Peace Walk makes Luton’s community strong

Peace Walk. Ryad wishes to thank the walkers, police, and all volunteers/trustees.
Peace Walk. Ryad wishes to thank the walkers, police, and all volunteers/trustees.

Over 200 people gathered with love in their hearts for Luton’s annual Peace Walk, aiming to ask questions about faith and unite the community.

The town’s 22nd march took place on Saturday, September 22, as people old and young and of different religions prepared to go on a journey of discovery, despite the gloomy weather.

The walk began at the Luton Town Hall War Memorial, before the group visited Luton Salvation Army, the University of Bedfordshire Chaplaincy, the Quaker Meeting House, and the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir.

Ryad Khodabocus, community relations development officer at Luton Council of Faiths, the organisation which planned the event, said: “The Peace Walk coincides with the International Day of Peace that was on September 21, and the aim of the walk is to break barriers and build friendships in the community.

“If you don’t know about a place of worship and are feeling too shy to go along and join, you can come on the Peace Walk and ask questions.

“We want to bring a positive energy to the town. We had people who said ‘I had a bad week, but I came on the Peace Walk and got a warm feeling about the community’.

“The police said it was really good to be here.”

Many Luton pupils joined the march, including children from Whitefield, Chantry, St. Martin De Porres, Ramridge and Hillborough primary schools, with the march hoping to include more Key Stage 3 pupils next year.

At the Salvation Army, the walkers reflected on local faith eventsthat had recently taken place, while at the University of Bedfordshire there was a discussion about its Tree House Chaplaincy, including an emotional talk aboutknife crime and the need for forgiveness.

The Quaker Meeting House was chosen so as people could learn more about the faith group, and at BAPs, Hinduism was discussed.

A LutonBorough Council spokesman, said: “It is very important, in a richly diverse town like ours, that we take opportunities to learn about and appreciate other cultures.”