Film Premiere 21 September #LondonIsOpen Places of Worship

Film Premiere 21 September #LondonIsOpen Places of Worship

londonisopen-21-septJoin the London Peace Network, artists, film-makers and religious leaders at St Martin-in-the-Fields Church in Trafalgar Square for the premiere of a new short film, followed by a peace breakfast to mark the UN International Day of Peace.

Register here by 20 September to join us on Wednesday 21 September 8am – 9am.  Download the flyer.

The film shows London places of worship open and welcoming and is the first in a series of short films and events.

The film will be shown at Southwark Cathedral on 1 October in the presence of the Mayor of London, who initiated the #LondonIsOpen campaign.

We look forward to seeing you!

Lord Bates completes Walk for Truce from Buenos Aires to Rio

Lord Bates completes Walk for Truce from Buenos Aires to Rio

Our Patron, Lord Bates, has completed his Walk for Peace.  With the support of Lady Xuelin, he has walked 3,000 km from Buenos Aires to Rio, arriving in time for the opening of Rio2016.

The Walks for Peace raise awareness of the Olympic Truce, a UN-mandated break in war and conflict from 7 days before the Olympic Games until 7 days after the Paralympic Games.  Lord and Lady Bates have also raised £250,000 in sponsorship for UNICEF.

Read Lord Bates’ blog.  Here is an excerpt from his last post:

“I think that’s it for this year except to say that our walk was of course to draw attention to the Olympic truce through which signatories seek to set aside differences and work for reconciliation for the period seven days before the Olympic Games until seven days after the closing of the Paralympic Games. The Rio Olympic truce was signed by 180 countries at the United Nations General Assembly in October last year. Looking at our tv screens and events in Syria, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Turkey, Pakistan, Iraq, Thailand, North Korea and France we might wonder what that means in reality.

It is a fair point but just because some people choose not to live up to their international obligations or rise above their tribal differences is not a reason to lower the bar but rather to encourage those who fall short to reach higher. That the world is a better place for the Olympics & Paralympics and the truce that transcends them. That peace and reconciliation was not just part of the ancient Olympic Games of 3000 years ago, it was their entire purpose and point. That ultimately peace is possible it just requires much more courage than war on the part of participants to achieve it. The type of courage, desire, single-minded purpose and ambition we witness everyday through the lives of our Olympians and Paralympians.”

Congratulations – and on behalf of the London Peace Network, thank you for keeping the Olympic Truce ideal alive!

Queen’s Speech: reconciliation & truce

Queen’s Speech: reconciliation & truce

In her Christmas broadcast today, the Queen mentioned not only the Christmas Truce during WWI, but also the ancient Olympic Truce, which was the inspiration for the London Peace Network.

She spoke of reconciliation and peace, and of how the example of Jesus Christ, whose birth is celebrated at Christmas, has led her to respect and value “all people of whatever faith or none.”

“Sometimes it seems that reconciliation stands little chance in the face of war and discord. But, as the Christmas truce a century ago reminds us, peace and goodwill have lasting power in the hearts of men and women.”

Watch the broadcast here and find the full text here.

Lord Bates’ Walk for Peace 2014

Lord Bates’ Walk for Peace 2014

Lord Michael Bates sets off on his Walk for Peace on 4 August.  He is walking 1,000 miles from London to Berlin to raise funds for medical care for child victims of war.

Walk for Peace

A patron of the London Peace Network and a vigorous promoter of the Olympic Truce and non-violence, he walked from London to Olympia in 2011-12 and in aid of the children of Syria last year.

This year, his route reminds us of the horrific C20th conflicts which started in Europe and what happens when we are unable to resolve our differences without resorting to violence.

anything war can doThe walk is also raising awareness of the innocent victims of current conflict – children.

Sponsorship for the walk is going to Peace Village International, a German charity which helps children in areas of war and crisis.

Follow Lord Bates on twitter @BatesLord, keep him going with messages of goodwill and encouragement, sponsor the walk and follow his progress on his Walk for Peace blog as he starts out from Westminster Abbey on 4th August after the “lights out” ceremony – a solemn commemoration of Britain declaring war in 1914.

He arrives in Berlin on 2nd October, the UN International Day of Non-Violence.

Invitation | UK-Pakistan Minority-Majority gathering

Min-Maj invitation pic

Please join us at our last Olympic Truce event – a wonderful gathering of people who are interested in the future of Pakistan and of this country and how we can work well together.

Tuesday 12th March, 3.45pm – 6.30pm, followed by a buffet of Pakistani cuisine.

Memon Centre, 13 Weir Road, Balham, SW12 0LT

Download the invitation and sign up here.

Please pass the invitation on to those with links to Pakistan.  Look forward to seeing you there.

Olympic Truce | Pakistan links | minority-majority project

mmproject picThe last of our Olympic Truce projects kicks off this week.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office is supporting a series of events in Pakistan (in Islamabad and Lahore), followed by a gathering in London on 12th March.  London Boroughs Faiths Network has been part of the FCO’s Olympic Truce Stakeholders’ Group since 2011 and we are delighted that this project is coming to fruition.

The project explores the potential for making the most of the UK’s close historical and cultural ties with Pakistan and to see how local communities can work together in practical and positive ways to support civil society, human rights and prosperity in both countries.

It recognises the strong links with Pakistan maintained by the diaspora living in London and other parts of the UK,  who experience being part of a minority group in the UK and who also experience being in the majority when they travel to Pakistan.

How can we learn from each other?

What can government, civil society and religious organisations do together to enable greater awareness of minority-majority issues in the UK and in Pakistan?  This project builds on the extensive experience of London Boroughs Faiths Network members in working with the statutory sector at local level and of bringing majority and minority groups together for the benefit of the wider community.

A small group from the UK is travelling to Pakistan this week and a return visit will bring two or three visitors from Pakistan to attend the London gathering.  The events will be filmed so that many more people can benefit from the story-telling, discussions and the new ideas which emerge.  In Pakistan, we will be meeting the Minister for National Harmony, Dr Paul Bhatti, and minority-majority events have kindly been organised by the Bishop of Lahore, the Rt Rev Irfan Jamil Coadjutor, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Punjab, Dr Mujahid Kamran and the General Secretary of Wafaq-ul Madaris Al-Arabia, Moulana Muhammad Hanif Jalandhry.  We’re very pleased that the Revd Rana Khan, who has been working with the Archbishop of Canterbury on inter faith matters, will be with us for both the Pakistan and the London events.

The London Boroughs Faiths Network is working with Stockwell Green Community Services and Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network to implement this initiative.  The Department for International Development is following our progress.

If you would like to register your interest for the London event, please let us know.  Lord Bates has kindly agreed to become a patron of the London Peace Network.  We are hoping he will be with us, along with the Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, Minister for International Development.

If you would like to send your (or your network’s) greetings to Pakistan, use the comment box or email us, but let us know quickly!

Occasional Papers published

Occasional Papers published

Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future - picThis booklet was published on the International Day of Peace in 2012 by the Cordoba Foundation.  It was distributed internationally through Islamic Centres, religious networks and online.

The lead article by Dr Mustafa Ceric was read to congregations in mosques across Bosnia on 21st September.

Messages of support from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Jeremy Gilley and others are included.

Hard copies are available from the Cordoba Foundation.

It is estimated that over 320 Islamic centres in the UK participated in the International Day of Peace initiative, over 500 overseas in at least 25 countries and over one million people participated worldwide.