Where can people from different religious communities enter into interreligious dialogue with each other and promote intercultural communication? Ideally, of course, where they are already active: in their municipalities and cities. In order to promote this exchange, the Global Ethic Foundation, together with the state, initiated the project “Getting Local Councils of Religions Off the Ground.” This is unique in Germany.
Since 2017, the Local Councils of Religions has supported and facilitated comprehensive integration, social participation and successful coexistence locally, across religious boundaries.
UNDERSTANDING AND DIALOGue
Religious diversity is a reality in our cities and communities. It enriches our society and at the same time harbors a certain potential for conflict. But it is precisely where people come together to do something together that interfaith relationships can be a powerful means of expressing and building solidarity. And they can have a long-term positive influence on the climate within a society.
With the “Councils of Religions” project, the Global Ethic Foundation, together with the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Social Affairs, Health and Integration, supports local authorities in responding appropriately to increasing religious diversity and the associated issues.
The local councils of religions bring local authorities and religious and faith communities into contact with each other and establish lasting contact. In this way, they make religious actors more visible as a resource in society and promote political participation and social cohesion. The foundation is currently in contact with 20 municipalities in Baden-Württemberg, 13 of which are part of the project.
Councils of the religions in Baden-Württemberg
Forum der Religionen Friedrichshafen
Forum der Religionen Ravensburg
Arbeitskreis Interreligiöser Dialog Offenburg (AKiDO)
Forum der Religionen Schwäbisch Gmünd
Forum der Religionen Heilbronn
Crailsheimer Rat der Religionen
Insights into our networks
Interreligious exchange in municipalities
Youth forum of religions
Young religious people met for the first time in July 2023 for the Youth Forum of Religions. Representatives from youth organizations of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faith communities were involved in the project and developed the content and organizational basis for building the Youth Forum of Religions into a sustainable network.
REGIONAL CONGRESS OF THE COUNCILS OF RELIGIONS
Over 80 people from 24 cities gathered for the first networking meeting in Stuttgart in 2019. Presentations and best practice examples showed how local councils of religions contribute to more participation and solidarity. The participants discussed specific issues relating to the establishment of councils of religions. At the 2021 networking meeting in Tübingen, the participants discussed their respective activities, specific issues and challenges. Networking meetings are currently alternating between host municipalities. In 2022, the meeting took place in Reutlingen, in 2023 in Friedrichshafen – for the first time under the name “Regional Congress”.
FEDERAL CONGRESS of COUNCILS
The Federal Congress of Councils of Religions is an association of local, interfaith councils and initiatives at federal level. Since 2018, the Federal Congress has met annually in order to discuss the challenges and opportunities of interreligious work on site, to develop ideas as well as strengthening the commitment of the individual cooperating participants. The Global Ethic Foundation participates in the Federal Congress of Councils of Religions in an advisory capacity and also helps to shape the content of the annual meetings.
ROUND TABLE OF RELIGION
The Round Table of Religions in Baden-Württemberg brings together representatives from organized religious communities throughout the state as well as secular associations. The Global Ethic Foundation holds two permanent seats. The aim of the round table is to strengthen the exchange between the state government and the ideological and religious communities in the state. This helps promote integration and social cohesion. At the plenary sessions to date, around 50 stakeholders have discussed, for example, the relationship between religions and faith communities and the secular state, approaches to cooperation in the area of welfare or the commitment of religious, faith and ideological communities in the areas of sustainability and environmental protection.