A multifaith space is a location where interested people of differing religious beliefs, or none at all, are able to exercise and enact their beliefs, most often sequentially or separately; more rarely together within multifaith worship services. The space may or may not be a dedicated place of worship, and will often be located within a wider institutional setting (hospital, university, airport, etc.).
While no single definition can seek to cover all forms of 'multifaith space', a recent research project at the University of Manchester, UK has conceptualised the modern multifaith space as "an intentional space, designed to both house a plurality of religious practices, as well as address (more or less) clearly defined pragmatic purposes".
Multi-faith Spaces: Symptoms & Agents of Religious and Social Change
This study suggests that multifaith spaces are becoming common in the United Sates and the European Union. There are about 2000 in the UK, although few are from before the year 2000. These spaces are used to facilitate individuals in their faith practices. Many of these spaces are seen to be "small, clean and largely unadorned areas" in which can be adaptable and serve for any religious or spiritual practice.
Two key facts in this project where researched: "Multi faith spaces are socially shaped"- There has to be a balance in the range of the different religions thus preventing conflict. All norms and values should be looked at and respected. A social cooperation and openness must be met when entering a multifaith space. Many multifaith spaces are operated out of what could be termed an unstable equilibrium where divergent worldviews can be brought together. "Materiality matters"- most multifaith spaces are very basic in design to minimize or alter the visibility of a religion. Many multifaith spaces are very simple in appearance in order to be easily adaptable to the many different practices. With each space there comes the question of ethics and "national styles" in which different faith members can take part in a respectful yet cooperative manner.
Interfaith Youth Cooperation
U.S. President Barack Obama, in the fall of 2011 launched the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge in which he encourages interfaith cooperation and community service, using service as a tool to build common ground between faith groups. This creates a community from which to launch peaceful and productive dialogue. After the program launch, approximately 250 colleges and universities made “the vision for interfaith cooperation and community service a reality on campuses across the country.”
According to the Interfaith Youth Core this movement is using campuses as a model. Campuses make good models because they can be categorized as somewhat diverse communities, are active in community service work, and take an important role in the larger community. The acts and behaviors of students can impact a campus environment and climate, which then in the long run can have an impact over society encouraging people to work together. Campuses across the world join this movement to foster interfaith cooperation.
Better Together is a national student campaign for interfaith action. This is a student campaign allowing students to engage and voice their opinions in working together toward bettering the community. Better Together creates leadership rooted in a person’s beliefs, builds community no matter how different those beliefs may seem, and that strong community is able to serve others.
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- Hewson, Chris (January 1, 2010). "Multi-faith Spaces: Symptoms and Agents of Religious and Social Change". University of Manchester. Retrieved February 2013.
- Hewson, Chris (January 1, 2010). "Multi-faith Spaces: Symptoms and Agents of Religious and Social Change". University of Manchester. Retrieved February 20, 2013.
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- "Student leaders are the foundation to leading the next chapter in the inspiring story of interfaith."
- "IFYC on Campus". Interfaith Youth Cooperation. Retrieved February 20, 2013.
- "Better Together". Interfaith Youth Cooperation. Retrieved February 20, 2013.