

Only once has it significantly looked at Christian-Hindu Relations, during a major conference in Bangalore in 2004. That meeting focused upon India. However, many Indian emigrants are now playing a major part in the interreligious context in their new homes, not least in several Anglican Provinces in the West.

NIFCON has therefore decided to hold a conference from October 29 until November 1, 2014, in Queen’s College Birmingham, to consider Christian relationships2 with Hindus in the Diaspora.

One member of the NIFCON management group who was from the Church of South India but who is now serving as a Church of England priest is The Revd Dr. John Joshva Raja. He said, “We believe that after the recent landslide victory for the BJP in Indian elections, this is a fitting time for us to be meeting and considering how best to engage constructively.”

The conference will be chaired by Archbishop of Dublin the Rt Revd Michael Jackson. NIFCON Management group members Canon Dr Andrew Wingate and Dr Raja are leading the planning group. The conference agenda will include a visit to the prestigious South Indian Temple in Birmingham, the Balaji Temple, where there will be a welcome from local Hindus.

It is expect that the conference will be the precursor to the publication of a book comprising contributions from leading Hindu and Christian scholars. Dr Wingate’s book, The Meeting of Opposites?- Hindus and Christians in the West (to be published by SPCK, and Cascade Books, USA) will be launched during the meeting.

Anyone wishing to attend should contact the administrator, Dr Laura Johnson at lauramichellejohnson403@gmail.com.

The costs for staying at Queen’s have been met by grants, though the organisers cannot, except in exceptional circumstances, pay for travel. The conference is being supported by organisations including the World Council of Churches, the Episcopal Church, the St Augustine’s Foundation, and the Teape Foundation.