Sikhs honoured to have displayed floral arrangement at St Chad’s Cathedral Annual Flower Festival

ik onkarSikhs from the Nishkam Centre and the parent organisation, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha (GNNSJ) were privileged and honoured to be invited to participate in St Chads’ Cathedral Flower Festival in Birmingham which took place on the 20-22 June 2014. Organised by the St Chads Cathedral Association the event was a resounding success at bringing together beautiful floral arrangements and encouraging people of all faith to participate. GNNSJ and the Nishkam Centre were pleased to have been invited and are always keen to work with other faiths and communities.

The Sikh floral arrangement showing ‘EkOnkar’ is the symbol that represents the “One Supreme Reality” or “One God”. Prepared by the Flower Shop Birmingham – a business that forms part of the Nishkam village and started by husband and wife team Ranjit Singh and Hardip Kaur, the floral arrangement stood proud and seemingly not a bit out of place within the great Cathedral. Hardip Kaur said that “it was an honor and privilege to be invited to take part in such a wonderful event”.

The annual event hosted at the picturesque St Chad’s Cathedral which was designed by Augustus Welby Pugin (1812-1852) and completed in 1841 was a fitting venue. The standard of the flower arrangements was quite incredible and each could have been a winner in its own particular way. There were about 400 people at the final concert and at least 1,500 people visited the Cathedral over the whole weekend. They included, the Church of England, the Polish Community, the Caribbean Community as well as many Catholics Parishes and Schools and of course the Sikh Community.

The Judges had their work cut out as the flowers were so impressive. The flower festival involved teams from across the city. The winning design, was by Minh Lane, who works at the Cathedral and produced the display called, “Will these Dry bones Live?” It was the display set up on a sand base representing the desert with drift wood as the dry bones. It had two snakes made of fir cones and the seeds of the cones represented new life. The green Chrysanthemums were the beginning of new life. She got her idea from a book of the bible called Ezekiel. As the Archishop, Bernard Longley, had been called away, the prizes were presented by Cathedral Dean, Canon Gerald Breen.

The Flower Festival 2014 as usual invited people from all walks of life to participate and attend to contribute to its great success. The festival concluded with an Orchestral Concert followed by canapés. The soloist this year was Prof David Saint who played with the orchestra and some organ pieces of his own. Anne Symonds, one of the key organisers is noted to have said, “We set out to give our flower festival as strong an ecumenical flavour as possible. This year were hoping to spread our net even wider and attract yet more ecumenical friends”.

Anne concluded with, “Next year will be a very special year for the Flower Festival and we hope the Sikh community will think about taking part again and this might encourage even more faiths to

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