Andrew Smith is the Director of Interfaith Relations for the Bishop of Birmingham.
He previously worked for Scripture Union, and it is there that he developed the work that led to the founding of The Feast. He believes passionately that young people have an important role to play in building relationships between people of different faiths, and that whenever people of different faiths come together it should include laughter, good food and possibly a canal boat.
Carolyn Merry, CEO of The Feast, met with Andrew to hear a little bit about the book Andrew has published recently, ‘Vibrant Christianity in multi-faith Britain’ “The book is a summary of most of what I’ve been thinking and speaking about over the past 10 years or so as I’ve tried to help Christians discover what it means to live as faithful followers of Jesus in a multi-faith society. It’s got some reflections on Bible passages, anecdotes from people I’ve met, things I’ve done and situations I’ve been in along with practical suggestions for people to think about. Although it’s written for Christians, the Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus I showed it to when I was writing it all found it interesting and helpful, so I hope it will be food for thought for anyone regardless of their faith or beliefs.”
Andrew went on to explain why he wanted to write the book…
“I’m aware that more and more Christians are asking big questions about how they can befriend people of different faiths and have the confidence to discuss what they believe without getting into arguments. I wanted to write something that would be easy to read and would inspire people to reflect on their own beliefs and behaviour and give them ideas to either get started in building friendships or deepen their existing friendships with people of different faiths.”
“I hope people will enjoy reading it and see that this is not something just for experts, faith leaders or theologians but a way of relating to people that everyone can join in with. The book is centred around Jesus’ command to love God and love your neighbour, it unpacks how we can do both these things at the same time – all the time. I hope that it won’t just affirm what people already think but will give new ideas and maybe cause people to stop and think. Overall what I hope (and pray) is that as a result of reading this, many more people will find the joy and excitement we’ve found at The Feast when we make friends and talk about our beliefs with friends of different faiths.”