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On Holocaust Memorial Day, speak as one; Faiths IN OUR CITY.


LAST week I went to see The King's Speech, the new film about King George VI's battle with the stutter that afflicted him for much of his early life.

I found it absorbing to watch how the King overcame the barrier that constantly threatened to undermine his relationship with others.

I know there are some historical inaccuracies in the film, but the basic story is full of hope and gives us an insight into the power of effective communication.

This week Christians are praying for the greater unity of all the followers of Jesus Christ.

During Christian Unity Week we are more conscious of the things that have undermined effective communication between our divided Churches for the last 400 years.

Today we are irrevocably committed to working together to find ways of ending those divisions, ways to overcome the barriers that prevent us from working and witnessing together more fruitfully.

This weekend our city keeps Holocaust Memorial Day, an occasion that commemorates the victims and survivors of the Holocaust as well as other worldwide genocides.

Our particular focus on the sufferings of the Jewish people unites us in a determination to live justly and peaceably, respecting the differences that enrich our city.

One of Birmingham's blessings is the commitment of our faith groups and their leaders to bringing people of faith together for the common good of all.

These deepening relationships between Hindus and Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and Sikhs have also given the Birmingham Churches a renewed common purpose.

The goal of Christian Unity is to serve the wider unity of all mankind, to be faithful to Christ's mission to be the servant who brings God's Kingdom of justice and peace on earth.

But we can only do this effectively alongside the great family of believers who witness in their own ways to God's love in the world.

One of the lessons of The King's Speech is that the way we deliver our message counts a great deal - it can make the difference between being heard and being ignored.

When people of faith learn to speak with a united voice, there is a real chance that our local communities will be touched by the goodness and creativity and justice of God already at work in their midst.

Bernard Longley is Archbishop of Birmingham.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jan 22, 2011
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