On 10 November 2022, the Global Ethic Foundation instigated the fourth networking meeting of the project “Councils of Religions in Baden-Württemberg.” The project is funded by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Social Affairs, Health and Integration.
MORE DIVERSE THAN EVER BEFORE
Around 30 representatives from the state-wide councils of religions came to Reutlingen in the Sotuh of Germany. The meetings have never been as diverse as in this year: In addition to the municipalities involved in the project, many interested people joined. From a religious point of view, the group of participants has also never been so diverse: in addition to Islam, Christianity and Judaism, this time there were also representatives of Hinduism and Buddhism. One of them noted:
“If I compare the encounters and conversations at similar meetings in Stuttgart in the seventies with networking meetings in the years after 2020, so much has changed for the better. Today, dissidents from other nations are not only tolerated, but accepted, and one can have a really good conversation.”
After being welcomed by the project managers Lena Zoller and Dr. Theresa Beilschmidt and being provided with an overview into the current status of the project, Ralph Klause, consultant in the Department for Integration and Europe of the Ministry of Social Affairs, gave a welcome speech. Thereafter, the Council of Religions of Reutlingen, which has played a key role in preparing and carrying out this year’s meeting, introduced itself.
The exchange amongst the participants intensified itself even more before the lunch break. The participants were able to freely talk in small groups about questions that are currently preoccupying them. This exchange of notes about positive and difficult experiences with the Council of Religions, lessons learned, challenges, complications, tensions, positive experiences and current activities was perceived as “incredibly enriching.” In the afternoon, moderated groups served to more deeply work on topics such as the young interreligious dialogue, public relations and contact with the congregations. The representatives of interested municipalities were also informed about important points in the establishment of a Council of Religions.
The day together ended with an outlook on upcoming events such as the digital workshops that will take place soon, the next networking event in Friedrichshafen as well as next year’s federal congress and a planned municipal handbook.
Feedback has shown that by increasing the frequency of the summits, the foundation is meeting the wishes for more networking and exchange opportunities the representatives had previously expressed. Denn bei diesem offenen Format werden Fragen geklärt, entstehen neue Ideen und gar neue Kooperationen.It is in this open format that questions can be clarified, new ideas or even new collaborations can develop.
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