Interfaith prayer vigil held in Huddersfield

Leaders from churches in the Huddersfield area met with other faith leaders this week to pray for peace in Ukraine.

Huddersfield Parish Church, in partnership with North Kirklees Interfaith, hosted a gathering of faith leaders from across Kirklees to pray for peace in Ukraine and in conflict zones across the world on Thursday, April 7.

The multi-faith event began with prayers led by the Bishop of Huddersfield, the Rt Revd Dr Jonathan Gibbs; Kiran Bali, from the Huddersfield Hindu Society; Fakhara Reman, from North Kirklees Interfaith; Balbir Singh, from the Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Huddersfield; and Paul Levene, Senior Pastor at the New Testament Church of God. 

These were followed by more prayers led by Father Ryi of the Ukrainian Church, which ended with the Lord’s Prayer sung in Ukrainian by members of the Church.

Hannah McKerchar, Humanist and local Interfaith contributor, read ‘This is a call to the Living’, by Algernon Black, before Marianne Matusz, trustee of 6Million+, read ‘Walking to Sanctuary’, a poem written with Fatima Hama, who is Kurdish and survived Halabja. 

Michael Drapan, representative of the Ukrainian community, then shared some experiences of the Ukrainian community through the generations and now.

The event was supported by the Mayor and Mayoress of Kirklees, Cllr Nigel and Mrs Judith Patrick, along with the Leader of Kirklees Council Cllr Shabir Pandor and the Chief Executive of Kirklees Jacqui Gedman. 

The Revd Canon Rachel Firth, Vicar of Huddersfield and co-host of the event said: “The situation in Ukraine at the moment is truly horrific.

"Many in the Kirklees area’s diverse communities have direct experience or are closely linked to the suffering in conflict zones around the world.  

"This event expresses our desire to show solidarity and fellow feeling with the Ukrainian community now they too are sharing that terrible experience.”

The Revd Canon Mark Umpleby added: "I'm pleased as Co-Chair of North Kirklees Interfaith to have joined with others from all around Kirklees for prayers for peace.

"The horrific events taking place around the world - including in Ukraine - call us as people of different faiths and beliefs to respond as we can to help - and if we pray - to pray for peace."

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