Taken from the Diocese of Oxford website
From tiny hamlets to our biggest cities, people across the Thames Valley may be feeling unsafe. Those who for weeks, months, years, decades, or a lifetime have made their home here, now feel unwelcome. Those of us who belong to minorities – particularly ethnic and religious minorities – feel a sense of heightened visibility and enhanced vulnerability. The recent escalation of verbal and physical violence in the wake of the EU Referendum is clearly implicated, and must be challenged.
We come together as people of all faiths and of no particular faith, to stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with one another, and with a clear message: in diversity is life; in diversity is growth; in diversity is transformation and creativity. We celebrate the multiple communities of faith and ethnicity that vitalise and enrich our civic, commercial and political life, our arts and our culture. We rejoice in our European identity, our wider international links and our global citizenship. We recognise too that much diversity, especially in our rural areas, is hidden, and will remain so whilst insecurity is allowed to have the upper hand. This is the case even though individuals from minority communities may feel a sense of heightened visibility and risk in rural contexts.
With the power that we have, and the resources at our disposal – we commit to meet hatred with love, confusion with hope, anger with peace and fear with joy.
The ‘love your neighbour’ campaign is owned by us all and seeks to draw people together and to believe the very best for our region.
So go… know your neighbour… love your neighbour.
Concerned? What are you doing? Contact Jo Duckles to share your story.
A Prayer for #loveyourneighbour
God of diversity,
We are fragile, insecure. We doubt our loveliness and our worth. Conflicted within ourselves, we compete, imposing our will on others, trying to outdo and to put down. We fight, creating outsiders and insiders – us and them.
Lord, we confess our part in creating conflict; our collusion with abuse; our failure to challenge the principalities and powers.
But we know that you meet us in unexpected places. That you invite us to find you in the people we write off; In places we fear and reject; in experiences we shy away from.
When we avert our eyes in discomfort, you fix our gaze. When we flee in terror, you invite us to return – to fear not. When we grow cold and inert, you touch us and bring the warmth and energy back.
Ignite in us a love for our neighbours and a passion for justice. Give us hearts that listen, souls that attend to you, minds that reflect, constantly, on your ways and your will. Help us to know you, forever, anew.