Posts Tagged ‘Christian’

London’s Religions

Sunday, March 21st, 2021

Life or at least writing this blog was rather easier in those pre-Covid days. Then I was still getting out and visiting places and covering events, meeting people and going to exhibitions, and there was usually something obvious for me to write about. Now I’m largely living in front of a screen, simply taking the occasional walk or bike ride for exercise and watching and listening aghast as Britain slides increasingly into a country ruled by greed and moving into fascism. Certainly dispiriting times.

So I’ve been looking back, publishing on Flickr the work I made back in the 70s and 80s (and soon the 90s) much of which has never been seen before, and also in writing in posts like this about things that I covered on this day a two, three or twenty years ago. And that’s a problem too. Today I had the choice between 2008, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 or 2018 (and possibly more) in all of which I was taking pictures of events on London’s streets on March 21st. Should I go for racism, anti-racism, tax-dodging and fair treatment for low paid workers in 2015 or against deportations, knife crime and Lambeth Council closing community centres in 2017? Should I choose on issues or on my opinions of how good my pictures were?

In the end I chose 2008 for today, largely because its different to most of the other days I’ve written about recently. It perhaps is time for a short rest from me banging on about corrupt Labour councils, though in the 2017 piece I wrote on closing community centres there I did have a nice quote from Anna Minton who found that “20 per cent of Southwark’s 63 councillors work as lobbyists” for developers in the planning industry and that a significant number of Councillors and Council officers are making use of a ‘well-oiled revolving door’ to the industry.

But March 21st 2008 was for me a day about religion in London, with three religious festivals coming together, Christians celebrating Good Friday, the Jewish festival of Purim and Hare Krishna celebrating Gaura Purnima. Although these happen around the same time of the year they seldom all fall on the same day. For 2021, Gaura Purnima is on the 28th March, Purim was on 25-6 February and Good Friday comes on April 2nd.

Back in 2008 I also covered other religious festivals in London, ncluding the Druids featured yesterday, and at the end of March Vaisakhi in Hounslow. In April I took pictures at Milad 2008 – Eid Milad-Un-Nabi, Woolwich Vaisakhi and Manor Park Nagar Kirtan.

You can find out more about these events and see many more pictures on My London Diary:

Gaura Purnima – Hare Krishna
Purim Fun Bus
Good Friday Walk of Witness

Iona – the Abbey

Friday, August 14th, 2020

Every time I peel an onion, something I do several times most weeks, it reminds me of our stay at Iona. As paying guests of the Iona Community at the Abbey we took our part in the daily chores which kept the place running, and each morning after breakfast I went with the other ‘Otters’ – the work group to which I had been assigned to the kitchen to prepare vegetables. My part in this job seemed always to be one of two or three of us peeling onions – and you need a lot of onions to cook vegetarian meals for around 50 or 60 people.

There are a lot of dodges that people advise to avoid tears when peeling onions, and I think I tried them all. They may help if you are only peeling one or two, but none help if you have a mountain of them to get through. You cry, and crying only makes it worse. Still, I think I preferred it to cleaning the lavatories and washrooms that my partner was assigned to.

The Abbey is essentially a twentieth-century reconstruction carried out by teams of volunteers from the Iona Community after the site with its ruins was gifted to the Church of Scotland by the 8th Duke of Argyll in 1899, with more modern living accommodation built alongside it in a matching external style.

The Duke is still present – in marble, lying beside his wife.

As well as the abbey, alongside it is a small church, the oldest building on Iona (c 1150) with an ancient graveyard where 48 Kings of Scotland were buried. They were joined more recently by Labour leader John Smith; a boulder marks his grave with the message “An Honest Man’s The Noblest Work of God”.

There are ruins of another chapel in the grounds, as well as those of a former Bishop’s House, and splendid views across the sound to Mull, enough to drag me out of bed for a short walk before breakfast (and onions.) And of course there were a number of short religious services, optional but an important part of the experience, though with too much unaccompanied singing for my taste.

More pictures in and around the Abbey from our visit 12 years ago on My London Diary.