Over 350 representatives from Afro-Caribbean, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh communities came together to offer prayers and reflections, highlighting the common threads of love and peace that unite humanity.
On the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi’s 154th Birth Anniversary, a heartfelt Interfaith Service was held at the historic Manchester Cathedral, bringing together people from diverse faiths and backgrounds to celebrate the universal values of love, peace, and unity. The Interfaith Service transcended religious boundaries with attendees from various faith-based organisations, government officials, community leaders and individuals from all walks of life. Over 350 representatives from Afro-Caribbean, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh communities came together to offer prayers and reflections, highlighting the common threads of love and peace that unite humanity. The Interfaith Service was sponsored by the Kamani Family in memory of their grandfather Bhanji Khanji Kamani (1888-1979).
Paying tribute to Gandhi’s enduring legacy, Aadit Virani, Chair of Executive Committee, Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur UK (SRMD UK) shared, “It is no coincidence that the 2nd of October is designated as the International Day of Non-Violence by the United Nations; a testament to Gandhi’s global impact. Gandhi’s approach to religion was marked by progressiveness and a profound willingness to learn from other faiths. This very attribute makes him an extraordinary role model for the multicultural and multi-ethnic community of Manchester.” Sharing her thoughts on how relevant Gandhi’s teachings are today, High Sheriff of Greater Manchester, Mary-Liz Walker JP DL said, “the times are different, but the social issues remain. We can however carry forward Gandhi’s legacy and the things that he did when he was alive. It is his ideals that continue appeal to the people of all generations.”
The event commenced with the laying of flowers at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi outside Manchester Cathedral followed by soul-stirring cultural performances, including a melodic performance by ShowCaseUs, harmonious rendition by the Greenbank Preparatory School Choir, a powerful dedication from Lucy Veighey and mesmerising violin and viola performance by Saanvi Reddy and Imani Soren-Fahy. An expressive dance dedication by Year 13 Girls from Cheadle Hulme School and a devotional kathak dance performance by Krishna Panchmatia, showcased the richness of diverse cultures while reinforcing the message of love and unity.
Attendees also had the opportunity to engage in open dialogues and discussions, promoting an exchange of ideas and experiences. Throughout the Service, speakers shared how the principles of peace, unity, non-violence, compassion, and hope continue to be relevant in our contemporary global context.
Recognising the importance of all communities in creating a better world, Cllr Yasmine Dar, Lord Mayor of Manchester said, “We all belong to the human race and together we must be the leaders of change and walk on the path of peace to bring communities together and end violence. We must work together in this beautiful diversity with the common vision of love and unity.” Echoing this sentiment, Honourable Rogers Govender MBE, Dean of Manchester Cathedral shared the importance of community cohesion, particular in the backdrop of the cost of living crisis, “peace can only be achieved if we connect to those different than us; we have to move out of our ethnic groupings and work with Justice to make sure hungry people are fed and reach out to the unemployed and homeless. It is our duty to protect the rights and dignity of all human beings and ensure they are cared for, respected and honoured as children made in the image of God. Through our good deeds we can then build an environment of peace, kindness and compassion”.
The Interfaith Service at Manchester Cathedral was a resounding success, leaving attendees inspired and motivated to continue working toward a world where love, peace, and unity prevail.