Faith, the Climate Emergency & Water – Walk of Peace 19 September 2021

After careful consideration the Annual Walk of Peace, organised by Redbridge Faith Forum (RFF), took place on Sunday 19th September 2021.

The theme of the walk was “Faith, the Climate Emergency and Water”.  This had been decided and agreed by the Trustees as we had all seen in various countries around the world. and on our own doorsteps the dire situation both lack of and surfeit of water had caused.

Before the walk formally got underway, there was a performance of several water themed songs by the Redbridge Music Lounge. The site for the performance was chosen as it was close to the Cranbrook, an ancient stream which runs through the park and emerges in Cranbrook Road. Over the years the stream has seen a high degree of pollution but is thankfully now returning to the life supporting stream it once was  

Just before 1.00 pm, the group reconvened at the Holocaust Memorial Garden a short distance away. The walkers were welcomed by the The Worshipful The Mayor of Redbridge, Cllr Roy Emmett and Redbridge Faith Forum Chair, Mohamed Omer.

At the Memorial, Rabbi Tali spoke movingly about the situation regarding water in Israel and how the authorities had worked to preserve and conserve this precious resource.

From here around 70 walkers made their way along Cranbrook Road to the Buddhist Vihara where we were welcomed by Reverend Hemaratana and his congregation. At the Vihara we heard from two  young members of the congregation who spoke about the links between water and the teachings of the Buddha. It was particularly good that these young people had taken the time to carefully explain how we, as stewards of the Earth and it resources, have such an important role to play in preserving the environment. This theme would be repeated at each of our stops.

We also heard from Cllr Jo Blackman, who leads on the council on environmental issues, what part the council are playing and what we can do to help.

It was interesting that during these talks there was heavy rain which although an inconvenience to us did not deter the walkers as we headed for the next venue.

At the VHP Hindu Temple, we were welcomed by Redbridge Faith Forum Vice-Chair, Vinaya Sharma. She again, following our themes explained the Hindu understanding and in particular the symbiotic relationship of the rivers and the seas.

Our next stop was the Islamic Centre in Albert Road. Our hosts led by Ghafanzar Ali, welcomed us with both refreshments and food. There were again presentations from two young people who, referring to the words of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and from readings from the Holy Quran gave us a beautiful insight to how we again must look after the wonderful gifts we have been given. Climate change -Perspective Bangladesh by Cllr Khaled Noor  Cllr Khaled Noor shared his thoughts and experience of the effects of climate change to Bangladesh and there was opportunity for all to view an exhibition of photographs taken in Bangladesh by Redbridge Faith Forum Member and Volunteer, Peter Musgrave.

After leaving the Islamic Centre the group made its way along the Ilford Green Corridor taking in the only green space in Ilford Town Centre. All were invited to think about ways that we could further ‘green’ our local areas.

Our penultimate stop was at the Church of St Mary the Virgin in the High Road where the Parish Priest Fr Gareth Jones and the Area Dean Fr Martyn Hawkes gave us an insight into both what they had done to improves the environmental impact of the church and grounds and also the importance of water in Christian initiation.

The final stop was at the Karamsar Centre which, thankfully was very close by, where we were greeted by Harmander Singh. He gave a very good presentation regarding the importance of water in Sikh life and how this is impacting on those farmers working the ground in very difficult conditions in the Punjab.

Following his presentation, all were invited to partake in a hearty vegetarian meal and hopefully went home refreshed of spirit and of body!

Our sincere thanks go to our Lead Organiser, Peter Musgrave, our local PCSO’s  and our Volunteer Marshalls who provided support during the walk, all the various venue hosts who welcomed everyone so warmly, the speakers young and not so young who shared their wisdom with us and most of all, our stalwart supporters who walked alongside each other in the expectation that  governments will listen and act to preserve the world and all its peoples.