Kate’s Story: Building Bridges of Friendship

Kate works as a volunteer at St Mary’s church in West Twyford, London. She wanted to use her Skill-builder Plus funding to attend a week-long intensive summer school that gave members of both the Christian and Muslim communities an opportunity to discuss their challenges and issues, and build relations between the two faiths. Trust Member Kate was keen to develop her skills and knowledge to enable her to work in this field in the future. This is her story.

“Duties within my role as a volunteer include community dialoguing with women of other faiths at community events, organising and setting up a community café which is launching in the autumn, and helping refugees settle in their new life in London.

“I believe that my future career, either as a priest or laywoman in the Church of England, is to work in multi-faith, multi-ethnic contexts working in a church.

“The Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies hosts a week-long intensive summer school which is attended by both Muslims and Christians. The purpose of the summer school is to attend a course of academic study, as well as an opportunity to discuss the challenges and issues which both Christians and Muslims face in each of our own faith tradition. The summer school is designed to equip future religious and community leaders in the field of Muslim-Christian relations.

"It is so easy and tempting in the challenging times of society today to withdraw in fear from people who are different from ourselves"

“I relished the opportunity to participate on an academically rigorous seven day programme of inter-faith dialogue with Christians and Muslims, the study of the Bible and the Qur’an, lectures examining the historical encounters between Christianity and Islam, as well as looking at some of the contemporary issues within Christianity and Islam.

“My knowledge of Islam has increased, as well as gaining skills and experience in inter-faith dialogue, through discussing the commonalities and differences of our faith traditions. It is so easy and tempting in the challenging times of society today to withdraw in fear from people who are different from ourselves, whether that is faith or any other difference.

“However, it is only through engagement and building bridges of friendship, respect and understanding through inter-faith dialogue that we can begin to ask, understand and respond to some of the challenges that we all, no matter what faith tradition, are facing today.

“Thank you, eaga Trust.”

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Photography by John Cairns. 

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