GRASSROOTS was proud to once again support the 20th Annual Peace Walk organised by Luton Council of Faiths (LCoF) which was held on 24th September 2016 starting at 2pm at the Luton Town Hall War Memorial. The planning and work had started way back in January 2016, bringing together key faith leaders and engaging them with schools and the community. This year’s hosts were Shree Ravidaas Bhawan Sikh Temple on Cardigan Street, Luton Central Mosque on Westbourne Road and All Saints Church on Shaftesbury Road.
Primary schools namely St Martin De Porres, Chantry Academy, St Joseph Catholic, Maidenhall, Beech Hill, Hillborough Junior, Farley Hill Junior, St Margaret of Scotland, St Matthews, Wenlock CofE Junior, Ramridge and Bushmead responded positively to the school engagement programme set by LCoF during the summer term. Over two thousand pupils benefited, especially in the school assemblies by discussions held in a BBC style show, on the Religious Education (RE) theme ‘what will make our town more respectful?’ This has been a ground breaking initiative where we have had panels of local faith leaders to demonstrate how they are working together for the common good, hence providing an alternative to the negative portrayal of our town and of religion provided by the media, focusing only on war and extremism. During the panel discussions, tough questions were asked by the pupils such as ‘When will religions Unite, why do you argue or fight? Do you always agree? Why are we different etc?
Many schools also joined as a collective in the Character and Value Development Workshops. These workshops were delivered by screening the Kung Fu Panda movie to prompt discussions around what lessons could be learnt and practically applying them to one’s life journey.
The most iconic activity however, has been the ‘Breath of the Compassionate’ mosaic tile artwork made from scratch and led by Artist-Potter Moriam Grillo, with a William Morris inspired theme. Children learnt about William Morris and come with inspired drawings to be printed on the tiles. The sessions cut across art, history, geography, maths and science showing the children combining arts, culture and sciences into a beautiful piece of art. Nearly 5000 pieces of tiles were made with communities across Luton, who participated in this activity with great enjoyment towards the end of summer.
The Peace Walk day was a showcase of these great community initiatives and many more, giving participants an opportunity to expand their horizon, by also visiting different places of worship that people would probably never have had a chance to visit and ask questions about. Great hospitality was extended on the day at each place of worship, thus sharing cultures and blending into British traditions at All Saints Church with a range of activities, from unveiling the mosaic artwork in the newly developed Peace Garden and looking at community allotments, to letting one’s little Robin Hood dream come true by having a go at Archery provided by local community coaches from Shooting Stars Archery Club, also established by Luton Council of Faiths.
To see many more photos of the day and places of worship, find Luton Council of Faiths on Facebook!