Faith institutions have a unique role in leveraging social capital in communities to address key city priorities but also to support marginalised communities. They can be effective in tackling hate crime and extremism and work towards improving social cohesion. They are embedded in communities, and can therefore channel resources to support city priorities.

The Cities Faith and Community Forum was launched in February 2019; it combines the strengths of key leaders in Europe and the UK, and is in a strong position to act as a bridge between governments and citizens.

Our vision is to promote strategic faith and community collaboration across and between major cities in the UK and Europe

Our mission is to provide a platform across leading cities in the UK and Europe for facilitating and developing learning and sharing best practice in positive engagement between faith groups, city governments, and institutions, in order to build more inclusive and integrated cities. We will specifically look to work with local city governing bodies (city Mayors) and
local authorities in order to most effectively meet the needs of city residents.

Our focus is strategic intervention, particularly focusing on issues and challenges that affect faith communities in cities, such as poverty, mental health, literacy, education, security, homelessness and the environment.

Our immediate aims
● Celebrating the contribution of communities
● Tackling extremism, hate crime and resilience
● Helping to shape and develop policies and programmes which
enhance integration
● Seeking to improve the situation for migrant communities

Our Methodology will be to build consensual and strategic partnerships that create more inclusive cities. We will promote the sharing of resources and best practice and the open exchange of ideas and programmes.

Context

Power in the 21st century belongs to the problem-solvers. National governments debate and dither. Cities act, cities do.” Cities have new kinds of power. They have enormous chances to leverage
their economic and financial advantages to augment their position and effect change.

Religious faith is deeply ingrained in the way cities look and function. In the past, cities were often built with places of worship at their centre, and today we can find markers of faith dotted across every city in the world: from local parish churches to grand cathedrals, mosques to synagogues, soup kitchens to cemeteries.

Faith also serves a social purpose, bringing city residents together to mourn, celebrate, remember, reflect and to help others and create
community structures and lead on community cohesion.

Yet, major discussions about the future of cities largely neglect the topic of faith. The United Nations’ New Urban Agenda (NUA) – the main global strategy guiding urban development for the next 20 years – is almost entirely silent about the role of faith and religion in the cities of the future, despite the fact that 84% of the global population adheres to a religious faith of some kind.

Future cities should be just, safe, healthy, accessible, affordable, resilient and sustainable, while fostering prosperity and a high quality of life for everyone. What’s more, many of the people who work as civil servants, educators, charity workers and business leaders are motivated by their religious faith, to bring about positive change in cities.

The fact that places of worship are often located at the geographic centre of the communities they serve also means that they can be a place for people to rally and recover in the face of disaster.

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