The context of twenty-first century Britain
Although the religious inheritance of the British Isles is historically Christian, the twentieth century saw significant growth in newly-arrived communities, many of which brought their own distinctive faith and culture with them. Hence the existence today of rich and diverse multi-faith contexts.
Inter-faith issues: a basis for relationships
SCALA has an open and inclusive stance, and although we are firmly Christian in our foundation and mission, we believe that we have a responsibility to respect and honour the faith and experience of those who are not Christian but seek to worship and serve God through another tradition. In practice this means that we look to engage in dialogue with those involved in education who have another faith stance, and to seek points of meeting and commonality.
School communities and inter-faith issues
Many of our schools – both in the maintained and independent sectors – are multi-faith communities. SCALA is committed to supporting inter-faith understanding and empathy, working towards a climate in which all faith traditions are welcomed as contributing to the religious wealth of society.
We believe that schools have a hugely important part to play in providing the open space in which young people of different faith traditions can learn through inter-personal dialogue to respect and value one another's faith inheritance.
Multi-faith communities and worship
We believe that it is vital for each faith tradition to guard its own integrity. Only false dialogue takes place where issues of difference are ignored and assumptions of bland similarity are made.
SCALA supports collective worship which respects individual faith traditions, employing prayers, readings and reflections which different faiths can share with integrity. Care must be taken to avoid content which may be a cause of religious offence to particular faith groups.
We also believe that the faith needs of all groups should be respected and responded to wherever practicable in the school context. This implies, for instance, that space for prayer and worship should be set aside for faith groups wherever possible. A chaplain needs considerable sensitivity in dealing with these provisions.