Presence and Engagement is the Church of England’s national programme equipping Christians for mission and ministry in the wonderful diversity of our multi faith society. The programme has developed a new language for this work, focusing on the importance of the Church both remaining present in multi religious areas and engaging positively with communities of other faiths. Presence and Engagement is different from inter faith dialogue, although complementary to it. The programme focusses on the task of resourcing the Church for work which will include, but is not limited to, dialogue with people of different faiths.
Presence and Engagement began as a national listening exercise leading to a report which was discussed at the Church of England’s General Synod in 2006. The report used data from the 2001 Census to map statistics for religious affiliation to local parish boundaries. ‘Presence and Engagement Parishes’ were those with a substantial population of one or more different faith communities. Clergy and lay people from these parishes were asked a range of questions, including how they felt about living and working in these multi faith areas, what support they were currently receiving and what resources they would like to see to help them in their ministry. The report’s recommendations were accepted by General Synod, which established a national Task Group for the programme and encouraged dioceses to develop their own strategies.
A key resource for Presence and Engagement is a growing network of Diocesan Inter Faith Relations Advisers, and a partnership of regional P&E Centres, which includes Leicester, Bradford and Birmingham, and a London-focused network.
This website aims to bring together resources for clergy, congregations, chaplaincies and schools who want to follow Jesus in loving their neighbours of different faiths. We hope that the site will also help to equip others from areas which may not have large communities of different faiths to think about how the Church can respond with confidence and humility to the increasing religious plurality of our nation. This website is managed by the Presence and Engagement Task Group.
Presence and Engagement has been complemented over the last three years by Near Neighbours, a government-funded initiative managed by the Church Urban Fund. Near Neighbours uses the unique parish network of the Church of England in particular areas of the country to help bring people together from different religious and ethnic communities to work for the common good of their local neighbourhoods.
Most dioceses make provision for a Diocesan Inter Faith Adviser who is responsible for advising and supporting the bishop, diocese and local clergy in relation to other religions in your area. The contact details for your local Adviser are published on the corresponding page for the parish and diocese.
To search for your local Diocesan Inter Faith Adviser by post code click here:
The Near Neighbours programme is part of the Church Urban Fund charity and exists to provide training and small grants for inter faith social action projects. It grew out of the Presence and Engagement network and is financed by the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Church of England.
Since 2010 Near Neighbours has provided seed capital through bids from local groups and organisations who are working to bring together neighbours; to develop relationships of diverse faiths and ethnicities and also to improve their communities. A wide range of community, environmental, social, cultural, artistic and sporting initiatives have been funded to groups of diverse faiths and ethnicities to improve their communities.
There is an icon on the left hand side of each parish page where you can download the statistics.
The 2011 Census was the second Census in England and Wales to provide data on population by religion, for regions, counties, London boroughs, districts and unitary authorities in England and Wales on census day (27 March 2011). The Census data has been analysed by Church of England statisticians to produce data specific to all the parishes of the Church of England.