The Annual Peace Light Service was held at All Saints Church Luton on Monday 17th December 2018. The Peace Light (flame) is brought from Bethlehem, by the Scouts and Guides and is distributed across Europe at Christmas time, spreading the Message of Peace in all countries. Cllr Naseem Ayub, Mayor of Luton, Maqsood Anwar of Madinah Mosque and Sanjiv Kumar of Guru Ravidass Sangat, were the guests of honour. In their talks all the guest speakers highlighted the need to share this light of peace in our troubled world, stay united and fight poverty, austerity which is increasingly seen teasing us in our faces across the United Kingdom these days.
In his message Revd David Kesterton, the host Vicar of All Saints Church Luton, reflected on the notion of “Faithful Friends”. This is also a name of a group of 8 people from Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Christian backgrounds, who have become friends. These friends have asked a question – where is your special spiritual place? Answers varied e.g. a Mosque in West Bromwich, Cathedral in Worcester, Beach in Cornwall, Islamic college in Dewsbury, Golden temple in Amritsar etc. For each, there was a place where their faith had become real. The friends toured each of the places in turn – at each place they listened to their friend telling the story attached to the place.
Revd David continued saying we haven’t done this in Luton, but we do visit each other’s places of worship – and we seek to listen and learn from one another and work together. E.g. this year All Saints Church has
done cookery with Guru Ravidass Sangat and have produced a cookbook too
done litter picking with Maqsood Anwar and others of Madinah Mosque
visited other Mosques in the area
helped a group from Harpenden visit central Mosque
These small acts show our common commitment to peace and working to benefit our wider community. At Christmas, Christians think of Bethlehem as their special place where Jesus was born. Bethlehem in the west bank is not the most peaceful place and we are reminded that the peace light comes into a troubled world – from a troubled land. So we pray for peace and justice in Palestine and invite all of us – all faiths and no faith – to live in peace with one another in the steps of The Prince of Peace. May we be faithful neighbours and friends – not just with those we agree with but also with those we don’t.
Mr Sanjiv Kumar of Guru Ravidass Sangat lit the first candle from the Peace Light and passed on the light to be shared amongst more than 100 people present on the evening.