NEARLY 200 people took part in the Redditch Walk of Faith on Sunday, learning in the process about aspects of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism.
The walkers were bathed in sunshine on their journey which took them from St Stephens Church in the town centre to the monthly Sikh temple at Ridgeway Middle School on Evesham Road where the day ended in a spirit of unity and friendship and a meal of delicious food.
“It’s been absolutely, overwhelmingly brilliant,” said Redditch council leader Bill Hartnett, one of the prime movers behind the walk.
“All the faith leaders were asked about peace and how to bring it about and they all gave amazingly similar answers.
“There is so much in this world seeking to divide people yet for all the different faiths in Redditch we’ve found we all share the same common values and that has got to be good for us, our communities and for Redditch.”
Nitin Sodha, who launched the first faith walk in Birmingham and was one of the co-architects of the day said the walk was a dream come true: “I wanted to create social cohesion, to create a bounding and breaking social barriers. The thing is, ultimately, what’s it all about and that’s everyone looking after each other.”
The Revd Paul Lawlor, vicar at St Stephens said: “When all sorts of people are trying to generate fear between faiths something like this is essential to say we are united.
“We do not have to agree with each other but it’s about how we can walk and talk to each other that builds bridges.”
One of the stops on the journey was Redditch Mosque in Jinnah Road and Mobeen Hussain, mosque treasurer, said: “It’s been a very good experience, we are very happy at how everything went and to do it again next year.”
The walk finished a Ridgeway School where the travellers were given a warm welcome by the Sikh community.
“We started this for local Sikhs but everyone is welcome here,” said Cooks Chana of the Sikh community.
“We have to give our thanks to Ridgeway School as this gives us the opportunity to keep an eye on the local community and to look after the elderly, not just Sikhs, but everyone.”
A celebration of unity: The Revd Paul Lawlor, Jas Basi, Councillor Bill Hartnett, Myjinder Braich, Nitin Sodha, and Mohammed Amin.
Food glorious food: Nina Gill and Nina Chana help serve the food to some of the walkers.
The walkers listen attentively to Cooks Chana.
Cooks Chana addresses the gathering at Ridgeway School.