Bolton Interfaith Council sees itself working in a variety of ways to promote Community Cohesion, mutual understanding and respect in the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton
The mission of BIC is to promote harmony, understanding and cooperation between all members of the Bolton community, especially with regard to issues that relate to faith & belief.
BIC will contribute to Bolton being an integrated society where no-one is excluded because of their faith, race, culture or origin; a town where everyone is valued and has a sense of belonging to the Bolton family.
In its dealings with people of all faiths and none, BIC will be open, friendly and supportive; will be respectful and sensitive, acting responsibly with transparency and integrity.
BIC upholds the right of each individual to live by their faith or belief. It believes that all faith groups have a part to play in promoting community cohesion.
The Bolton Interfaith Council (BIC) has a civic role in working with the Local Authority in major public events which bring together people of different faith groups and of none. Its role is to provide the Local Authority with help and advice in the conduct of civic events such as the annual Civic Service, Special Memorial Services and Ceremonies such as those held to mark the Queens Golden Jubilee, Holocaust, Genocide, Remembrance Day, the Memorial Evening for September 11th, and events in connection with conflict in the Middle East.
Local Strategic Partnership
The BIC is part of the Local Strategic Partnership and sees itself as working with the Local Authority in promoting Community Cohesion. It is available to officers of the Local Authority to give advice and it has had a role in the building of the Borough's Community Strategy 2003 - 2012, Clear Vision Bright Future. The Local Authority in Bolton has a very good record in consulting organisations which represent single faith groups such as the Bolton Council of Mosques, Christian Cohesion and the Hindu Forum, but the Interfaith Council will increasingly be important as the only body in the Borough which brings faith groups together for discussion, co-operation, dialogue and working together on projects in partnership.
The BIC has played a supporting role for teachers in schools where religious education is now multifaith. This has been the requirement to work towards Community Cohesion, achieved by arranging lectures, discussions, and workshops on specific topics. It has also arranged visits to mosques, temples and churches. An expedition to the Neasdon Temple was a great success. The BIC will continue to organise such events but it sees its contribution to schools as being wider than this. We are available to schools where there might be particular problems at times of national or international tension. Members of the council are also represented on the Principal's Advisory Group on Spirituality and the Bolton Institute where it has been instrumental in setting up a multifaith chaplaincy.
Public Debate & Open Forum discussions
One of the roles that BIC has had is the sponsoring of debates and discussions of difficult and contentious issues. We have sponsored public debates on issues such as the Middles East and we see this as an important part of our work. In each of our annual programmes we plan to cover topics of current interest between the major faiths as well as responding to special events and crises. We also wish to sponsor more detailed study groups looking in depth at the different faith traditions and their scriptures.
The Interfaith Network UK
The BIC is a member of the Interfaith Network UK that has an important role in advising the Government on interfaith issues. The network also acts as a channel through which the Government can disseminate policy in this area. The BIC has played a full part in national conferences and we would like to continue to send delegates from Bolton to as many national events as we can. In this way we learn and share good practice.
Minority Faith Groups
The main faith groups in Bolton are Muslim, Hindu and Christian but there are increasingly small numbers of people from other world faiths moving into Bolton through immigration. The BIC plans to expand its work to meet the needs of these other communities.
Individual members of the BIC and the secretary through press releases see their role of keeping the press and the media informed of interfaith work in the town.
Adopted by the Bolton Interfaith Council