Ecumenism & Inter-Faith

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SOUTHALL FAITHS FORUM (SFF) – Aims, Membership, Governance and Activities.


Mr Saggu the President of Gurdwara Guru Amardass, Southall, welcomes and opens the fourteenth SFF meeting (14th March 2017).

The Aims of Southall Faiths Forum are:

  • To promote trust, understanding and co-operation among the faith communities of Southall
  • To speak up for their viewpoint on significant issues
  • To represent the views of the Southall Faiths Forum to civic authorities, service providers, educational institutions and local media.

Membership of Southall Faiths Forum is open to faith institutions:

  • With a place of worship in Southall
  • Which support the aims of the Southall Faiths Forum
  • Which are committed to working collaboratively in an atmosphere of mutual respect and tolerance whilst acknowledging that amongst us we hold diverse and sometimes irreconcilable views on matters of faith.

Meetings of Southall Faiths Forum take place three or four times a year and include an Annual General Meeting (AGM) held within 15 months of the previous AGM. Each member institution is asked to name up to four people as representatives and venues/agendas are decided by the Steering Group (consisting of two representatives of each of the major faiths present in Southall: Sikh, Hindu, Muslim and Christian).


The outgoing Chair, Mr Fazal Mahmood Sanni from Central Jamia Masjid, Southall expresses his gratitude for the support he has received between October 2016 and March 2017.

Governance – The Steering Group is responsible for planning the meetings of the SFF, directing the work-load for current and future years, and dealing with day- to- day business and any matters delegated to it by the SFF. The Steering Group is answerable to the SFF and is subject to any decisions made by the SFF.

Activities – Southall Faiths Forum may organise a range of activities in furtherance of its aims, which might include:

  • Opportunities for local people from different faiths to meet together and learn from one another
  • Celebrations of the role of faith in the life of local people and of the community
  • Working together on matters of importance to the community of Southall.

Convenor: Revd Mark Poulson, St John’s (Church of England), Southall

Chairman: Mr Navraj Singh from the Singh Sabha Gurdwara, Southall.

Navraj (2)

Mr Navraj Singh (second on the left), sitting next to Fr Gerard Mitchell, SJ and Navpreet Kaur (“A Breakfast Show” – Sikh Channel, 17th Dec 2017).


Jesuit Missions Volunteering Interfaith Training Day at Southall 

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Over the last few years JMV have been organising a 7 day training programme for their overseas volunteers prior to departure. As part of this training, the Jesuits and other faith communities in Southall have kindly organised an Interfaith Day for our volunteers. In 2013 we visited Southall once again on 24thJuly.

During this day we are welcomed by St Anselm’s Parish (Fr Gerard Mitchell SJ and Jan Janoszka) and Father Michael Barnes SJ gives us an introductory  talk about different faiths. We are then welcomed into several faith communities including the Muslim Community at the Central Jamia Masjid; The Gurdwara at Havelock Road and the Shree Ram Hindu Mandir Community. The day is always fascinating and thought provoking and it helps to raise our consciousness about the need for tolerance and understanding between different cultures and religions. It makes us more aware of the common spirituality that we share and give us a feeling of connection to each other. It also provides an opportunity for volunteers to find out more about the religions of the countries they’ll be living in.  What always strikes us is the generosity of the different communities.

A heartfelt “thank you” for arranging this special day for us!

Let me add a few words about our programme. JMV sends out people to volunteer at the Missions in Africa, Asia and South America. Together with our partner organisations we run a number of different programmes including teaching at schools, working at health centres, orphanages and even a radio station which is used both for educational and agricultural purposes. The Jesuits have been based in a number of communities around the world for decades. They have lived with the people side by side, through thick and thin, through all the political turmoil, wars and economic difficulties. They have a knowledge and love of their communities which is reciprocated…So, if you volunteer with the Jesuits you will be living at the heart of the community you are sent to. It will be a real experience, away from tourism and hotels. In fact part of our ethos is that volunteers live their lives simply and engage with the local people and culture. The volunteering experience challenges people and often, when they return, they decide to live their lives differently, maybe change their careers or dedicate their free time to charity. However, it is not an experience for the faint-hearted! People have to live in very basic conditions and need to be quite flexible and open to other cultures and faiths. And we are particularly looking for people who are willing to reflect on their experience.

If you are interested in joining our programme for a minimum of six months, please have a look at our website: .

Author:  JMV Volunteer Co-Ordinator, Jesuit Missions,
11 Edge Hill, London SW19 4LR. Tel 020 8946 0466. 

Understanding Islam: Three separate days, 15 March, 31st May and 28 June 2014

Fr Gerard Mitchell, SJ and the Parish Inter-faith group of Saint Anselm’s warmly invite you to 3 study days led by Dr Chris Hewer.

Course Leader

Dr Chris Hewer comes from a background in Christian theology, education, Islamic studies and inter-faith studies and has worked in the field of Muslims in Britain and Christian-Muslim relations since 1986, first at the Centre for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at Selly Oak in Birmingham and from 1999 to 2005, as the Adviser on Inter-Faith Relations to the Bishop of Birmingham. From 2006-2010, he was the St Ethelburga Fellow in Christian-Muslim Relations in London, with a brief to deliver adult popular education courses, study days and talks around Greater London.  His current work is to teach study days and residential courses, and to develop written and electronic resources ( ).

 Aim of the course

This course aims to take people on a journey of understanding Islam through the eyes of those who follow this way of life.  To understand any religion requires not just “head knowledge” but also “heart knowledge:” How does it feel to see the world in this way and commit one’s life to living accordingly?015

The course is divided into three days based on four 90-minute sessions.  The days build on one another, accumulating understanding, so each day assumes that participants were present for those that preceded it.  Questions and discussion are welcome throughout each session.

Sat 15 March 2014, 10am-4pm, Day One: The Big Picture

  • Setting the scene: A Muslim world-view
  • A long line of Prophets ending with Muhammad
  • Many scriptures: the Qur’an and its interpretation
  • A complete way of life: the Shari’a

Sat 31 May 2014, 10am-4pm, Day Two: Standing before God

  • A life of prayer
  • Fasting and pilgrimage
  • A Muslim family life: birth to marriage
  • A Muslim family life: divorce to death

Sat 28 June 2014, 10am-4pm, Day Three: Building a just society

  • Politics and economics
  • Unpacking jihad and extremism in the contemporary world
  • Islam and other faiths
  • Open House: themes determined by the group