A coalition of faith leaders has come together to produce a statement of reflection in response to the Covid crisis.
It is an initiative of Faiths United, a temporary coalition of faith leaders and representatives responding to the pandemic.
Maurice Ostro OBE, Chair of Faiths United, said:
“Thousands of people of faith have shown extraordinary bravery and dedication on the frontline of the fight against the pandemic. It is inspiring that leaders from diverse communities across the country have come together at this time of national crisis, proving that faith can be a force for cohesion and not division.”
The statement has been signed up to by clerics in all nine major faiths – Bahais, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Zoroastrians. It comes at a time of religious significance for many faiths during lock down including Easter, Passover, Vaisakhi and Ramadan.
Released in the midst of the devastating Coronavirus pandemic, it is timed to coincide with the busy festive period and also other days of national significance this week such as HM The Queen’s Birthday (21 April) and St George’s Day (23 April).
It was composed, in particular, by leaders in the Sikh, Hindu and Muslim communities.
Jasvir Singh OBE, one of the originators of the idea who helped to compose the statement, said:
“Now more than ever, it’s important for us to show our unity as a nation. Faith plays such an important role in many people’s lives, especially during troubling and unsettling times, and this reflection shows that we as faith leaders are united in our thoughts, our gratitude and our hopes.”
The full text of the Statement of Reflection is as follows:
We come together as faith leaders in Britain to offer this joint reflection during these fragile and difficult times:
We acknowledge the pain, suffering, distress and anguish caused by COVID-19.
We mourn for those we have lost, console the bereaved and pray for the sick.
We see and hear the fears and worries, as well as the feelings of uncertainty.
We are bound by the bonds of common humanity whatever our faith.
We commit to focusing on those who will be adversely affected in the days and weeks to come.
We are thankful for the selfless commitment of our key workers, our carers and our NHS.
We appreciate the many volunteers who are helping others in this time of need
We recognise their selfless work supporting the elderly, the vulnerable and those in isolation.
We are grateful for the generosity, kindness and compassion of our faith communities and the British people.
We have closed our places of worship, but the hearts of our communities remain open.
We commit ourselves to encouraging our communities to continue to help, support and give.
We pledge ourselves to making our communities stronger and building new friendships.
We commend our communities for following official guidance for the sake of all of us.
We will reject fracture, disunity and scapegoating of any community.
We maintain our hope for the future, knowing that things will eventually change for the better.
We are not isolated but together.
We are hurting but not defeated.
We will keep hope but not despair.
We will connect and not fragment.
We will keep faith in our communities and in Britain.
List of Signatories
Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi, Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society
Qari Asim, Mosques & Imams National Advisory Board
Malcolm Deboo, Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe
Maj David Evans, Territorial Ecumenical Officer, Salvation Army
Rt Revd Toby Howarth, Bishop of Bradford
Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence, Finchley United Synagogue
Rev Canon Lusa Nsenga-Ngoy, Leicester Cathedral
Patrick O’Mara, Secretary National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United Kingdom.
Trupti Patel, President, Hindu Forum of Britain
Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala, Head of the London Buddhist Vihara
Dr Natubhai Shah, Jain Network
Jasvir Singh OBE, City Sikhs
Marie van der Zyl, President, Board of Deputies of British Jews
Rev Dr George Whyte, Church of Scotland
Canon Guy Wilkinson CBE, Faith for the Climate