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Love and Light

Region 7 – Universal Prayer Day Peace and Well Being in the Community and the World

With Swami’s Divine Grace over sixty people from different faiths and backgrounds converged on Bath on Saturday 10th September to worship and pray together. The occasion was a Universal Prayer Day, organized by Region 7, in which representatives from the Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and Bah’ai faith participated. It was gratifying also to see such strong support from the local Bath Interfaith Group. They joined together with Sai devotees from as far away as Wales, Devon and Cornwall, in addition to others a little closer to Bath, to create a truly lovely afternoon: both very uplifting. and even moving at times.
Following the warm welcome and opening prayers, the Mayor of Bath, Councillor Bryan Chalker, who actively supports local interfaith initiatives, opened the proceedings, and was followed by the short video ‘Unity in Diversity’ which served to perfectly set the scene for the afternoon’s proceedings.

The Vedic chanting from Oman Kumar and Sathya Ganapathi represented the Hindu faith and was followed by some beautiful singing and prayers led by Ruhi Farmer and taken from Abdu’l-Baha, son of Baha’ u Ilah, founder prophet of the Baha’i Faith who claimed to be the Promised One of all Ages. The Christian Minister from Bath Abbey, Rev. Dr Adrian McConnaughie told the parable of the Good Samaritan which underlines the first two commandments: Love the Lord and your neighbour as yourself. And this was followed by some lovely prayers by the Imam Rashad Azami and Iman Jamal Azami from the Bath Islamic Society. The Jewish faith was led by Peter Walters from the Bristol Synagogue who, together with his son, taught us a Jewish song and then regaled us with light hearted dancing. The Sai Organization’s contribution concluded the proceedings with the chanting of the mantra “Om Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Ya Namah to Sai Baba, and the afternoon was concluded with a Vote of Thanks by Mel Griffin, Vice Chair of SSSSO(UK) and Nirmala Pisavadia, Chairperson, Region7.

All the various religions' representatives were genuine and willing to embrace the unity of all faiths, which was reflected in their choice of prayers and readings.

It was a joyous and warm hearted afternoon where important and meaningful connections were made within the wider community. The Mayor commented on the Love which united the different religions and he seemed to particularly enjoy the songs drawn from each of the faiths which interspersed the various contributions.

On Saturday Region 7 showed how beautiful it is when we obey Swami’s injunction to:
Let the different faiths exist, let them flourish, and let the Glory of God be sung in all languages and in a variety of tunes. Respect the differences...so long as they do not extinguish the flame of unity.

Clare Pargeter
Chair, Bath Group, Region 7