Queen defends the free practice of all faiths on her first public Diamond Jubilee engagement

The first major public occasion of HER MAJESTY the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee was an occasion celebrating the contribution of faith to our society, encouraging active co-operation for the common good by all faiths and none.

Building on the momentum of the UN’s declared annual World Interfaith week (1st–7th February), Her Majesty the Queen attended the multi-faith reception at Lambeth Palace, a historic London residence of Archbishops of Canterbury since the 13th Century. Hosted by Archbishop Rowan Williams, Her Majesty was greeted by representatives of the eight non-Christian religions, who gathered together to express their respect for Her Majesty as Monarch and affirm their commitment to one another in dialogue and to the service of the nation as a whole.

As part of her speech to the auspicious guests, HER MAJESTY the Queen commented: “Here at Lambeth Palace we should remind ourselves of the significant position of the Church of England in our nation’s life. The concept of our established Church is occasionally misunderstood and, I believe, commonly under-appreciated.”

She added: “Its role is not to defend Anglicanism to the exclusion of other religions.  Instead, the Church has a duty to protect the free practice of all faiths in this country.”

On the occasion, each group of faith leaders were gathered around a sacred object selected by them for display at the celebration as an object of particular significance to their faith. HER MAJESTY the Queen then had an opportunity to see and reflect on these, later describing the faiths as “sources of a rich cultural heritage and have given rise to beautiful sacred objects and holy texts, as we have seen today.”

Sikh guests presented a beautiful painting of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Sikh Maharaja from1797-1839. During his reign all faiths were equally respected in Punjab, India. Maharaja Ranjit Singh had the Sikh place of worship Harmander Sahib (Darbar Sahib) gold-gilded (between1803-1830), where the eternal Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Granth Sahib Ji was enthroned for eternity in 30th August 1604.

Reflecting on the event, Bhai Sahib Bhai (Dr) Mohinder Singh, Chairman of the Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha (GNNSJ) & Nishkam Centre commented that: ‘It cannot be denied that a renaissance of religious traditions is taking place virtually all over the globe. It was an honour and privilege to greet and speak to Her Majesty, who remembered the visit to Harmander Sahib in October 1997. GNNSJ had completed 65% of the gold-gilding of ‘Darbar Sahib’ 165 years after Maharaja Ranjit Singh carried out the regilding’.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ENDS

 

Released by: Nishkam Centre

Telephone: 0121 515 4229

Email: info@ncauk.org

 

Notes for Editors 

Photo caption – Bhai Sahib Dr Mohinder Singh displays the painting of Maharaja Ranjit Singh to her Majesty the Queen.

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