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Equality North East

Churches challenged over equalities forum walk-out

Representatives of six major church bodies have been challenged to reconsider their position in relation to an equalities forum from which they walked away earlier this month, after criticising the stance of non-religious groups.

The Church of England, the Salvation Army, the Methodist Church, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, the Free Churches’ Group and the ecumenical body Churches Together in Britain and Ireland left the Religion and Belief Consultative Group (RBCG), without prior notice, in a move that the Rev Peter Colwell of CTBI says they hope “will precipitate the folding up of the group” - according to a report in The Times.

The RBCG was established in 2004 to provide a joint framework for faith communities and non-religious belief organisations to keep in touch with developments on equality issues.

It has been a reference group for the religion and belief representatives on the Steering Group for the Equality and Human Rights Commission. It receives no government funding and attendance is by agreement, though some suggest that it has acquired a “semi-formal” role.

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April 1, 2010

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