Janet`s January 2019 letter to the Community

Dear Friends


Happy New Year!

Two quotes have fed into my thoughts as I write this letter to you, very aware of a new year beginning and the desperate need of many people in the world for peace and for justice.  As I write, peace talks aimed at ending nearly four years of civil war in Yemen are taking place in Sweden.  This war has received less press coverage than that in Syria, but the suffering is enormous and the need is acute.  I pray that progress will have been made by the time you read this.


The first quote that struck me was included on a poster for the East London Three Faiths Forum “End-of-Year Party”, and was from Hans Kung, who said: “There can be no peace between the nations without peace between the religions.  There can be no peace between the religions without religious dialogue.”  The Three Faiths Forum has a strong commitment to dialogue, and its meetings are always stimulating as well as good-humoured.

The second quote comes from an organisation called “charity miles” whose motivational emails appear in my in-box.  When I first received them they were mainly about running and fitness, but recently they seem to have become more general.  Apparently, the writer is about to celebrate his 40th birthday, and he’s said: “My ‘resolution’ for my 40th year is to try something new every month.  A new sport, a new food, a new book, a new workout, a new hobby.”  Well – how about that for an idea as we begin a new year?  Try something new every month.  That could add to the spice of life.

But even better – what if one of the “new things” was a commitment to have a conversation, a real conversation, with someone different – different age, different social circumstances, different ethnic background, different religion.  What might we learn?  About them and about ourselves?  How might it lead to increased understanding?  And if lots of people did this, how might we together make an impact on peace in the world in these challenging times?

With my prayers for a peaceful – and adventurous – New Year!



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