Faithful Friends preach religious harmony in Forest Gate

Rev Dr Chigor Chike with fellow participants

Rev Dr Chigor Chike with fellow participants - Credit: Archant

Justice, respect, co-operation and positivity were the core messages at an inter-faith meeting attended by dozens of people.

Emmanuel Parish Church, in Romford Road, Forest Gate, hosted the get-together to review the efforts of the Faithful Friends project throughout the year.

The idea behind Faithful Friends is to unite the borough’s religious – and non-religious – communities in a bid to promote understanding and comradeship.

The Rev Chigor Chike, vicar of Emmanuel Parish Church and director of Faithful Friends, which has run since 2007, was impressed with the event.

“We had a very good turnout,” he said. “Guests included Newham’s borough commander, Tony Nash, members from the Women’s Institute and people from mosques, temples and gurdwaras.

“We talked about community, unity and friendship.”

Around 60 people attended the event and, alongside Rev Chike, the borough commander also gave a presentation.

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“He spoke about how important our work is at Faithful Friends,” Rev Chike said.

“He said that bringing people together is what communities need – and how we are helping to promote harmony in Newham.”

The Archdeacon of West Ham, Elwin Cockett, was also present – and told the audience the work Faithful Friends does in the community should not be underestimated.

Rev Chike also said the perception of religious communities around the world was key to the evening’s message.

“We had a minute’s silence for the victims of terrorism in Paris and Mali,” he said. “The recent attacks have been justified in the name of faith – and we obviously reject that.

“Those actions go against the preachings of our religions.

“If we didn’t highlight the positives of religious people then the news would nothing but negativity.”

Also included in the review of the year was work done on the environment, health and collections made for refugees fleeing their homes worldwide.

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