Chalice Lighting in St Mark’s


Recently I was in Pinner, a pleasant, leafy suburb of North-West London. We lived near there for five years, and know the district well.

We were in a café having coffee with some friends on a Saturday morning. Across the road on a corner was a local synagogue set back a little from the street. Jewish people were coming and going from the Sabbath service. I had passed this way many times before. But this time something was different. Large, anti-assault blocks of concrete had been placed on the two sides of the synagogue facing two streets. Two men were keeping watch and speaking into their walkie-talkies.

I had a feeling of shock. Can this be happening in our country now? Is this what things have come to that people feel at risk going to their place of worship and in their place of worship? I wanted to stop and speak to one of the guards, but I knew at once that that would be seen as a potentially dangerous distraction. I walked on.

And recently here in Scotland, in Glasgow, a man belonging to the Ahmadiya sect of Islam was murdered for his allegedly heretical beliefs.

I light this candle for all those who suffer from hatred within religions, and between different religions.