29th June 2021
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has joined a host of faith leaders in supporting National Thank You Day on Sunday 4th July – an opportunity for people throughout the UK to come together to say a massive thank you to everyone who deserves it.
In reflecting on the concept of gratitude, the Archbishop said:
“Throughout the pandemic, Faith Communities have offered support, a listening ear and a helping hand to people across the nation. Sunday 4th July is a perfect opportunity for us to come together to say a massive thank you to those people who don’t hear it enough – whether they have helped to run food banks, held online worship, or supported those who are lonely or who have lost loved ones.
“I am humbled and thankful to God for the kindness and neighbourly spirit we have seen emerge in such a difficult time. The crisis has reminded us all that when it really matters, we’re here for one another. And that’s something for which we can be truly grateful.”
Imam Qari Asim, Chair of the Mosques and Imams Advisory Board added:
“The last year has highlighted some of the inequalities in our country. We have seen some communities and groups of people affected more than others. We must learn lessons and build back better to close those gaps. Faith communities have shown tremendous acts of kindness and selflessness throughout the pandemic. I am so proud of mosques around the country that have made incredible sacrifices to support many around them, regardless of their backgrounds. The spirit of working together will need to be sustained as we continue on the road to recovery post Covid”.
The support comes as senior faith leaders gathered at the Oasis Hub in Waterloo, London on Friday – which has been the focal point for extensive community activity throughout the Covid crisis – to meet with community members to hear powerful stories of all the incredible things that have been done through the crisis and express their thanks by serving food to all those in attendance.
Julie Siddiqi of Together We Thrive, which works with faith communities across the UK who attended the event in Waterloo, also said:
“It has been humbling to see how faith groups have come together, have stepped up and done what they are good at – helping and serving people from all backgrounds. In times of need we must come together more not less and use these moments to remind ourselves how much we need one another.”
Kicking off National Thank You Day on 4th July will be an interfaith gathering being hosted in the symbolic ruins at Coventry Cathedral, known for its work since World War Two on peace and reconciliation. Senior representatives from all major faiths will be joined by the local Muslim girls’ school, the Chamber of Commerce and others to take part in a powerful collective moment of reflection and gratitude, ahead of thank you activities beginning in commnuities throughout the UK.
The Dean of Coventry Cathedral said:
“We are delighted to be gathering in this place of brokenness and thanksgiving, which has inspired so many to hope and work for a better future for all people. It is a wonderful place to reflect not just on the losses of these Covid months, but also the strength and solidarity which we have found from one another and all our different faiths and beliefs. Together, we share love and hope as we begin to look forward again.”
Imams in Mosques around the UK will also be including Thank You Day in their Sermons on Friday July 2nd, reminding the importance of all communities coming together to continue to help and support each other and how gratitude is central to Islamic teachings. And Churches up and down the country will be thanking their congregations and volunteers for helping get through the year. Jewish and Muslim women are organising picnics together in locations across the UK.
At a local level, thousands of events are being planned. An interfaith village party is taking place in Smethwick, West Midlands outside the local church. With bunting, cake, music all planned, speakers and representatives from all faiths, police, local authority are set to take part’.
It’s organiser Canon Dr Andrew Smith said:
“We are delighted to be taking part in this excellent initiative to thank people for the countless acts of generosity and kindness that have taken place during the pandemic. It’s a great chance for folk from all walks of life, from different faiths and cultures to come together and express our shared gratitude to those who have helped us. Smethwick is a place of great diversity and this will be reflected at our event by the faiths and cultures represented; People will be giving thanks in their own languages and will draw on their religious traditions which have helped so many people in this difficult time.”
Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, Chief Executive of Christian Aid, also added:
“We are proud to be involved in Thank You Day on 4thJuly. It is a great initiative that allows us to give thanks again to all our supporters who have been tirelessly fundraising and campaigning throughout the pandemic and finding new and creative ways to do so. It is inspiring to witness so many people thinking about our global neighbours when times at home have been so challenging. Their love and support is reaching some of the most vulnerable people in the world and we are thankful for all that they do.”
Starting from just 13 individuals proposing a Thank You Day, the idea is now supported by hundreds of organisations across the country, ranging from the Scouts and Guides to Rotary and the Royal Voluntary Service, the Church of England, the NHS, The Mirror and The Sun and the Football Association.
Faith organisations supporting this moment include Near Neighbours, Faiths United, The Interfaith Network UK, the Church of England, the Methodist Church, Oasis Community Learning, New Wine, YourNeighbour, Good Faith Partnership, The Jewish Volunteering Network, The Feast, The Salvation Army, Churches Together in England, Gratitude Initiative, Welcome Churches, The Welcome Directory, Global Somali Diaspora, Christian Aid, Nisa-Nashim Jewish and Muslim Women’s Network, the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB), Liberal Judaism, Bhaktivedanta Manor Hare Krishna Temple, City Sikhs, Sewa Day, Muslim Charities Forum and Star Academies.