Faith pilgrimage promotes harmony with a progress of peace

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The 28th annual pilgrimage for peace in Hertfordshire took place on Saturday.

The pilgrimage route began and ended in Watford, and visited the Buddist monastery at Great Gaddesden during the course of the day and there was also be a Druid ceremony on the Ashridge estate.

Interfaith Pilgrimage of Peace 2013 at  Amaravati Buddhist Temple, Great Gaddesden

Interfaith Pilgrimage of Peace 2013 at Amaravati Buddhist Temple, Great Gaddesden

Pilgrims set off from Watford’s Holy Rood church before visiting the North Watford Mosque and moving on to Great Gaddesden, where lunch was served.

Bushey and Radlett Reform Synagogue was the next stop during a busy day, before the trip to Ashridge’s Meadley Meadow.

After the Druid ceremony, the pilgrimage programme ended at the Sikh Gurdwara in Watford.

The programme was put together by Westminster Interfaith and the Watford Interfaith Association.

Margaret Slinn, of Adeyfield Gardens, Hemel Hempstead, was one of those involved.

She said: “More than 200 pilgrims represented a variety of faiths, including Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Druids and Christians, and those of no faith at all.”

Many visitors remarked on the peace and tranquillity of the monastery setting, where pilgrims enjoyed a lunch which was provided by a group of Birmingham Sikhs, as it has been ever since the annual event was established.

“Such hospitality given with such generosity was enjoyed and much appreciated by all,” said Margaret. “It was a time to meet and share what we had discovered.”

On the Ashridge estate, the druid celebrant dressed in a white robe with a green cloak led pilgrims in a circle ceremony and gave an explanation about aspects of the Druid faith.

“It was enlightening and gave a beautiful experience of nature linked with its spirituality and sacredness,” said Margaret. “Many people were visiting the estate but such peace prevailed.”

Of the overall pilgrimage, she said: “We gained knowledge of each others’ faiths, but also witnessed the friendship, kindness and generosity of so many different people, each one spreading peace, love, respect, tolerance, harmony and selfless service. We were privileged to be present at this pilgrimage.”