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Oxford joins together in friendship

Hundreds of people gathered in Oxford last night to join together in humanity and friendship. 

The event, at Oxford Town Hall, brought together faith leaders from across the city to share at times emotional readings, songs and prayers reflecting on peace and solidarity for those who are currently living in conflict here and overseas.

Imam Monawar Hussain, co-chair of the Oxfordshire Civic, Community and Faith Leaders’ Group, opened proceedings by remembering ‘all those who have lost loved ones in the horror of conflict’ concluding: “All human life is sacred.” This followed a welcome from Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council,

As well as readings from representatives from Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, and Bahá’í faiths, children from Christ Church Cathedral School sang a moving rendition of Make Me a Channel of Your Peace accompanied by Julia Hollander from the University Church and the Revd Dr Charlotte Bannister-Parker. Alexander Massey from the Oxford Jewish Congregation, sang a Jewish song which ended with the words ‘when shalom descends our enemies become our friends’ and in a poignant moment, the Revd Esther Lay led the audience in singing Bob Dylan’s peace anthem Blowin’ in the Wind. 

The event, which was held as part of a nationwide movement organised by the Together Coalition, concluded with those gathered being encouraged to stand and make a pledge for peace, led by three students Isaac Sallé, of the Oxford Jewish Congregation, Catherine Andrews, of the Oxford Christian Community, and Bilal Khan, of the Oxford Muslim Community. 

Closing the event, Bishop Steven, co-chair of the Oxfordshire Civic, Community and Faith Leaders’ Group, said: “When we leave tonight, I hope that we will want to tell the story of a wonderful gathering where people came together in a time of national and international sorrow.”

Afterwards, a cake baked for the occasion, was shared by the attendees who were encouraged to get to know their neighbours and make new friends. 

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Page last updated: Tuesday 23rd January 2024 2:36 PM
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