On Wednesday I’ll be presenting research from my School’s Visioning 21st Century Ecumenism project at a talk for the Northern Ireland Inter Faith Forum titled, ‘Living Religion in Northern Ireland: Experiences of People of Minority Faiths in a Christian Majority Landscape.’ It will be held at the Irish School of Ecumenics, 683 Antrim Road, Belfast, beginning at 7.30 pm.
The talk is not limited to members of the Northern Ireland Inter Faith Forum – all are welcome.
I’ll be presenting data from our 2009 surveys of faith on the island of Ireland. These surveys threw up the rather interesting finding that laypeople of all faiths seem more likely than clergy/faith leaders to include ‘non Christian’ (I am uncomfortable with this term) religions in conceptions of ecumenism.
I’ll also be discussing data from in-depth interviews with people from what we are calling ‘faith minorities’ (rather than ‘non Christian religions). These interviews were conducted last year by research team member Fred Vincent and include people of Baha’i, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh faith. They range from Irish and Northern Irish-born people from Christian backgrounds to immigrants from India and Turkey.
The interviews covered multiple themes, including people’s experiences of committing to a new faith (particularly for Irish and Northern Irish born Christians who now practice a different faith), experiences of acceptance, experiences of rejection/prejudice, lack of recognition, the meaning and practice of ‘everyday religion’, and ‘ecumenical visions.’