The community hall of Christ Church, Birmingham, was the scene for our latest Peace Blessing. Around 120 people attended, coming from eight different faith traditions, truly representative of the unique West Midlands society which we all live in together. Bishop Neville Fletcher opened the proceedings for us with a prayer, followed by three short presentations on the family from Mrs Nila Parmar, a former Chair of Birmingham Council of Faiths, Mrs Zohra Zaidi, a retired doctor, and Mrs Maureen Foxall, a lay preacher in the Methodist Church and Chaplain at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Amina Sultani then sang a beautiful recitation from the Holy Qur’an, prior to David Earle, currently Chair of UPF in the UK, giving a brief overview of the meaning and content of the Holy Blessing. We then drank Holy Nectar together, as couples promising fidelity to one another, and as individuals inviting God’s blessing on our lives, all of us striving to uphold the best values and virtues of our respective faith traditions, and promising to be a blessing to others.
After being sprinkled with Holy Water, a prayer of blessing was said over the entire assembly, and then Interfaith Prayers and Readings were offered from 8 different traditions. Concluding remarks were given by Canon Reverend Eve Pitts, the first black woman in the UK to be ordained as an Anglican priest, and we joined in three joyful cheers of happiness to all.
We then presented 10 Ambassador for Peace awards, including to two outstanding people who had already received the MBE award from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, Decima Francis and Mohammed Foiz Uddin. A Certificate of Recognition was presented to Nusrat and her beautiful ‘3-generation Muslim family’, and a special WFWP certificate was given to Nusrat Naseem and the ladies of the Cube Community Centre who help so many children through their charitable work. Entertainment and food followed, with enough food to go around and a little to spare, making for a wonderful day of peace, joy and blessing, which we hope will lift everyone’s spirit as we endeavour to bring purity and holiness into marriage, family and all of our lives.
Thanks to all of our local FFWPU members who worked to make the day such a memorable one for all present.
David Earle Birmingham FFWPU