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Love and Light

Region 7 - Mayor of Bath’s Annual Call To Prayer to all Faith Groups

The Sai Baba Group of Bath, has for the past ten years joined representatives from seven major faiths in the City of Bath at an annual event held in the magnificent Guildhall. The event is hosted by the Mayor of Bath and provides a wonderful opportunity to come together as we remember God by all names and forms.

This year’s Call to Prayer was held on the 5th February 2012 and we were all welcomed by The Right Worshipful The Mayor of Bath, Councillor Bryan Chalker who invited the Mayor’s Chaplain to preside over proceedings. The Reverend welcomed the audience drawn from Bath and the surrounding region and expressed happy surprise that extra chairs had to be brought in, despite the snow, to seat the large number who had assembled.

The Christian Youth representatives from St Saviour’s led the way by summarizing their activities and core values. They welcomed all to visit their church and enjoy their most valued sense of community and love of Christ Jesus.

The Jewish tradition followed with a vibrantly sung prayer drawn from the Torah with a brief explanation.

Ruhi Farmar, a 4th generation Bah’ai then gave a brief history of her faith followed by a heartfelt reading and song.

The Islamic faith group led a question and answer dialogue, and spoke of the traditions that are practiced by the 1200-1500 Muslims who live in Bath.

Mr. Arun Bedi represented the Sikh religion. He explained the potency of the 2 primary symbols of Sikhism and the power of Aum. He finished by chanting and translating a prayer.

Buddhist representatives followed with another question and answer dialogue led by a monk from the Bristol Buddhist Centre, after which the audience was invited to join in with singing the beautiful Liberating Prayer to Buddha Shak Yamuni.

We were then treated to a sweet rendition of the Gayatri mantra and a bhajan led by Mr. Satyen Gadher and a group of colourfully dressed, young Hindu children who, lit up the proceedings with their devotion and respect.

The Sai Baba group closed proceedings with Universal Prayer, song and quotes from Bhagawan, related to the Universality of all Faiths. Knowing the Mayor’s love of song, we wanted to get everyone singing in a spirit of Love and Unity, focussing on the Universality of Swami’s message. It was heart-warming to see many in the audience joining in the devotional singing with which we concluded the afternoon of prayer.

Kathryn Crosweller provided musical accompaniment on the guitar, as members of the Bath Group sung, Happy are they who in friendship willingly work together ...who in peace united willingly work together.

And to finish, the rousing song Let the Love we’re sharing spread its wings, fly across the earth and bring new joy to every soul that is alive...Samasta Loka Sukhino Bhavantu, was sung with great energy and feeling by the gathering.

Afterwards, the Lib. Dem. MP of Bath, the Honourable Don Foster, who had been singing at the top of his voice, told Clare Pargeter (Bath Group Chairperson) that he thought everyone in the UK should be encouraged to sing this song regularly...!

The event aims to bring together all the various faiths so that the promotion of common values and purpose can be shared and felt. To this end much was achieved this year. There was a definite feeling of tolerance, understanding, mutual co-operation and appreciation of each other’s spiritual paths.

The day afforded us a wonderful networking opportunity and we enjoyed interesting conversations with those from other faiths. Representatives from the Islamic, Buddhist and Ba’hai groups have each accepted an invitation to come to our Sunday Study Circle to speak on a chosen theme of their particular faith. This outstretched hand of welcome and kinship is possible only by the Grace of our Beloved Swami.

Roland Pargeter, Bath Sai Group.