On 25th January, Bishop John Sherrington joined the Barnet Multi Faith Forum’s 'Together for Humanity' Vigil, an opportunity for faith leaders in Barnet to join together, acknowledge the immense suffering of those affected by conflict and resolve to be builders of peace in their own community.
Bishop John began the evening paying tribute to the work of the recently deceased Deacon Anthony Clark who served the Barnet Multi Faith Forum for over 15 years. ‘To try and build bridges between people of different faiths was part of Anthony’s make-up and probably shaped by the many and varied experiences of his life.’
In 2023, Deacon Anthony was honoured at the London Borough of Barnet Civic Awards for Outstanding Service to the Community. Nominated by the Barnet Multi Faith Forum, he was recognised for ‘his dedication and commitment to the Barnet Borough community providing support and guidance to many individuals and organisations’.
Bishop John said, ‘He then dedicated his gifts to his family as a devoted husband and father and to education where he wished to develop the potential of every student for the good of others. On retirement from the world of education he served others in his work as a hospital chaplain at the Royal Free Hospital. He was well respected on the wards and known to be close to the ‘little ones’ of the Lord.
‘Ordained as a deacon in the Church, he was a man to serve others in his parish at Golders Green and the Hospital. His experiences of different cultures and peoples led to his desire to serve the Barnet Multi Faith Forum. I believe that his experiences helped him to see that only by dialogue and working together do we understand one another, overcome division and prejudice and glimpse the mystery of God’s revelation.’
During the vigil, Dr Lindsay Simmonds, alongside her colleague and friend Julie Siddiqi MBE, spoke of the importance of building bridges between peoples and cultivating relationships that lead to peace.
Magen Inon continued this theme, speaking on his hope for peace, after his parents were killed during the 7th October attacks. He was joined by a video of Hamze Awawde, who shared that he and Magen have children of the same age and like to play football together. In many ways, Hamze said, this is how we build peace. Adults can often complicate matters, but peace is created when we live as neighbours, side by side, sharing life together.
Martin Russell, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Barnet, finished by reflecting that, to build peace is to seek the good of others. As Catholics, we can be bridge builders by creating peace in our communities and willing the good of the other also created in the image of God.
Photos: Shaun Sanders