Birmingham: peace walk brings hope to troubled streets

 This year the fifth Birmingham Interfaith Peace Walk wended its way through areas better known for violence. The walk started in Handsworth, passed through Lozells and ended up in Aston very near the sites of two recent shootings. At 8.45am on Saturday, around 50 people from Christian, Jewish, Sikh and Muslim backgrounds started the walk, and as the day went on Buddhists, members of the Ba'hai faith and many others, joined them. The walk visited nine different places of worship including a Jain Ashram, a Mosque, the Shree Guru Ravidas Bhawan and the Roman Catholic West Indian Chaplaincy. At each stop there was a warm welcomed and amazing hospitality. The day may have been a bit tiring but everyone was well fed! The most striking thing about this walk was the shared commitment to peace felt by members of all the groups involved. In an area nationally renowned for negative things, it was wonderful to see so much that was positive. The Sikh community offers hospitality to everyone and is raising money to build a hospital in India. The Hindus and the Anglicans work closely together to help refugees when they arrive, and to improve their neighbourhood in very practical ways by doing such things a litter picking. The Muslim community is very cosmopolitan and provides all sorts of services to its rapidly expanding congregation. Whatever the faith background of the walkers or the host communities everyone was able to pray together for peace and to build bridges of friendship. Lead me from death to life, from falsehood to truth. Lead me from despair to hope, from fear to trust. Lead me from hate to love, from war to peace. Let peace fill our hearts, our world, our universe.

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