SGI-UK Participates in Walk for Unity
SGI-UK members from East London took part in a "Faith & Neighbours Walk" on May 21 as a way of promoting understanding of different faiths within the community.
The idea for the event came about following feedback from local people who wanted to get to know more about the different religions practiced in the Plaistow area of East London. Local charity E13 People United (E13 being the postcode for Plaistow), part of the E13 Learning Community, organized the one mile walk.
The premise for the event was to visit the places of worship of the five religions taking part and to encourage dialogue between the different faith groups. At each venue a speaker gave a five-minute presentation on the teachings and practice of their religion and also spoke about what it means to be a good neighbor.
Participants visited Christian, Islamic, Hindu and Sikh places of worship. As SGI-UK does not have a center in East London, they borrowed a hall for their presentation. SGI-UK member Carol Summers gave the five-minute talk and answered questions. Some SGI-UK members also gave their gongyo books (Lotus Sutra liturgy recited by SGI members) to people as gifts.
Commenting on the interfaith walk, Bharat Dadlani, from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad Upton Centre, said: "People felt comfortable with asking their hosts questions and I am sure that any prejudices and misconceptions were cleared." Sister Chris from St Mary's Church of England said: "The highlight for me was just walking through Plaistow with people of other faiths having a conversation about our similarities."
Some local people joined the walk at different points and at each stop there were between 60 and 70 people. The last place on the walk was the Sikh Gurdwara where everyone was invited to enjoy refreshments and food provided by their members.
[Adapted from a report from the June 15, 2011, issue of the SGI-UK Online News Bulletin; photo courtesy of Chris Modeste]