Faith and Peace-building: A Bigger Vision

Published: 04 June 2018

At school I was taught the saying: ‘Ignorance is bliss’. I do not believe this at all! Ignorance is not bliss and is one of the chief reasons that create mistrust between communities. If we are to celebrate our amazing diversity we need to learn about those who are different from us. This was how the apartheid state in South Africa tried to control by separating communities based on race. This created massive mistrust and anger. The assumptions created by insularity and separation led to major conflicts and many lost their lives in the violence perpetrated by the state and its opponents.

I can honestly state that I now know more about other faith communities as well as communities like the LGBT and Roma communities. It is my hope that my new learning will help me appreciate others who are different in some ways and yet share a common humanity. And in this way we can also help each other to learn the ways of mutual respect, work for fairness and justice in our society and together serve those who are vulnerable in our city. These are deeply spiritual values which most, if not all people, embrace in one way or another.

On Sunday 29 July our third Peace and Unity event will be hosted by Jackson’s Row Synagogue in the city. This has been a great opportunity to celebrate our diverse cultures, faiths, as well as with those who do not embrace any particular faith tradition. It is simply a way to have some fun, enjoy each other’s company and build friendship and unity. And in this small way we try to build peace in our city. Rabbi Bobby Silverman is a wonderful colleague and I am grateful to him and the Jewish community at his synagogue for hosting this inter-faith event. Let’s spread this message of celebrating our diversity and build peace. Let us never be ignorant about difference. We owe it to our children and those who will come after them!

Shalom!

Rogers Govender, Dean of Manchester
 

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