Sunday, January 29, 2017

"Never underestimate the power of a simple gesture or that of the humble little snowdrop – a symbol of hope and consolation..."

A message from Lynn Radnedge, who chairs Finchley's CCJ (Council of Christians and Jews) branch, for this evening's Holocaust memorial service at St Mary at Finchley...
(See also Metro coverage of Holocaust Memorial Day and one survivor's story here: "Far right rise is so shocking, says survivor of death camp")

Anyone who has ever suffered a devastating loss or tragedy in their lives often asks themselves how life can possibly go on. 
Each year at this time we hear stories of unimaginable horror and loss and it's hard to imagine how millions of people then and now found the courage to carry on.
And it’s right that we keep telling the stories of those who died and the ones who survived against all the odds.
I’m so proud of the tradition we started eight years ago at this church to honour HMD with all faiths and ages.
It’s wonderful to see so many young people involved – our friends from Finchley Rikud, the youth choir from this church and, as always, such a wealth of expressive artwork from the Junior Church. Who else but the young can pass on this message to future generations – the message which must never be forgotten?
Tonight’s service reflects more than ever the growing support from our churches and synagogues and highlights the very special relationship we, as people of faith in Finchley, share - and our special connection to our friends on Barnet Council and our MP who has promised to join us at some point this evening.
We join hands in love and tolerance to play our part – however small – towards making our community, our country, our world a fairer, kinder, more peaceful and safer place to be.
Every year, of course, we display our bowl of snowdrops - bulbs we plant every year at the start of One World Week in October - in keeping with the borough’s tradition of planting bulbs in memory of all the children who died in the Holocaust.
If you look closely as you leave you may see dozens of little heads popping out of the soil around at the side and front of our church.
Last October, after the rest of us had set off on the annual OWW Peace Walk, Julie Dunbar carried on planting tiny bulbs under the noticeboard at the front of the church. She was interrupted by a passer-by who wanted to know what she was doing.
Julie explained our tradition and was delighted with the woman’s enthusiastic response.
“Oh, that’s wonderful,” she said. “I’m on my way to Synagogue - I’m going to tell them about it.”
Never underestimate the power of a simple gesture or that of the humble little snowdrop – a symbol of hope and consolation.
I’d like to leave the last word to Hope Azeda, a young survivor of the genocide in Rwanda, who tells us: “Life can go on if there is courage to embrace tomorrow with love, peace, dignity and respect.”

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