Last week, on Monday 27 November, the School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion at the University of Birmingham hosted the UK’s first ever ‘Mayoral Faith Summit’.  

Speaker at podium

Organised by the Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, the summit brought together more than 450 representatives from various faith groups across the region to help inform the Mayor’s policies about social issues which affect different faith groups.

The summit centred around four themes, which formed the basis of lively and informative discussion during structured breakout sessions. These were:

  • Homelessness
  • Hate crime
  • Leadership
  • Faith and the economy

The summit featured short presentations around the four themes, from:

  • Stephen Philpott, of St Basils homeless charity, Birmingham
  • The Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands, David Jamieson
  • The Chair of the Mayor’s Leadership Commission, Anita Bhalla OBE
  • The Right Reverend David Urquhart, The Bishop of Birmingham and a Member of the Banking Standards Board

A framework of proposals aimed at tackling these issues, which will draw on ideas discussed by delegates, will now be prepared by the Mayor’s office for the New Year.

The Great Hall in the Aston Webb building

During his own presentation, the Mayor outlined his commitment to supporting a leadership programme for young activists between 18 and 24 years old. Delegates will attend a two-day advance leadership training course, jointly run by the University of Birmingham and the University of Wolverhampton.

The conference was generously supported by the Edward Cadbury Centre for the Public Understanding of Religion at the University of Birmingham and the Westhill Trust, a charity that supports religious education projects and other faith-based activities.