‘Tangnefedd’ is the official name of the North East Wales Interfaith, Peace and Justice Forum, that covers Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham. It meets quarterly at Glynwdr University, Wrexham. The All Faith Leaders Gathering meets twice a year in the months of January and July also at Glyndwr University and facilitates the harmonious living of all faith communities in North Wales.
The North Wales Racial Justice and Interfaith Forum was developed from contacts made at a meeting of the National Cytûn Racial Justice Network in January 2004 and a first, tentative meeting was held in April of that year to explore the possibilities of creating such a group. More contacts were made and the Forum was formed at a meeting in Mynydd Isa on the 28th July 2004. At this first meeting representatives were present from the Church in Wales, the Methodists, the Presbyterian Church of Wales and the United Reformed Church.
The Forum seeks to expand its membership to reflect that of the churches represented in Cytûn and to encourage and ensure that, wherever possible, there is equal representation of both laity and clergy. Eventually the aim will be to form all-faith groups at suitable locations for the purposes of continuing dialogue and cooperation.
The founding members of the Forum saw it developing in four contexts – Pilgrimage, Education, Training and Outreach:
Pilgrimage – The concept of pilgrimage points to a journey that carries us towards a closer understanding of other major world faiths and through that to a more meaningful relationship with the followers of those faiths. In travelling this road and seeking to engage in these dialogues we hope that in deepening our understanding of other’s faiths we will also deepen our understanding of our own faith and of the life that God calls on us to live.
Education – “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror…” (Franklin D Roosevelt – first inaugural Presidential address, 1933). Fear and mistrust stem from ignorance of the focus of our concerns. That strange noise in the night, is it an intruder or just the house adjusting itself to the lowering air temperature? Much of the hatred and confusion that is engendered by the media or extremist elements in society feeds on the lack of knowledge of the ordinary man or woman in the community. Through a programme of education, of meetings, visits and study, we believe, one of the best ways to counter the half-truths that do so much harm in our communities. We also consider that part of this process must include open and honest discussion amongst ourselves to examine the differences that exist between the ‘churchmanship’ of our own denominations.
Training – The outcome of this programme will, we trust, give us sufficient experience and knowledge to be able to offer guidance and cooperation
Outreach—Through greater understanding of each other’s faiths we hope to be able to remove the fear caused by ignorance and replace it with an integrated outreach that leads to a better social cohesion and tolerance in the communities that we serve.
Part of the educational and pilgrim aspects of the development of the Forum will be fulfilled by organised visits to various places of worship connected with other faiths and also some Interfaith projects that are already up and running successfully.
If you would like to receive further information about these interfaith events or the interfaith work in Wrexham please contact Brian Matthews, Chairperson of Tangnefedd, telephone 01978 357845 or email: milebarn @waitrose.com