The Faith Centre’s flagship programme, Faith & Leadership, is a religious literacy and leadership formation programme that gives participants the chance to meet with and question leaders of faith from all walks of life to enrich their understanding of how faith can influence and drive leadership in our world. After running every Monday evening in Lent term, and including an intensive weekend residential of seminar, training and panel sessions, the last evening is always slightly different.
All participants are given a chance to reflect in groups on a key theme that has emerged for them in the course of the programme, to present to the group and to receive their certificates of participation. We were privileged this year to be joined by Baroness Butler-Sloss, Chair of the Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life, and an expert on the challenges at the intersection of faith, politics and modern life in Britain today.
Topics presented by the groups included the challenges of religion in the workplace, including the need for managers and senior leaders to have an understanding of how religious observance can impact on work, and what this diversity can bring to the team; the role and challenges of Faith Schools and the nuances within this definition; the lines and possible limits of the separation of church and state; interfaith marriage and how this is viewed within the Sikh tradition, and the ongoing persecution of Baha’is and what the international community can do to support faith minorities in contexts of persecution and fear.
Baroness Butler-Sloss commented on each presentation, stating that many of the themes the participants had touched on had emerged also during her series of nationwide meetings and focus groups for the Commission. Each participant received their certificates before we shared food and refreshments as a celebration of what had been learned and shared during the course.