Mayor of London speaks at Faith and Community Assembly
Following a welcome on behalf of Southwark Cathedral by the Revd Canon Leanne Roberts, the Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, introduced the Assembly at Southwark Cathedral on Saturday 1 October. He said, ‘The idea for the Assembly crystalised for me when I was told that a Year 9 pupil in one of our Church Schools said to her mother on hearing of the Referendum result, “Does that mean we have to leave now”?’ He went on to say, ‘We come together today from different faith and community perspectives to say that we want London to be for all Londoners; to say loudly and clearly that our diversity is to be cherished and celebrated as a source of vitality and blessing’.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, gave the Keynote address. He was introduced by Jada and Finn, children from South London Primary Schools. The Mayor said that ‘the diversity of London was one of its greatest strengths’, but, he said, ‘we should not kid ourselves, London is not perfect, and we face divisions’. He went on, ‘we can deal with them if we work together and strive to build bridges and not walls and continue to celebrate London’s diversity’.
After his address other young people spoke of the actions they were taking to work for inclusion and diversity and Ijeoma and Talmid spoke of the work of Stand Up Stand Out. There followed responses from faith and community leaders who signed the Declaration as well as the Mayor and the Bishop and the young people who had shared their stories and reflections. The names of those who took part and signed the declaration are overleaf as is the wording of the Declaration.
Inner Voices, a youth chamber choir who performed at the beginning and end of the Assembly.
The Faith and Community Leaders who spoke at the Assembly and signed the Declaration were:
London Baptist Association, Reverend David Shosanya
Sadaqa Day/Nisa Nashim Muslim-Jewish Women's Network, Ms Julie Siddiqi
Christian Muslim Forum and London Boroughs Faiths Network, Mrs Catriona Robinson
Citizens UK, Mr Neil Jameson CBE
City Sikhs and Faith Forum for London, Mr Jasvir Singh
Diocese of London, Dean of BAME, Reverend Dr Olubunmi Fagbemi
Greenwich Islamic Centre Trustee and Deputy Lieutenant, Dr Tariq Abbasi
London Methodist District, Interfaith Coordinator, Reverend David Musgrave
We pledge our determination as Londoners to ensure that this great city shall continue to be a place of welcome, generosity and equality, with respect for all
We condemn and oppose prejudice and distrust and will work unceasingly for tolerance and the common good
We abhor all examples of exclusion based on ethnic identity that mar relationships between neighbours of all ages, faiths and backgrounds
We stand in solidarity with those in London who are mistreated or held in contempt because of who they are or where they have come from
We affirm that our diversity is a source of strength and that we are committed to learning from one another
We commit to living out this Declaration in our own lives, in our teaching and preaching and in our community engagement.