Representatives from across the religious spectrum came together to celebrate Westminster City Council’s Lord Mayor at the annual Civic Service.
Joining Councillor Ruth Bush at the Westminster Abbey event were men and women from the many faiths within the City.
The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster, welcomed the congregation and prayer readers who came from the Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist faiths.
Prayers were also offered up by members of Roman Catholic and Pentecostal churches.
The Reverend Dr Paul Hill, the Lord Mayor’s Chaplain, and a Methodist, gave the sermon.
Councillor Bush, the local authority’s first Labour Lord Mayor and a Methodist herself, said she wanted to bring together people from all faiths.
Speaking after the event Councillor Bush said: “The links between the Lord Mayor of the City and the Abbey go back from the very start.
“As the Chair of the Westminster Faith Exchange I wanted to bring together these different religions because the role of the Lord Mayor is for everyone in the City.”
She added: “And it goes without saying that as the first Labour Lord Mayor, I wanted the readings to be on the theme of social justice.”
The service which recognises the links between Westminster Abbey and the City Council is one of the highlights in the Lord Mayor’s year. As well as the councillors, there were representatives from the local Business Improvement Districts, embassies, high commissions, charities and local businesses.
The Lord Mayor entered the Abbey under a Guard of Honour from 291 (Westminster and Chelsea) Squadron ATC, along with cadets from the London Fire Brigade and British Transport Police.
Donations were made to the Young Westminster Foundation, for their youth club and outreach work.
Note to Editors
Prayers were led by the Reverend Mark Birch, Minor Canon and Sacrist, and said by: the Reverend Anthony Ball, Canon in Residence; Liza Begum, Victoria Muslim community; Gwénaëlle Mallet, Church of Notre Dame de France; Pastor Edford Hall, United Pentecostal Church of Great Britain and Ireland; Rabbi Helen Freeman, West London Synagogue; Vamsidhari Dasa, ISKCON-London, Soho; and the Venerable Ru Hai, Fo Guang Temple.
The service was sung by the Choir of Westminster Abbey conducted by the Organist and Master of the Choristers, James O'Donnell. The organ was played by Peter Holder, Sub-Organist. Music before the service was played by Alexander Hamilton, Organ Scholar.
Councillor Nickie Aiken, Leader, Westminster City Council, read Isaiah 58:6-11; and the Lord Mayor read Luke 19:1-10.