Festival of Peace and Spirituality has begun this evening with some stirring choral music from South Africa and other parts of the world - reflecting the truly international flavour of the 6-29 August events it hosts.
Siyahamba is a South African hymn that became popular in churches across the globe in the wake of the struggle against apartheid in the 1980s. The title means "We Are Marching" or "We are Walking" in the Zulu language, and the key words are "We are marching in the light of God."
The chair of the Festival, the Very Rev Dr John Armes pointed out that as well as reaching the eleventh year of the Festival of Spirituality and Peace, this year's programme anticipates the tenth anniversary of 9/11. Standing alongside the victims of violence and inhumanity, people of all faiths and none are being encouragedto seek alternatives to a world of conflict and injustice, he said.
Among the special guests present were the Japanese and Norwegian consuls - whose countries have witnessed disaster and horror recently. A book of condolences for the families and friends of the victims of the Norway shootings is available for signing at St John's Church.