By Marcus Braybrooke
St. Martin in the Fields in London’s Trafalgar Square was full on July 24th for a special evening service which marked the 75th anniversary of the founding of the World Congress of Faiths. The venue was particularly appropriate as the memorial service for Sir Francis Younghusband – the founder of WCF – which was held there in 1942, and included tributes from people of different faiths, in what The Church Times described as a ‘rather improper performance.’
This year’s service on July 24th was a reminder that today, thanks to the translations made during the last century, and now the world-wide web, we can learn from all the scriptures which are treasured by different faith communities. Increasingly faith communities see their holy scriptures not as a possession to be guarded from others, but as a precious gift to be held in trust and to be shared with all people.
At the beginning of the service, those attending greeted each other with words of peace. During service participants rededicated themselves to working together for peace, caring for those who are hungry and afflicted, and to treasuring the earth.
The service was led by Rev. Richard Carter of St Martin in the Fields. There were readings from several diverse world scriptures. The address was given by Rabbi Jackie Tabick. Prayers and a meditation were said and conducted by members of different faiths. The readings were interspersed by hymns and anthems, beautifully sung by the Choral Scholars of St Martin in the Fields.
The service was preceded by a reception for members and friends, arranged by the International Committee of the Church. After the service the Gold Interfaith medallion was presented to Rabbi Jackie Tabick by Rev. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke on behalf of Sir Sigmund Sternberg.