160 attend interfaith reception with The Queen at Buckingham Palace
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160 attend interfaith reception with The Queen at Buckingham Palace

Director of the Council of Christians and Jews meets Her Majesty alongside charity and faith leaders

Queen Elizabeth II greets Housing Secretary James Brokenshire during a reception at Buckingham Palace, London, to celebrate the work of UK faith and belief groups in bringing local communities together. Photo credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II greets Housing Secretary James Brokenshire during a reception at Buckingham Palace, London, to celebrate the work of UK faith and belief groups in bringing local communities together. Photo credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Jewish community leaders attended an “uplifting” Interfaith gathering at Buckingham Palace with Her Majesty the Queen.

160 people were greeted by the Monarch at a reception to celebrate the work of faith groups in bringing communities together, on Monday.

Elizabeth Harris-Sawczenko, Director of the Council of Christians and Jews was at the meeting and told Jewish News that all guests got to shake hands with Her Majesty the Queen, and that it was “something she clearly wanted to do. She was excited to meet us!”

Attending alongside Mitzvah Day founder Laura Marks, David Dangoor and Trevor Pears, as well as Orthodox rabbis including Nicky Liss, she said the meeting was “very uplifting”.

“I got the chance to meet lots of other interfaith activists and professionals from around the UK and form new relationships, which was great.”

Laura Marks with Qari Asim mbe, Chair, Mosques and imams national advisory board and Catriona Robertson from the Christian Muslim forum

She added that “CCJ is delighted to be a national partner of Near Neighbours”, which supports them with funding for their social action programmes.

Laura Marks, founder of Mitzvah Day, attended on behalf of Nisa-Nashim, the Jewish-Muslim Women’s Network she co-launched in 2015. She said: “I always say this challenging work is best when you work bottom up to make it real and also top down, which gives it authority. To have the Queen herself host a small reception for people working so hard to bring people from different backgrounds together, was not only a serious treat, but it made it thoroughly kosher!”

Baroness Eaton, chairwoman of Near Neighbours, a government-funded programme working to bring together people from different faiths, thanked the Queen for arranging the reception.

The Queen shared that there was a “tremendous amount of talking” among the faith groups who had gathered in the next room.

She was accompanied by the Duchess of Gloucester and also met with James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government, and minister for faith Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth.

L-R: Laura Marks, founder of Mitzvah Day, Imam Qari Asim, Elizabeth Harris-Sawczenko, director of CCJ and Catriona Robertson, Director of the Christian-Muslim Forum
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