The innovative Birmingham Faith Map, a unique website, was launched during Interfaith Week, at Birmingham Anglican Cathedral, by Birmingham City Councillor Alan Rudge, Cabinet Member for Equalities and Human Resources.
The launch, hosted by the Dean of Birmingham, the Very Reverend Catherine Ogle, was attended by members of the Birmingham Faith Leaders Group, and the Faith Round Table, on Tuesday morning, 22 November.
Archbishop Bernard Longley had been summoned to Rome for ecumenical meetings but Canon Gerry Breen, Dean of the Metropolitan Cathedral & Basilica of St Chad, was present together with Fr Timothy Menezes, the Vicar General.
The Birmingham Faith Map www.birminghamfaithmap.org.uk was developed by Councillor Alan Rudge working in conjunction with members of his Faith Round Table.
Successful consultation took place during 2010 and 2011 across Birmingham’s 10 constituencies. More than 660 places of worship and gathering were contacted and invited to support the Birmingham Faith Map project.
During his address Councillor Rudge explained: “The Faith Round Table is a bridge between Birmingham City Council and the diverse communities it serves, and continues to foster good relationships between different faiths, which are the key to good community cohesion.”
Councillor Rudge emphasised that the Birmingham Faith Map website would: “Build bridges of communication between different faith communities; help people who are new to Birmingham find a local place of worship; open and maintain communication links between Birmingham City Council and places of worship in Birmingham; and support inter-faith activity and initiatives.”
Councillor Rudge said that he valued and recognised the important role that faith communities play within Birmingham: “They are at the heart of the city and help to support the on-going cohesion and integration between communities.”
Councillor Rudge added: “The homepage provides information explaining the purpose of the Faith Map. From this page, users have a wide range of options to access information: search by postcode, by faith, and by constituency/ward. The Birmingham Faith Map uses Google Maps.
“Unlike a static document the Birmingham Faith Map can be updated with the latest information and augmented with films and interactive sites if required. Feedback, questions and suggestions are most welcome”
Councillor Alan Rudge concluded: “The Birmingham Faith Map places Birmingham City Council at the forefront of innovation and creativity to assist effective community engagement and involvement.”
The Right Reverend David Urquhart, the Anglican Bishop of Birmingham gave a short address during which he said: “People of faith make a distinctive contribution to a harmonious society.”
Bishop Urquhart then led a time of prayer, as is usual each day at noon in Birmingham Cathedral.