Westminster Interfaith: Promoting Dialogue Between People of Faith

The agency of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster for Interreligious Dialogue




The shrine

London Dojo Temple
The shrine prepared for the celebration


The monks take their places round the shrine

London Dojo Temple
The celebration begins


Monks and friends at prayer

London Dojo Temple
the celebration proceeds

Westminster Interfaith Newsletter

Issue 62 – July 2009

24th Anniversary Celebration of the London Peace Pagoda

It was a sunny but windy day in Battersea Park by the River Thames, where the Peace Pagoda is situated. The Buddhist monks and nuns had prepared everything impeccably. I had met the Venerable Nagase some days before. He was busily sweeping away the dust and leaves that had accumulated there. Earlier he had jet-washed the stonework. It was a real labour of love.

On Saturday 20th June, at the foot of the Pagoda, a shrine had been specially erected for the occasion. It was covered in cloth and adorned with flowers and candles. In front of the shrine, on a platform covered in blue tarpaulin, lay a red carpet with cushions.

The very moving ceremony opened with a procession of monks and nuns of Nipponzan Myohoji from the Temple to the Peace Pagoda, followed by a welcome from Mr Shigeo Kobayashi, who acted as Master of Ceremonies throughout the afternoon. The monks and nuns sat on the red carpet with their legs crossed and offered chants, incense, flower petals and prayers to the Buddha. Then there was more chanting by monks and nuns of various Buddhist traditions, after which we were all invited to process around the Pagoda, offering incense and flowers if we wished.

At about 3.00 pm, Interfaith Prayers for World Peace were offered by representatives from different faith traditions: Baha'i, Brahma Kumari's, Hindu, Islam, Jain, Jewish and Sikh. Some were sung with musical accompaniment or chanted, others were recited. Unfortunately, Tishi Kohli, from the Hindu tradition, was in intensive care. Please pray for his quick recovery. Christian Prayers were also offered as well as greetings from the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, the new Archbishop of Westminster and from the Most Reverend Kevin McDonald, Archbishop of Southwark, Chair of the Department of Dialogue and Unity of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.

There were also messages and speeches from other specially invited guests, including Councillor Jane Cooper, Deputy Mayor of Wandsworth and Bruce Kent, Vice President of CND.

The speeches were followed by some beautiful devotional music and dance from different faith traditions. The celebrations ended with the opportunity to chat with the monks and guests and share some light refreshments.


A Christian Prayer for Peace on the 24th anniversary of the Peace Pagoda

Battersea Park, 20th June 2009

On behalf of the Catholic Christian Community I offer the following Prayer for Peace, which was used in Assisi, Italy, on the Day of Prayer for World Peace, during the United Nations International Year of Peace in 1986.

"Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God".

"But I say to you that hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To those who strike you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from those who take away your cloak, do not withhold your coat as well. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from those who take away your goods, do not ask them back again.

And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them."

We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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