Speech by Lord Mayor of Exeter for Hiroshima Day, 8 August 2015

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
As we face the memorial days, as the Lord Mayor of Exeter, I am honoured to attend this event as part of the international Mayors for Peace movement.

I hope that this significant anniversary will serve as a chance for everyone to remember once again the earnest message of the hibakusha, the surviving victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a Japanese word that literally translates as “explosion-affected people”, that “no one else should ever suffer as we did”, and also renew our commitment to realize a peaceful world free from nuclear weapons.

In these tragedies many died, but many others also lived to see their lives shredded, as their own wounded flesh, fading away slowly, in unbearable suffering from toxic radiation.

I want to honor the memory of these sufferers today and sincerely hope that their innocent sacrifice will serve the cause of peace in our world.

Today, in the arsenals of the nuclear powers, there are bombs which are 20 megatons and more, that is to say that each one has an explosive power more than 1,000 times than that of the Hiroshima bomb.

The future is not written in advance. We cannot penetrate the darkness of our fate. But everything urges us to consider that “nuclear weapons constitute the accepted end of mankind.”

Mankind remains under the effect of a perverse and permanent nuclear blackmail.
We must break free from it.

Everyone has the responsibility to do their part in saving humanity, and not to have to endure the fate that those in Hiroshima and Nagasaki suffered, that we are here to commemorate today.

We look forward to the day when every country will be free from nuclear weapons, with all living in peace, prosperity, and tolerance.

That is a future legacy to be proud of full of hope and kindness.

I hope in marking this anniversary today, that from this will come the change I have outlined.

A story generations after us will tell, not with tears of sadness borne out of war or disaster, but tears of joy and hope for humanity from the lesson learned 70 years ago this week.

Earth Matters, Faith Matters

Update: Workshop report and resources »

At a time of immense environmental and ecological challenge, it is essential that the world’s faith traditions engage more fully in what we may call planetary awareness and action.

Devon Earth and Faith Network invites you to a free day of exploration and inspiration

Sunday 1st November 2015
11.00a.m. – 4.00p.m.
The Old Deanery, Exeter

Main speaker:
Satish Kumar

Other contributors include:
Richard Dealler (Pilgrimage)
Hamzah Saied (Islam and Creation)
Sandhya Dave (Stories of Sustainability)

Aims:

  • To develop a network of locally based faith champions for climate justice and earth care
  • To share good practices and break the isolation of doing this work seemingly alone
  • To inspire participants for the future and enthuse deeper understanding and engagement in issues around their faith and climate justice

Places limited. Please book with Joanie Harris. Tel: 01392-294940 / joanie@exeter.anglican.org. Details will follow.

Download poster (pdf)

DFBF Annual Report 2014-15

AGMOn 9 July, DFBF held its 2015 AGM at County Hall, Exeter. The AGM considered the Annual Report 2014-15, which includes an overview of the year and updates on DFBF’s three projects: DIFFY, Faith Speakers, and DEFAN.

Download the Annual Report 2014-15 (pdf; 3Mb).

 

JutindharoThe guest speaker at the AGM was Ajahn Jutindharo, on “Buddhism, Understanding and Living in the Modern Age”. Ajahn Jutindharo grew up in Leeds. He studied physics at university, and then worked for several years in medical research whilst writing a PhD. At university he became interested in meditation and Buddhism, which culminated in a decision to join a Buddhist monastic order in 1987. His monastic life has been spent primarily in England, with short periods in Asia. Since 2007 he has been the senior incumbent at the Hartridge Monastery in Devon.

Devon Faith Response Team training on 4 September

DFRTIf a serious accident, natural disaster or attack were to happen in Devon, Plymouth or Torbay, the members of the Devon Faith Response Team would work alongside the emergency services and other agencies to provide support for victims and their families and loved ones.

The Devon Faiths Response Team (DFRT) holds regular training workshops, with sessions led by various blue light services, HM Coroner and trauma specialists, and contributions from members of the faith communities.

More than 70 volunteers from 7 different churches and 6 other faith and belief traditions have now been trained, but the DFRT continues to look for new volunteers and welcomes enquiries from interested people who are members of local churches and other faith communities.

The next training day will be held on 4 September 2015 at Windsor House, Tavistock Road, Plymouth. If you are interested, please contact Maia Miller on maiamessenger@yahoo.com.

More information

Message from the Inter Faith Network

[DFBF is a member of the Inter Faith Network]

Next week sees the marking of ten years since the 7/7 bombings in London.  This is the anniversary of a profoundly disturbing moment in our recent history in the UK. 

As that anniversary approaches, many will be gathering to remember those who died and pray for understanding, justice and peace.

On Friday, many British people were among those who met an appalling death in Tunisia, with others left seriously injured. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families and friends.

These attacks have in common with the murders of 7/7, the attempted justification of appalling acts in the name of Islam by their perpetrators. Despite their condemnation by Muslim organisations and individuals, this is an anxious time for many in the UK – not just because of the impact of overseas events on inter faith relations here but also because of the wider issues of extremism and radicalisation.  

It is not just Muslims who suffer the impact of hatred and ignorance. Last week white supremacist Zack Davies was convicted of attempting to murder Dr Sarandev Bhambra of the Sikh community in Mold last year.  And this coming weekend, a neo-Nazi rally is planned in Golders Green, on the Sabbath, in one of the areas with a very large Jewish community. 

Inter faith initiatives at every level have an important role to play in offering reassurance and friendship at times of anxiety and solidarity where people feel under threat, in sustaining dialogue and also enabling discussions about the tough issues we face.

A one-day national meeting for local inter faith groups is being held on 30 July in London by IFN, following a similar day in Sheffield earlier this year. Responding to extreme voices will be among the topics.  But so, too, will faith trails, working with local government, religious literacy, developing successful inter faith programmes and many other topics.  That is a reminder that inter faith engagement is not just about responding to tension and difficulty or solidarity – vital though this is. It is also about continuing to plan, vision and act for a harmonious and peaceful present and future in the UK.

Best wishes,

The Rt Revd Richard Atkinson OBE, Co-Chair
Vivian Wineman,  Co-Chair
Dr Girdari L Bhan, Vice-Chair
Mohinder Singh Chana,  Vice-Chair
Maulana M Shahid Raza OBE, Vice-Chair
The Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala, Vice-Chair

Inter Faith Network for the UK

Exeter – City of Sanctuary

City of Sanctuary initiative began in Exeter at our 2012 Interfaith Week celebration. This has been taken up by a group from the university in association with Refugee Support Devon based in Exeter which organised a very informative lecture series earlier in 2015.

More information about the initiative is available from their website
exeter.cityofsanctuary.org and the national organisation at cityofsanctuary.org.

Exeter City of Sanctuary (ECOS)  now seeks to consolidate the goodwill shown and asks that members from various sectors of Exeter life sign the pledge below. Formal support for ECOS is now sought from the various faith groups in the city.

You are invited to draw attention to the pledge in your respective communities and asked that the pledge  be signed by the appropriate authority on behalf of that community, preferably with a realistic suggestion of what practical actions could be taken in realising that pledge.  Pledges from individuals are also welcome.

Please then either email them to Emma at info@exeter.cityofsanctuary.org or post to Exeter City of Sanctuary, Exeter Community Centre, 17 St Davids Hill, Exeter EX4 3RG.

ECOS pledge