The tragic and senseless shootings in Christ Church, New Zealand are to be comprehensively condemned for the acts of terrorism that they are. They represent a growing trend of Islamaphobia, Anti-Semitism and general intolerance of the other.
The Lancashire Collaborative Ministry is a group of Unitarian churches dedicated to social justice and has a history of positive interfaith connections. The LCM asserts we must all stand together as human beings created for love of our neighbours not hate. Our purpose is not to tear apart and break down, but to build up and live together in peace. Our humanity is united through our respective faiths and our desire for true fellowship. No act of violence can be justified by a political or religious manifesto.
It is only when we walk together and advocate justice and show mercy to each other that we are fully human. Our friendship and living together in peace must be based on acceptance of the other. Those who would frighten and break down society have no place in our communities. It is only by doing things together that we can show that positive action can overcome destructive acts. Rev’d Dr Shannon Ledbetter, Social Justice Minister LCM, says, “Our hearts go out to the families of the victims of the mosque shootings in Christ Church. No words can bring those people back we can only try to move forward renewing our efforts to break down barriers and to build relationships”.
Rawtenstall Unitarian Church has started a bi-monthly interfaith service with representatives from the different faith communities. We are learning about each other's traditions during an informal service and then socialising while we share a meal together. The next gathering is Sunday the 16th of June at 5:00 at the Rawtenstall Unitarian Church on Bank Street.
The church will also be hosting a ‘Faith Question Time’ on Friday the 10th of May at 5pm where you are invited to ask that question which has always puzzled you about religion. Jake Berry, MP for Rossendale and Darwen will be our moderator and will be joined by a panel of representatives from different faiths. He says, “Violence is to be condemned in all of its forms and we remember especially at this time our Muslim neighbours. I hope that this opportunity to express our questions to a panel of experts will foster understanding and build friendships”.
Help us to be a positive force in honouring what unites us as humans and to appreciate what makes us unique. Come join us.
Note: The Lancashire Collaborative Ministry consists of the Unitarian churches in Padiham, Chorley and Rawtenstall and is focussed on developing social justice and interfaith projects.