Continuing BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha’s commitment to National Inter Faith Week, and following the prayer meeting with local faith leaders at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London, devotees from the Mandir joined parishioners from St Anselm’s Church in Belmont for a day out together on Wednesday 20 November 2013. The day included visits to Lambeth Palace and each other’s places of worship to learn about their respective faiths.
The party gathered at St Anselm’s Church shortly before 11.00am and were warmly welcomed by Rev. Rana Khan and other members of the church. Friendships forged over tea and light vegetarian snacks kindly prepared by the church, after which the group departed for Lambeth Palace amidst unexpected snow flurries.
The two-hour guided tour of Lambeth Palace – the official London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, worldwide leader of the Anglican Communion – helped further develop the new-found friendships between members of both faiths. This continued during a tour of the City by coach.
The group arrived at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Neasden shortly after 5pm and were guided around the complex where the church-goers learned about the religious significance of temple architecture and various Hindu beliefs, values and practices.
The day came to a relaxing end with tea and refreshments as everyone reflected on a fruitful day of learning and fun.
Nitin Palan, interfaith volunteer for BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha in the UK, shared: “The opportunity for temple-goers to meet with Christians from St Anselm’s and visit their places of worship provided an interesting way to better understand the common values that are important to both faiths. Sharing one another’s experiences not only educated but helped to build positive relationships, something which His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj has always valued and promoted.”