Religion and belief are driving forces today. Society is not about to return to the past when religion and religious authorities dominated. It is clear, though, that they raise issues that have urgently to be addressed. The religious landscape in this country has been transformed in the last few decades and now includes a large proportion of people who identify themselves as not religious, and censuses and surveys suggest this proportion is increasing rapidly. At the same time there is a growth in religions other than Christianity,and in branches of Christianity such as the Evangelical and Pentecostal churches.

There has been general agreement that in today’s society it is essential not only to understand religion and belief but also to reflect on how they interact with each other at local and national levels. Indeed, it is only with such an understanding that communities can be sustained, and that people can live with difference and contribute to the common good.

The Woolf Institute believe this is an important report and ask that its findings be widely considered across the political spectrum by policy makers, government officials, religious leaders and the wider public.