TDN to join Inter Faith Network
IFN works to promote understanding, cooperation and good relations between organisations and persons of different faiths in the UK.
In April 2012, IFN refused the first application for membership of The Druid Network due to its current membership policy restricting membership to the ‘big’ nine faiths. This refusal resulted in TDN becoming involved in dialogue with IFN, with a view to reviewing their membership policy to become both more inclusive and to remove any suggestion of discrimination against minority faiths. Other interested parties also took up this challenge and this led to a meeting, hosted in the House of Lords, discussing religious freedom within the UK. This meeting was held in November 2012 and representatives of some twenty religions gathered in the House of Lords to raise their voices in defence of religious freedom. The meeting was admirably led by the excellent Rev’d Peter Owen-Jones and TDN played a key role. This event was recorded in pictures and is available at: http://www.demotix.com/news/1636944/religions-come-together-house-lords#media-1636867 The eminent human rights lawyer, John Halford, from Bindmans LLP publicly issued a legal opinion for the event at the House of Lords in November. http://religiousfreedom.org.uk/guidance.pdf
Following the House of Lords event TDN was invited, along with other interested parties, to provide input to the IFN Strategic Review, this review to include consideration of the membership criteria of IFN. The Pagan Federation (PF) and TDN were further invited to a meeting with some representatives of IFN to provide information and clarity on their beliefs and practices. The prior membership rejection was reported in an article by Ruth Gledhill of The Times newspaper in December 2012 available to subscribers at: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/faith/article3617192.ece (non subscribers can only view the first couple of paragraphs of the article).
The process of IFN’s Strategic Review, giving consideration to all the arguments placed before them, resulted in a revised membership policy that is more inclusive whilst still holding the right to determine membership. In light of this change The Druid Network re-applied for membership under the new membership policy.On 29th September 2014 at the AGM of the Interfaith Network , the following new faith bodies from Minority Religions/New Religious Movements were admitted to membership of the Inter Faith Network:
• THE DRUID NETWORK
• THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF THE LATTER DAY SAINTS
• THE SPIRITUALISTS’ NATIONAL UNION
• THE PAGAN FEDERATION
In addition, Revd Prudence Jones of the Pagan Federation, was appointed to the Executive Committee of the Inter Faith Network – the first person outside the “nine mainstream faiths” to achieve this position.
This is an historic achievement on many levels, it is the fruition of the work of many people seeking to find resolution within conflict, those people coming from many diverse backgrounds, professions and faiths. The Druid Network extends its appreciation and thanks to all who helped bring about this momentous change.