Newbury Community Marks A Week of Prayer for World Peace
To mark the Week of Prayer for World Peace Muslims and Christians in Newbury and Thatcham demonstrated their friendship and solidarity by attending each other’s religious services.
Fr Paul and Howard Grace, a member of Newbury Quakers, attended Friday Prayers in Thatcham last week as guests of the local Muslim community, and Mohammad Tahir, Shahzad Nadeem along with other members of the local Muslim community joined St George’s for the Sunday service.
Fr Paul Cowan said of the event,
‘There are many events happening across th e world that can too easily generate fear, distrust and division between people of different faiths and cultures. After the tragic murder of the Roman Catholic priest, Fr. Jacques Hamel’s in northern France back in July, I was struck by the positive power of photographs the following week showing Muslims attending Christian services of worship as an act of solidarity. What a perfect response to those who wish to sow division and hate. This has been our own small act of that same solidarity locally. My grateful thanks to our Muslim friends for their warmth of welcome.’
Mohammad Tahir said,
‘There are striking similarities between people of all religions, which becomes apparent when we attend each other’s’ religious ceremonies. And on a deeper level, we are all humans, we are all from the same race. There has always been more that unites us than what divides, but attempts of instilling hate and distance between people of varying cultures, ethnicities and religions can sometimes fog those elements of commonality. We do have our differences, but this continuum of personalities, background, cultures, beliefs makes the human race beautiful. Unity does not mean uniformity. Attending the church, was an enlightening, delightful and spiritual experience. I loved the ‘sharing of peace’ which was a powerful reminder that we all belong to one human family. Sitting in an Anglican church, there was a contrast between my belief, ethnicity and background with that of the other participants, but I did not feel distant, I felt that I am with my human family.’