May I call you friend?

How can Christians share their faith with those of otherreligions? What is the relationship between dialogue andevangelism? How can people of different faiths work together toserve their communities? These are just some of the issues that areaddressed in May I Call You Friend?; a new resource designed tohelp Christians to consider the issues involved in sharing theirfaith with those of other religions.

This book is the result of work by the Inter Faith Relations andEvangelism Strategy Groups of the Methodist Church who have spenttwo years exploring these questions together. The process involvedmembers listening hard to different approaches and Dr ElizabethHarris, Methodist Secretary for Inter Faith Relations, said;'Despite being a very diverse group, we found that we had more incommon that we first thought. We all felt that to be able to shareour faith with someone of another culture or faith, we need tofirst be able to listen and to understand their perspective, onlythen can we talk about Christianity in ways that make sense.Courtesy and respect are absolutely vital.'

May I Call You Friend? is designed for use by small groups andcontains guidance for discussion about six key subjects:conversion; community action; presence; sharing stories; prayer;worship and listening; and talking of God. Each session has 2 casestudies such as the story of the Yorkshire Methodist church thathas seen the emergence of a Farsi-speaking congregation, all ofwhom have a Muslim background. There are also Bible studies andquestions that will provoke vigorous discussion.

At the end of the book is a section encouraging the groups to 'turnwords into action', providing resources for dialogue andevangelism, including useful websites. In addition to this, May ICall You Friend? includes suggestions for projects and resourcesfor further exploration of the subject. There are also two paperswritten by members of the working group, which set out theprinciples on which the work is based; one about inter faithdialogue and the other about evangelism.

The Revd Graham Horsley, Methodist Secretary for Evangelism andChurch Planting, who was involved in the project, said; 'Thisresource provides a great opportunity for individuals and groups totackle some tricky questions. But we hope that people won't justleave it there Ð we want them to consider how they can use thelessons they've learnt in their local communities'.