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Diocese of

Hexham and Newcastle

Bishop Robert Byrne CO

Department for Interreligious Relations

Christian and Muslim Pray for Peace

St. Mary’s Chapel (Jesmond Shrine) Saturday 29 June 2019

The ninth meeting of Christian and Muslim women praying for peace at the ancient shrine to Our Lady in Jesmond, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, took place in glorious sunshine on Saturday 29 June. About 77 women attended, quite evenly divided between Christians and Muslims plus a number of children.

Many people, such as Farzana, came for the first time and were happy to comment on the event. Farzana, originally from Pakistan, and now from Wallsend, said, “This is my first time. It`s really helpful to mingle. We don`t have any opportunity to meet other people and talk to them. This is really helpful and nice.

Rev. Ruth Hewitt, Anglican curate at St. Aidan’s, Brunton Park and Church in the Park, Hazlerigg responded very positively, “This was an incredibly moving and prayerful gathering in the chapel dedicated to Mary. It led me to realise that women of all faiths are working towards peace and unity. Together women can be strong.

A parishioner from the same church, Barbara Down, (former Lady Mayoress) commented, “This is my first time. Women have a very powerful message of building peace and breaking down barriers. I work with a charity called ‘Initiatives of Change’ and we have a programme called ‘Creators of Peace for Women’."

Mina, originally from Pakistan, now living in Gateshead, said, “It is really enjoyable and helpful to promote peace. I really like meeting everyone.

Ghafoor Shahida, also from Pakistan, and now living in Benton remarked, “It’s good for communicating with each other. When we meet each other we can explore a lot of things. The people are nice and hospitable. This is my third time. We are all on the same path to God. Basically, we are all the same. I was shy at first but now we are comfortable with each other.

Nasrin, originally from Iran, and now living in Boldon also shared her enthusiasm for the event, “It’s my fourth time to join this event. It’s uniting for all religions."

Women came from many areas including Consett, Sunderland and even Carlisle. It was good to hear that the youngsters who came were really happy with the event. Dru Hutchinson’s granddaughters Leila and Mina, aged 11 and 9, (their Dad is Muslim and Mum Catholic) loved it and Mina wanted to know when the next one is and was adamant that she wanted to be there!

There was generally a very warm and enthusiastic response from those present. Thank God and Our Lady that it went so well and thank you to all who took part and those who helped with the event.

For those interested in inter-faith dialogue an important date for your diaries is Sunday 15 September when the annual Newcastle Walk for Peace starts at 11.00a.m. from the Hindu temple on the West Road.

From left to right; Latifa Chowdhury. from Gosforth, who read a prayer. Mary Connor, Blackhill, Clare Picktmall, Shotley Bridge, Kathleen Bowman, Blackhill and Kathleen Thompson, Consett.

Report by Veronica Whitty and Mary McLoughlin.


Christian and Muslim Pray for Peace

St. Mary’s Chapel (Jesmond Shrine) Saturday 30 June 2018

 

The annual Diocesan Christian / Muslim Women's event to 'Pray for Peace' took place at the ruined chapel to Our Lady, Jesmond on Saturday 30 June.

On Saturday 30 June 2018 about 55 Christian and Muslim women gathered at St. Mary's Chapel, Jesmond Dene for our annual Christian and Muslim women's prayer for peace. We listened to readings from St. Luke's Gospel and the Qu'ran about Mary’s visit from the angel. We listened to eachother's important prayers and we prayed for peace in our world. We finished by sharing a sign of peace with each other after a symbolic exchange of candles. The event was suitably rounded off by singing 'Make me an instrument of Your peace'.

We then moved on to share refreshments at Holy Name hall. There was a very friendly atmosphere among all the Christians and Muslims present and people were very happy with the event. The only complaint I heard was that we should publicise the event more, especially in the Anglican church and among young people, something which we will definitely take on board for next year.

In the hall we also learned more about each other's prayer practices, in particular the rosary and the Muslim tasbih. Muslims have many different names for God, e.g. the Creator, the Merciful One, the Most Holy, the Bestower of Peace, the Forgiver, etc. and Muslims focus on some of these when praying with the tasbih. As one Catholic lady said, "it's just like our litany." We also spoke about the Visitation and the Magnificat and linked that with our voluntary collection for Mary's Meals. "He fills the hungry with good things and sends the rich away empty." We sent £108.60 to Mary's Meals.

Some other comments included, "I liked the fact that we learned more about Mary this year" and a Muslim lady who had travelled all the way from Middlesborough said, "We need all the religions to get together and help build peace on earth; that is what we are really about."