Shree Swaminarayan Mandir, Bolton was the host venue for a special meeting of prayers and remembrance for the victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Bolton Interfaith Council organised the event at a short notice and required a central venue which was appropriate.
Chan Parmar, Strategic Officer of Bolton Interfaith Council has a good working relationship with the temple and called on them at short notice. The Managing Committee felt it was a privilege to be asked, as Hindus we should do what we can to support and immediately accepted the request.
Numerous invites were sent out across Bolton with key speakers representing various faith groups and other organisations agreeing to speak.
The event was opened with the lighting of a divas by Kanjibhai Naran- Bolton, Mandir, Rasikbhai Mistry – Bolton Hindu Forum, Phil Austin – Quaker Friends, Jim Hollyman – Bolton Christian Community, Frank Green – Christ Church, Little Lever and Ibrahim Kala – Muslim Community. Following the lighting of the diwas, a short silence was observed and then the key speakers shared their messages of condolences with the 50 or so people who had attended the remembrance service.
Ganshyambhai Patel spoke on behalf of the temple. He read out a letter received from Shree Purushottampriyadasji Maharaj, Gurudev of the Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan. Frank Green read a few verses from the Bible, Jim Hollyman recollected some words by the Arch Bishop of Canterbury and a prayer, Phil Austin shared his thoughts and feelings about the tragic events in Japan, Karen Openshaw and two of the Interfaith Young Ambassadors read out words of condolences, Celia Lythgoe from the 58th Bolton guides read out the exact words as written by the young guides. Chan Parmar then read out a message from Hitachi, who have a base in Bolton. He then ended the event by thanking everyone for attending at such notice and the service was formally closed with a moment of silent reflection.
May peace and love shower upon the people of Japan – Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti