Faith Leaders sign covenant but what next?
Faith Community Leaders from across Southampton joined with Southampton City Council in signing The Southampton Council of Faiths and Southampton City on 30 November 2022.
Signing the covenant, Chair of the Muslim Council, Parvin Damani MBE, said, ‘This mustn’t be just a ‘nicey nicey’ event - we must ask so what?’ She was very glad to sign the Covenant on behalf of the Muslim Council. Addressing the people in the Lord Mayor’s Parlour, Parvin noted the role faith communities have played in making sure hate crime is reported. The signing is an opportunity to remind ourselves of the strength in partnerships, the importance of hope and kindness. Parvin asked, ‘Who teaches kindness?’, ‘What does it look like in different cultures?’ Our values are what defeats serious issues like health inequalities.
Alongside Parvin, Chair of Southampton Council of Faiths, David Vane said, ‘The All-Party Parliament Group on Faith and Society is convinced that faith groups have a great deal to offer as providers and advocates for the communities in which they serve, and that some of their potential is being unnecessarily overlooked at present.
To help tackle the problem, the national group drafted a Covenant which can be adopted by faith groups and local authorities in cities across the UK. We were delighted to recommit ourselves to the Faith Covenant today. With the pressures on society, faiths’ role giving hope is more important than ever.’
On behalf of Southampton Council of Faiths, David Vane, from the Buddhist faith, will continue the discussion on how the spirit of the covenant is lived out, including events like the Peace Walk, which has been running for over 20 years. He said, ‘the Peace Walk has been the best way of engaging people of no faith and all faiths.’
He also highlighted that the hope is for other agencies to join in signing the Faith Covenant alongside the City Council. David thanked everyone for maintaining the covenant since it was first signed in 2017.
The event was part of a grant programme, Faith New Deal, funded by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. Speaking at the event, Daniel Singleton, National Executive Director from Faith Action, commented, ‘The coming decade will see the country facing new social needs and tough new challenges. There will be fresh demands on public health, social care, education, employment support and community inclusion. These challenges will require the identification of a new set of resources. We will need to unlock the potential of every part of our society to contribute towards solutions. We believe that one important resource can be realised by supporting faith-based organisations to work with local authorities constructively and effectively, as part of civil society.’
(text and photos courtesy of Matt Bunday LOVE Southampton)
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