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November 28, 2016
Annual Civic Service for Peace in Birmingham
Several of the principal places of worship in Birmingham hold an annual civic service to which are invited representatives of other faiths as well as of various public organisations. This year Ven.Dr. Witharandeniye Kassapa - O.B.E. attended Civic Mass at St Chad's Catholic Cathedral on Sunday, 20 November, along with Mr.Yann - M.B.E. and Mrs. Ann Lovelock, on behalf of local Buddhists. Among city dignitaries were the Lord Mayor, the Leader of the City Council, and several other councillors; the Deputy Lord Lieutenant and some of her assistants; several High Court judges and other members of the judiciary; and high ranking officers from the army, police and fire service.

On the Catholic side there were members of two orders of Papal Knights, as well as a Knight of Malta, all of whom are identified with various forms of service as, indeed, were many others among the invitees. Also represented in the congregation were members of Birmingham Faith Leaders Group, not least among whom was the officiating Archbishop himself; four members of Birmingham Council of Faiths, including a Jain and one of the leaders of a scout troop; and two trustees of the Faith Encounter Project, which has now trained over a hundred guides to places of worship in Birmingham and the Black Country (several Buddhists included).

On this occasion, the congregation was celebrating the good that had been achieved during the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which was the theme of Archbishop Bernard Longley's address. It had taken place at a time of extreme political shifts, with their focus on individual rights rather than on service and the welcoming of those who suffer from destitution and persecution. We who take our faith seriously were reminded that what is most important in the religious life is the creation of good karma and the recognition that all of humanity are part of one family.
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