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The BRAINTREE DISTRICT INTERFAITH FORUM developed from an initiative of the Braintree District Council in 2009, which expressed a preference for having a single point of contact for seeking the views of Faith groups. The  inaugural meeting of the Forum was held in the Spring of 2010.

The name is usually abbreviated to B-Diff, which can be read as :

“Be Different”

Braintree District is a region of north Essex, covering about 250 square miles, which lies to the north of the city of Chelmsford and west of Colchester. Its northern boundary is the border between Essex and Suffolk. Braintree District is a largely rural region, with three market towns - Braintree, Witham and Halstead - and many villages, hamlets and farms. Of religious faiths represented in the District, the Christian faith is numerically predominant .

B-Diff is constituted with a small Executive Group comprised of members of different faiths within the District. The Executive is appointed from the membership of B-Diff, which includes other representatives of the various faiths who live, work and/or worship within the Braintree District. In addition we have contacts with Faith groups in other parts of Essex.

Membership of B-Diff is free, but entitles the members to vote at the Annual General Meeting. The Executive arranges Forum meetings with a varied programme enabling members to review the aims of B-Diff, explore issues, learn about each other, share experiences, and plan events for interaction with the wider community. There have been opportunities to share in multi-faith RE input for local schools. At Forum meetings (which are open to members and non-members) there have been presentations on various aspects of prejudice; individuals have expressed what for them is most important in their faith; speakers have shared the interfaith experiences they have known in very different communities. We have learned about differing traditions of Pilgrimage; we have played “The Diversity Game”. In March 2013 the Indian music group Chakarda presented “Indian Dimensions”, an evening of Indian Melody, Rhythm and food, which drew in many people who had previously not known about B-Diff.

During the Week of Prayer for World Peace in October 2014 a well-attended open meeting of devotional readings and music from a wide range of cultures and faiths on the theme of PEACE was held in the Braintree Town Hall Centre. A similar event with the theme CARE AND COMPASSION was held during Inter Faith Week, November 2015. Members of B-Diff took part in an Essex-wide Interfaith Gathering in Colchester on November 19th 2016. During the Covid-19 pandemic from March 2020 it was not possible to hold face-to-face meetings; instead a monthly series of contributions about Faiths Festivals and Commemorations, prepared by local faith leaders and adherents, has been circulated to all members and contacts of B-Diff.

Our priorities are that those already involved shall grow in love and understanding of one another, that B-Diff should become more widely known and accepted by the wider faith communities, and that we should develop an increasingly pro-active role within the overall civic and social life of our community.

Our Mission Statement:

“To build unity and influence

out of diversity”.