The importance of signing a Faith Covenant

I do love reading about the Census. To some people, it might be a “silly hobby”, however analysing and understanding data is hugely important in relation to mapping out the needs of our communities and facilitating adequate e.g. health, leisure, parking and social care provision.

 It was fascinating to see how much the UK has changed in the last decade. As a practising Christian, I found it really interesting that in 2011 in Welwyn Hatfield, 27% of residents reported no religion, however this number increased to 37% in 2021. Given that the population of Welwyn Hatfield, where I live and serve as a District Cllr, increased by around 10,000 (from 110,000 to 120,000), it is overall a significant change.

 I am aware that Britain, like many other European countries, is becoming more secular. However, I was personally absolutely delighted that the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council has signed a Faith Covenant at the Full Council meeting on 15th November. Although it is not legally binding, I am also so pleased that the agreement was approved by the Council during the Inter-Faith Week, which took place across the UK last week.

 However, I hope that most people would agree if I said that we can’t underestimate the importance of faith communities and their contribution across the country and in our neighbourhoods. In my view, the Faith Covenant will only strengthen our collaboration with a wide range of groups and organisations in our district, but it will also help to build better understanding with residents as well as increase awareness of different faith groups in Welwyn Hatfield. Apart from providing places of worship, it is the faith communities, which run Food Banks, sport and youth projects and provide a regular platform for a successful integration. 

 Despite a number of global conflicts, a huge amount of suffering that is “sweeping across the globe” and the fact that many people would blame religion for its frictions, divisions and geo-political challenges, I still strongly feel that the faith communities have a huge role to play in our society. I do think that one of the reasons why Britain is unique is the fact that we are able to cherish, embrace and celebrate diversity, which enriches our lives, communities and we need to do everything not to lose it. The Faith Covenant opens a new chapter in Welwyn Hatfield and I am sure that it will produce many tangible outcomes for many of our residents and local agencies. 

 

* Michal Siewniak is a Lib Dem activist and councillor for Handside ward, Welwyn Hatfield.

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One Comment

  • In the context of local authorities, what’s a Faith Covenant? 🙂 And what does a council signing one mean?

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