Birmingham Inter Faiths Council was founded in November 1974 with the original purpose of acting as an official platform for matters of concern to members of the various faith groups then settling locally in significant numbers. Later it changed its name to Birmingham Council of Faiths (BCF). Over the decades more faiths than the founding six have applied for recognition and BCF currently represent Baha’is, Buddhists, Christians, Confucians, Hindus, Jains, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs and Zoroastrians. Many more than these are found among its wider membership.
The larger faith groups eventually set up official bodies of their own but the Council has continued to fulfil its stated aim of promoting understanding and maintaining harmonious relations between people of different faiths in a city that is among the most cosmopolitan in Europe.
BCF has had to review its activities and purpose from time to time in order to meet changing circumstances. At the start of 2007 a new strategy was adopted to be more inclusive of the wide range of different multi-faith groups operating across the city and to serve as an interfaith hub. Partner organisations can be contacted via our projects page and news of their interfaith events appears on the events page.
A new constitution was also adopted in 2007 to bring BCF in line with the latest Charity law.
At the same time, BCF remains a grass-roots organisation drawn from the small but vital number in all faith groups interested not only in informing themselves about the beliefs and practice of others but, through dialogue, in celebrating or composing difference.
BCF’s membership is connected to Birmingham by living, working or worshipping there. Although the Council’s main purpose is to network with those of other faiths in the city and those who are interested in religion, it is affiliated nationally to the Inter Faith Network UK and regionally to the West Midlands Faiths Forum. At a local level, representatives serve on the Be Birmingham strategic partnership and on the Third Sector Assembly.
Beside its elected officers, representatives from the nine affiliated faiths serve on the BCF committee. This meets monthly to consider business and there are also are a number of sub-groups. Chairmanship rotates alphabetically by faith, with the former office-holder acting as Advisory Chair and next year’s as Vice Chair. In addition, the Lord Mayor has customarily been invited to serve as Honorary President and attends the Annual General Meeting.
BCF’s Detailed History
A detailed history paper can be downloaded by clicking here.