This year, 2018, marks 40 years since the Peterborough Inter-Faith Council was formed so to honour the occasion a celebration was hosted by the Peterborough Inter-Faith Council and Peterborough City Council and held in Peterborough city centre. Hundreds of people visited Cathedral Square to enjoy the open-air Inter-faith and food festival which took over the cathedral square on Saturday 12th May. The audience including the Mayor and other dignitaries and guests, alongside Saturday shoppers, were treated to a programme which included presentations from groups of different faiths, Buddhist, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, Sikh and Catholic Christian, in the form of hymn, readings, song, poetry and dance with the theme of cohesion and unity in addition to sampling food from different countries and cultures.
PLJC were represented by our members Di, Chrissie and Mark and Di’s colleague Phil who volunteered to play guitar for us. As part of our presentation we read a passage on the human family from the siddur . As the smallest group there and low on numbers on the actual day we decided, at the last minute, to ask our Inter-Faith council friends and guest Rev. Malcolm Weisman OBE to step up and join us on stage to sing a song in Hebrew , ‘(Salaam) Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu’ , which they did amazingly, with some people learning the words from internet lyrics sent to their phones! It caught the spirit of unity on the day and we had lots of compliments and positive conversations afterwards ….so it was worth the nerves beforehand…I think!
After the faith group contributions there were also performances of Opera, Bhangra and Bollywood dancing as well as a Sufi musical band. The event closed with presentations to the participating faith groups and Di collected three awards on behalf of the community.
Dr Jaspal Singh, Chair of Peterborough Inter-Faith Council, and looking the part in the uniform of his new role as Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire! said: “We wanted to see as many people as possible from different faiths enjoying the food on offer and hearing about some of the beautiful places of worship that are found throughout the city.”
Certainly many people I spoke to encountered our faith for the first time ‘in real life’. It was a privilege to be part of such a positive celebration and show that although our community is small we can stand alongside other communities as a visible part of our city.