We’re Walking on Sunshine
5 GoodGymers made their way to help the Luton Council of Faiths in Luton.
- Saturday, 23rd of September 2023
It was a beautifully sunny afternoon and a fabulous five GoodGymers assembled at The Church of Our Lady Help of Christians in London Road. Musa was first to arrive and soon got started on car park duty. He was joined by Gill who got stationed at the main entrance to direct cars into the car park and help people arriving on foot into the front entrance of the church. It wasn’t long before Rebecca and Charmaine arrived and we were really pleased to welcome Isaac, a GoodGymer from Lewisham. He was visiting Luton for the weekend and decided to sign up for our task before seeing his friends.
The task was to steward the walkers and to ensure that the adults and children would get safely across the roads and to the different venues .
The Peace Walk was organised by Luton Council of Faiths to bring people from all backgrounds together to develop fellowship and understanding of one another. Faith leaders were joined by the Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, MPs Sarah Owen and Rachel Hopkins and former MP Kelvin Hopkins, the Mayor - Councillor Mohammed Yaqub Hanif, Bishop Richard - Bishop of Bedford, children from Luton Schools and so many people from across the communities in Luton.
All were welcomed by Fr Brendan who was delighted that the walk was starting from this neo-gothic 19th century church, and that events like this would “help us grow in our understanding of one another.” Riyadh, one of the organisers, spoke about the people “coming together to walk side by side in peace and harmony.”
We then helped shepherd the gathered people along London Road to Luton Christian Fellowship where we were welcomed by Pastor Mike. LCF was built in 1896 and originally served the people of Chapel Langley as a Primitive Methodist Church but was then bought by Elim Pentecostal Church and transformed into the Luton Christian Fellowship. There were presentations from Chantry and Ramridge Primary Schools and from the young people involved with the Near Neighbours’ Catalyst Programme who spoke impressively of the impact of the programme and the people from across communities they had met through it.
From there we escorted the walkers the to Turkish Education Centre and Mosque. Imam Telfic spoke to us about Islam and the connections with other faiths through the prophets such as Adam, Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Abdul Latif gave a moving demonstration of the call to prayer, explaining its meaning and significance. Many of us had been totally unaware that there was a Turkish Center here and has been for 15 years. Sarah Owen MP spoke to the children about what a special place Luton is where people can celebrate and share their faith and no faith in peace with one another. As we left we were treated to some fresh Turkish delight.
And for the final venue we accompanied the walkers to the Shri Guru Ravidass gurudwara where they have recently celebrated their 40th anniversary. We gathered in front of Guru Granth Sahib and the first chapter was read out to us and it was explained how the Sikh faith was based on equality and respect for all. Rachel Hopkins MP spoke about “people’s shared values of tolerance and respect in all our diversity” before we were invited downstairs to the kitchen for a meal of pakora, samosas, fruit and biscuits with lots of time to talk with one another. It was a really joyous occasion, and we are hopeful that we can be involved next year.
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