A ''romantic phase'' that has brought Christian, Muslim
and other faiths together since the September 11 attacks is now
ripe for consummation, a visiting Methodist minister and
British Labour Party politician says.
''It's very nice the faiths have come to the point they've
got to,'' the Rev Dr Lord Leslie Griffiths said.
''They're talking to each other now, doing things with each
other now, enjoying each other's company now.
''This isn't far enough.''
Lord Griffiths is in Dunedin for about a week, and has been
involved in the National Interfaith Forum, held at the
weekend at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in
Next Monday, he is due to give the Otago Tertiary Chaplaincy
and Dunedin Abrahamic Interfaith Group peace lecture.
Originally from Wales, he spent the 1970s serving in Haiti, a
country he still cares about and tries to help through his
As the Superintendent Minister of Wesley's Chapel in London,
Lord Griffiths is the 59th successor of John Wesley, who
founded the Methodist denomination in the 18th century, and
is ''the guardian of his bones''.
The columnist and broadcaster this week said the time had
come for people of various faiths to recognise ''they mustn't
just sit and enjoy each other's company''.
''They've got to identify pieces of social action that they
can undertake together.''
That meant getting together to make the world a better place
in areas of human rights, justice and peace.
Despite the differences in the faiths, there was one thing
major religions had in common, Lord Griffiths said.
''I think that the three religions, Jews, Muslims and
Christians, increasingly come to talk about things that way:
we don't have different gods, we have the one God.''
The Hindu religion, with many gods, and Buddhists, who
''don't talk about God very much at all'', were different.
''Mutual respect is the way we work with them.''
The life peer in the House of Lords, where he sits with the
Labour Party, is in a somewhat unusual position of being a
working cleric in politics.
That came after an invitation from former prime minister Tony
Blair, something Lord Griffiths said he neither expected, nor
He had the opportunity to be a ''cross-bencher'', a neutral
member of the House of Lords who votes on conscience.
''But I was quite clear I wanted to join the Labour Party in
the Lords because I thought I didn't want to go into the
political arena and not do the politics.
''I love doing politics.
''And secondly, I think politics is too important to leave to
He will talk to the Labour group in Parliament today and
preach at Knox Church in Dunedin on Sunday.