Religious leaders call for joint Guild march

Timothy Lipscomb, leading the Good Friday Walk of Witness, in Lune Street, Preston
Timothy Lipscomb, leading the Good Friday Walk of Witness, in Lune Street, Preston
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Faith leaders today spoke of their hopes that members of every religion will be able to parade together during the next Guild.

The 2012 Guild Churches Procession on September 3 will only be open to members of the Christian church with other denominations taking part in the Community Procession on September 7.

Today religious leaders expressed their hope the 2032 Guild will better represent the city as a culturally diverse community.

Lakhbir Singh Rai, general secretary of the Guru Nanak Cultural and Recreation Centre and Temple, in Tunbridge Street, Ribbleton, said: “We live in a diverse society, we are all equal but some are more equal than others.”

Preston Council bosses met with members of the city’s Faith Forum where the plan was drawn up for non-Christian religious parades to go in the Community parade.

Fr Timothy Lipscomb, vicar of Preston, said progress was being made in getting people of different beliefs to work more closely together.

He pointed out the Roman Catholic churches used to hold their own Guild procession separate to Protestant denominations but this year’s parade will be ecumenical.

He said: “I suppose one day all faiths will walk together as one. We’re getting there but you cannot walk before you can run.

“In the last 20 years Preston has changed a great deal. We are working with other faiths and hopefully in 2032 we will all walk together.”

Salim Mulla, of Lancashire Council of Mosques, said he thought Muslim groups would be happy to join the community procession and there was a tendency among some to keep religious matters separate.

He said: “In the community procession, everyone should take part. Where there’s a community procession, then the whole community should be working together for the benefit of the whole community.”

Faisal Mansoor of Preston Muslim Society said of the separate processions: “We don’t have a problem taking part in the community procession but it’s a bit disappointing.

“If it’s a faith and religious matter then we should all do it together.

“I think it would be better if all the faiths got together to do it on one day.”

Phil Walsh, Preston Council’s head of Guild community programme, said there could be a time when religions will parade together.

He said: “As far as we are aware there is not that debate.

“I think there is a general acceptance that there is a place for everyone and there has been a great response for 2012.”