Launch of the National Centre of Religious Education for Wales at the Eisteddfod
On Sunday 6 August 2023 in the Bangor University Tent at the Llŷn and Eifionydd National Eisteddfod, the National Centre for Religious Education in Wales was launched in the company of the Centre's new co-directors, some of its Board members, and a very interesting guest speaker.
The National Centre of Religious Education for Wales has existed in various forms since 1979, when it was first established by Rheinallt Thomas. With the passing of the years, the Centre has evolved as society has changed and different aspects manifested themselves. And recently, two lecturers from Bangor University have been appointed co-directors of the Centre: Dr Joshua Andrews (lecturer in Ethics and Religion) and Dr Gareth Evans-Jones (lecturer in Philosophy and Religion).
During the launch held in the Bangor University tent at the National Eisteddfod in Boduan this year, Dr Joshua Andrews and Dr Gareth Evans-Jones provided a detailed overview of the Centre's composition, intention and objectives. In essence, the aim of the Centre is to promote religious and social education in Wales, by emphasizing the importance of learning about different religions, different perspectives, different cultures, and different worldviews that can be found in our society today. At the heart of the presentation was the importance of striving to ensure tolerance, respect and cooperation for the vast diversity in our society. The Centre will focus on Wales but it will also collaborate with religious education, values and ethics centres in other parts of Britain.
Dr Gareth Evans-Jones said: 'The Centre is founded on respecting the diversity that characterizes our society today. There have been significant changes in the number of people who practice different religions, and all kinds of developments have been felt in social ethics, philosophy, and values. Therefore, we are keen to promote an attitude which recognizes this vast diversity, which respects it, and which encourages people to ensure that tolerance and appreciation characterize their engagement with others in our society all the time. There are those who follow religion, there are those who don't. Some have specific views, others different. But we are all people living in the same society, and that is what is worth remembering.'
The Centre has a dynamic and diverse management board with expertise in primary and secondary education, and faith schools, together with representatives of early career teachers, and there were presentations from a number of different members during the launch, including an inspiring address from Modlen Lynch, who has been training generations of effective teachers; energetic words from Emilia Johnson, who is a Religious Education teacher at the beginning of her career and who is full of enthusiasm to develop a relationship between various proffesional and pedagogical circles; and a sincere presentation by Daniel Latham, who is keen to see inter-faith conversations develop in the coming years.