“Acting Together for One World In Peace”
This was the theme of Redbridge Faith Forum’s Multi-faith Walk which took place on Sunday 23rd October in Central Ilford to mark the start of One World Week. Overall around 100 people participated, including Redbridge Mayor Councillor Gurdial Bhamra, Councillors, Faith-leaders and representatives from all the major faiths in the borough and local residents. Walkers were made welcome at five faith venues where, as well as enjoying hospitality, the opportunity was given to consider what contribution each individual as well as communities can make to making the world a more peaceful place.
It was encouraging and inspiring to hear at each venue how the teachings of their faith had led the speakers to consider how important it is that each individual acts responsibly and considerately to work towards peace with their neighbours, and the implications of this for our homes, communities and places of worship.
A booklet was distributed giving a description of the beliefs of the main religions and including prayers for peace. At each venue a prayer was said.
The Walk started from the Buddhist Vihara in Balfour Road, where after a very warm welcome from both the Chair of Redbridge Faith Forum, Jacquie Grieve and the Redbridge Mayor a group of young people shared Buddhist teachings on peace. Rev Hemaratana invited representatives of different communities to light a candle whilst the priests intoned a chant. Plentiful refreshments were available to fortify the walkers.
The next venue was the Hindu Temple in Cleveland Road where Vinaya Sharma welcomed everyone and spoke about peace from the Hindu perspective and the Mayor also took the opportunity to speak to the walkers.
The next venue, Ilford Islamic Centre was just a few minutes walk around the corner in Albert Road and everyone was welcomed by the Imam who introduced two young people who spoke about peace from the Islamic perspective, the equality of men and women and the unity of the human race. As there was not a synagogue on the route in Central Ilford the Islamic Centre had kindly offered that their premises be shared with the Jewish community. Rabbi Larry Becker shared his thoughts from the Biblical account of Jacob and his brother Esau who had quarrelled and separated but were later reconciled after an encounter in which they had initially felt fear that they may be killed and anxiety that they may kill the other. He followed this by sharing the true story of an anti-Semitic murderer whose mother had written to the Jewish victim’s mother seeking forgiveness. After this was received he went on to save 800 Jews from Nazi persecution. Some people took the opportunity to visit the Mosque opposite the Islamic Centre whilst others enjoyed refreshments before continuing the walk.
Walkers arriving at Vine United Reform Church were greeted with the most melodious joyful singing from the Congolese choir followed by a warm welcome from Rev Francis Ackroyd. He introduced a group of Vine Church young people who re-enacted the Parable of the Good Samaritan and then shared their thoughts on peace. Members of another Christian congretion that meets at the Vine Church, displayed their artwork on peace. This was followed by an uplifting short musical recital in French by another congregation who meet at the church.
The final destination was the Karamsar Gurdwara where everyone was invited to enter the prayer room. They received a warm welcome from Satwinder Singh a member Gurdwara Management Committe, then enjoyed an informative presentation about peace from Sikh Young People.
The Walk proved to be a wonderful time of sharing and Redbridge Faith Forum is very grateful to all the faith communities who graciously opened their doors in welcome and to everyone who participated.
Comments received in feedback about the event:-
“What a privilege to live in a community so diverse, and yet united in our gift of faith, love and friendship”
“A wonderful event! So many pople,so many faiths walking together with love, respect and co-operation – learning about each other and each faith’s commitment to peace”
“Multi-faith walk as always is a wonderful time of being together. The message of peaceis greatly admired that needs to spread around the world.”
“This walk to different places of worship has been a wonderful experience of hospitality, diversity and commonalities”
“Enjoyable enlightening experience during the walk. Helps build a sense of community and a sense of camaraderie”
“Really good event with a really good theme of peace which every faith believes in. Hope this will continue and grow. Loved the involvment of young people in presentations. Let’s continue to build bridges!”
“Lovely event, such interesting talks to enlighten and inform us at each venue. Made very welcome by all.”
“As always, an inspiring experience”