Watford Bridge of Peace

The State of the Family Today.

Bridge of Peace photo.

On Saturday 13th May, The Women’s Federation for World Peace, Bridge of Peace, hosted a forum on ‘The state of the Family today’ at the Multi Racial Community Centre in Watford. After welcoming everyone, Françoise Murphy, coordinator of the Bridge of Peace, explained about the 2 main objectives of the WFWP: reconciliation through the Bridge of Peace ceremonies and promotion of family values. Peace can only be achieved by overcoming the walls of religions, cultures and races and by resolving the problem of the break down of the family. We all need to be Ambassadors for Peace in our families and communities by practicing selfless love and living for the sake of others.

Gill from St Michael and All Angels gave a presentation on the Christian view of the family. Through various passages and parables from the Bible, Gill describes how a true believer of Christ should conduct himself in the family. She also emphasized the fact that if people should make mistakes, Jesus teaches us to forgive and reach out to them and help them to come back.

Zena, head teacher of a Saturday school for Muslim children, gave a very comprehensive talk about the Islamic view on the family. Zena explained that what she likes about Islam is the fact that Islam gives a very clear idea about how to conduct yourself in your family. She spoke about the challenges for children raised in the Islamic tradition to deal with school and the world outside their home. When trying to fit in, children struggle to find their own identity

After the 2 presentations, the ladies sat in small groups and discussed questions such as: Who is responsible for the decline of the family today? What is our role as women and mothers in safeguarding our family? How to protect our children from the negative influences from our society? It was wonderful to share beyond our cultures and faiths and realize how much we have in common: the same concern about the negative influences of the media and how to keep our children from watching too much TV or getting too involved in violent video games. We spoke about the danger of compromising our faith in order to be more accepted in society etc… We all agreed about the importance of taking time to listen and communicate with our children as the best protection from all bad influences.

Diana from Morality Forum encouraged us to be active and raise our voice against any situations which undermine family values. We have the capacity to make a difference. She explained how through writing letters and signatures campaigns Morality Forum was able to close down sex shops and influence the media. As an example, she suggested we write letter to the Prime Minister about a government website called Connexions which promotes promiscuity and abortion among young people and does not mention abstinence or parental help. Diana introduces us to WAIT an organization of young people who promotes abstinence before marriage and fidelity after through songs, dances and talks. We would like to invite the WAIT team to Watford for our next talk on “teenagers today, generation gap” on Saturday June 24th at the Multi Racial Community Centre.

We had a very meaningful afternoon. We discovered that beyond our faiths and cultures we have the same heart of concern for our families and children and that we are really sisters and part of the same human family.


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