Acts of Violence Against People of Belief


My role within the Interfaith Contact Group (IFCG) recently switched from Secretary to Co-Chair, a position I share with Kate Williamson. Now Charlotte Gravestock, who was Secretary before, is Secretary again after eight years. It’s no exaggeration to say that both Kate and Charlotte are inspired.

Hove Methodist Church

The Interfaith Contact Group of Brighton and Hove is in itself an inspirational organisation, a microcosm of all that is best in the worldwide interfaith movement. It’s harmonious, peaceful and wise.

But being involved in an interfaith organisation is not all sweetness and light. One of the sorrows of belonging is being so very aware to the horrors of people of belief being killed, tortured or maimed for who they are and what they believe in. It is so very strange that within the human mind, another person’s beliefs are reckoned to be so bad and inferior to one’s own that one feels the need to kill them. Do those people who set out one sunny day to blow-up innocent men, women and children ever have any self-doubt? I wonder. This evening the IFCG will be holding a peace vigil in Hove Methodist Church at 6pm, honouring the people who died in Sri-Lanka, and next Wednesday, May 1st, we will hold our monthly Interfaith Peace Prayers at the Baha’i Centre in Stanford Avenue from 6pm to 7pm. Loving, sacred words, which draw people of all faiths and none are becoming increasingly important… and needed.

Here’s a prayer I produced for the vigil this evening:

When we lose spirits of faith
Caught up in a moment
Of sacred celebration
We lose so much of ourselves
And so, we feel abandoned

The departed pass on…
Holding belief in their hearts
Christian, Jew and Muslim
Buddhist, Atheist and Pagan
They continue their journey of mystery
But we, the survivors are left behind

It seems that energy, soul and belief
Life and love have gone for good
Because of the bad…
Known or unknown…
Companions go unheard and unseen
And so, we feel forsaken

And as we stand on the shore
Watching the tide shift gently
So very gently
We witness the change from being
To non-being
And we feel adrift and abandoned

And some will want revenge
And others are too bereft to think
And the rest will seek to know
And there is sorrow and desolation

But the truth lies in all of us
Those that have departed
And those that remain

It is buried… so deep
That when we come to our moment
Of knowing why they left us
We realise that there was no staying or leaving
We were, and are and will be…
We were never alone, never abandoned
And never destroyed
For we are as one
And the story has no end


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