13th Annual Interfaith Celebration of Animals Service at Golders Green Unitarians

Divine Music: The Mystery of the Creation

Following last year’s interfaith celebration of Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si on cherishing and protecting all God’s Creation, the keynote address at our 13th Animal Interfaith Alliance and World Congress of Faiths Celebration of Animals on Saturday 22 October 2016 at Golders Green Unitarians will be delivered by Rev. Professor Martin Henig.  Professor Henig is a distinguished academic, Vice-president of the Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals, board member of the Animal Interfaith Alliance and an Anglican Franciscan.

‘All world religions pay lip service to the sanctity of the natural world, either as divine or reflective of the Divine Creator’, Professor Henig tells us, but most are highly defective in the way they reflect that sanctity.

‘Animals are killed and mistreated by humankind with apparent impunity and the environment is degraded.  Humans treat both animals and other humans so badly that it is sometimes hard to avoid despair.  As an Anglican priest from a Jewish background, I have for years been stressing the prophetic insights that reveal that all creatures are interrelated and all loved by God. This seems to me to be far more important than differences between faiths. We are judged and will be judged by the genuineness of our love and compassion.’

Central to Professor Henig’s faith is his profound belief in the Eastern religious doctrine of Ahimsa, not doing harm to any fellow living creature.

‘Everything else is ultimately of minor relevance. I find hope in the Platonic doctrine that we live now in a world of shadows and imperfection: blind to the vision of the Divine, truly far beyond our comprehension, and deaf to the heavenly music which orders the Cosmos.  In order to begin to achieve enlightenment we need to abandon our pride, our selfishness and lust for power, stop desecrating the Earth and killing animals and treating them, our brothers, sisters and cousins, as a mere commodity. Only then will true peace descend on our errant species.’

Our interfaith animal celebration will begin at 3 pm and will be led by Rev. Feargus O’Connor, Chair of the Animal Interfaith Alliance and Hon. Secretary of the World Congress of Faiths. Among other speakers will be Barbara Gardner, Director of the Animal Interfaith Alliance, former Treasurer of the RSPCA and author of The Compassionate Animal, and Dr Alpesh Patel, scientific advisor to the Dr Hadwen Trust and a Hindu patron of the Animal Interfaith Alliance.  A candle will be lit for all the world’s animals by Dr Richard D. Ryder, pioneer animal ethicist, scientist, former Chair of the RSPCA and patron of the Animal Interfaith Alliance.  There will be readings from representatives of the world’s great religions and the voluntary collection will go to the Gandhi Schweitzer Universal Kinship Appeal of the Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research.

The service will be followed by fellowship and refreshments at 4.15 pm and the AGM of the Animal Interfaith Alliance will follow at 5 pm.

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