CTE Operating PrinciplesCTE logo-March 2014

     
 
The following operating principles relating to other faith communities were agreed by Churches Together in England's Enabling Group on March 20, 2005
 

Churches Together in England endorses four principles of inter faith dialogue (see note 1  below)

  • Dialogue begins when people meet each other
  • Dialogue depends on mutual understanding and trust
  • Dialogue makes it possible to share in service to the community
  • Dialogue becomes a medium for authentic witness.
Therefore CTE seeks to encourage Christians –
  • to work for understanding between people of faith
  • to learn about the beliefs and practices of different religions
  • to be equipped to talk about their own faith.
Because Christians believe that they are called to tell others about their faith, CTE urges its members to evangelise sensitively in a multi-faith world, and encourages the provision of resources to enable this in neighbourhoods where there are people of different faith communities.
 
(See note 2 below) Christian prayer and worship is directed to God through Jesus Christ in the power of the Spirit. In welcoming representative figures of other faith communities, CTE regards it as important that
  • the integrity of the whole service as an act of Christian worship is preserved;
  • the Christian content of the service is not deliberately minimised or downplayed;
  • no elements hostile or contrary to Christian faith are included;
  • care is taken to ensure that those of other faith communities are not expected to behave in ways which are incompatible with, or inappropriate to, their own faith.
As a corporate organisation, CTE is open to working with and alongside members of other faith communities when this is appropriate, The Millennium Act of Reflection and Commitment by various faith leaders expresses the principles on which the staff of CTE operate:
We commit ourselves
to work together,
with people of many faiths,
for the common good,
uniting to build a better society,
grounded in values and ideals we share:
community,
personal integrity,
a sense of right and wrong,
learning, wisdom and love of truth,
care and compassion,
justice and peace,
respect for one another,
for the earth and its creatures.
Churches Together in England is represented on the Churches Commission on Inter Faith Relations (CCIFR) and on its Executive Committee, and works with its Secretary. CTE also works closely with Inter Faith specialists and practitioners in its member churches, and in the county and intermediate bodies, and with the Inter Faith Network.
The above statement of principles applies to how CTE operates as an organisation, and is not a full account of the variety of views held within CTE’s 23 Member Churches and denominations.
 
Notes
1.   This section is based on these Principles offered by the Churches Commission on Inter Faith Relations
Dialogue begins when people meet each other
Dialogue depends on mutual understanding and trust
Dialogue makes it possible to share in service to the community
Dialogue becomes the medium of authentic witness.
 
2.    This section is based upon
Working Together – Cooperation between Government and faith Communities – February 2004
Christian prayer and worship is directed to God through Jesus Christ in the power of the Spirit. Christians believe that all people are invited to share in the relationship which makes this possible, and Christian services are essentially public in character. It is common in many Christian traditions to give a special place of recognition on major occasions of Christian worship to representative figures of the wider community; in the contemporary United Kingdom, this naturally includes welcoming leaders of other faith communities.
In such circumstances, care needs to be taken to ensure that these individuals are not expected to behave in ways which are incompatible with, or inappropriate to, their own faith, e.g. through being themselves expected to join in affirmations of the Christian Creed, or read from Christian scripture, or sing Christological or Trinitarian hymns.
It is also recognised by those responsible for the planning of services that care and sensitivity needs to be exercised in choosing suitable liturgical material which will not cause gratuitous offence to, or unnecessary difficulties for, guests from other faith communities. The Christian churches have over the years built up a substantial body of expertise in these areas.
If representatives of other faiths are being asked not only to be present but to take an active participatory role in Christian services, it is important that this be done so as to ensure:
the integrity of the whole service as an act of Christian worship;
that the Christian content of the service is not deliberately minimised or downplayed;
no elements hostile or contrary to Christian faith are included.