We therefore invite all religious leaders and teachers, and all people of faith, to cultivate a practice of friendship to others, across the divides that have kept many religious communities apart for centuries, respecting and embracing the difference of the religious other.
By practicing friendship we grow together in the values for which our traditions have aspired, internally: respect, care, understanding, sharing, mutuality, and collaboration. We seek to change the ecology of relations, so that these qualities are also applied between diverse faith communities.
- We commit ourselves to practice, study, and encourage the practice of friendship across religions, extending it further to friendship beyond religion, and to our common home, as friends of the planet.
- We commit ourselves to set examples of interreligious friendship for our communities to follow.
- We commit ourselves to make visible gestures of friendship with leaders or members of another tradition.
- We commit ourselves to offer teachings that will uphold the value of friendship between religions and to disseminate them within our traditions.
- We commit ourselves to adapt this broad vision to the particular language and beliefs of our traditions and to their needs.
- We commit ourselves to establish and support educational frameworks and programmes within our traditions and institutions that will provide opportunities to enhance genuine understanding of the religious other and the cultivation of friendship. We seek a wiser and better informed practice of our own faith as well as wiser understanding of the faith of the other.
- We commit ourselves to create a climate that is conducive to the spread of friendship, including support for religious freedom.
- Our commitment is expressed publicly by signing this declaration and recommending the practice of friendship both to leaders and to members of our communities, thereby making this declaration more than just another statement to be signed.
The Practice of Friendship
Friends learn to know each other, practice solidarity in times of need, and speak out for one another. Friendship is built on loving, sharing, listening, and respect. Friends pray for one another, deepening their friendship and lifting it up in the sight of God.
By risking friendships across deep differences we can help to heal our world’s divisions and conflicts. By entering into the wisdom of each other’s traditions, we can deepen mutual understanding and sensitivity.
Friendship across religions calls us to bring to light the higher virtues of our traditions and to practice them generously.
Friendship across religions can empower and give shape to a quest shared by many religions to work towards the preservation of the earth, our common home.
Friendship across religions allows us to draw on the accumulated wisdom and understanding of friendship found in our respective traditions and to make it available for the common good.
Finally, as we recognize from our experience, friendship is to be treasured for its own sake, and is a source of pleasure, joy, laughter, enrichment, inspiration, growth, self-understanding, trust, support, and personal flourishing.