In a move to create an “opportunity for dialogue and depth,” the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and Sri Shruti Dharma Das Ji launched the Hindu Christian Forum Nov. 25 at Lambeth Palace, according to a Church of England news release.
“The conversation of interfaith dialogue is always one where we look eagerly and expectantly for enrichment. We’re not playing for victory, we’re seeking understanding from one another ... by learning the depth of one another’s commitment and vision; dialogue and depth is what we all hope for,” said Williams.
“I believe that a dialogue is about work, real labor, but also about surprise and excitement, and it is with that vision in mind that I commend this forum to you, thank you for your support of it, and ask for your continuing prayers and solidarity with the work it will do in the future,” he said.
Speaking of a recent visit to Bangalore, Williams described a day of dialogue with religious leaders from a variety of Hindu traditions as “a deeply enriching experience, a day in which we were able to speak simply and directly about our traditions. We were able to say together at the end of that conversation a number of things about our mutual respect and the understanding that we sought.”
The Hindu Christian Forum was formed by a group of Hindus and Christians who have been meeting together since 2001. It has become a national forum partly in response to the findings of “Bridges and Barriers to Hindu Christian Relations,” a report published by Dr. Jessica Frazier of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
In his address, Williams described the report as a “very creative and stimulating piece of work, which provides an enormous resource for reflecting on how dialogue can be pursued, and how at the grassroots level it is to be understood and worked with.”