Canary Wharf estate has continued to evolve and diversify over the years, but it continues to be home for many international businesses, and therefore contributes to a very rich and diverse working community. Therefore, the chaplaincy is Multifaith rather than just Christian, supporting and encouraging people of all faiths and none. The ability for the chaplains to work together is that each chaplain is an expert and has integrity in their own faith. We are very aware of our differences and respect each other while at the same time having enough in common to equip and motivate us to work together providing high quality pastoral care and spiritual support.
Recently, we have heard much about the late Queen Elizabeth’s own Christian faith over the years. While she was not head of the Church of England, she was its supreme governor and believed that the established church had a wider role. In 2012 she made the made the following comments, “The concept of our established church is occasionally misunderstood, and I believe, commonly underappreciated …its role is not to defend Anglicism to the exclusion of other religions …Instead, the church has a duty to protect the free practices of all faith in this country”.
We now have a new King, Charles III who recently affirmed this, saying “I have always thought of Britain as a ‘community of communities.’ That has led me to understand that the Sovereign has an additional duty — less formally recognized but to be no less diligently discharged. It is the duty to protect the diversity of our country, including by protecting the space for Faith itself and its practise through the religions, cultures, traditions and beliefs to which our hearts and minds direct us as individuals … I hold myself bound to respect those who follow other spiritual paths, as well as those who seek to live their lives in accordance with secular ideals.”
The chaplains have always followed this ideal and will continue to do, being inspired and following their own faith paths. I as a Christian am inspired by the powerful teaching of Jesus to love God and love thy neighbour as thyself – in other words, what many other faiths refer to as the golden rule, treat others as you would like them to treat you. This emphasis gives spirituality a practical purpose.
A final word from Queen Elizabeth, who said, “Whether we believe in God or not, I think most of us have a sense of the spiritual, that recognition of a deeper meaning and purpose in our lives, and I believe that this sense flourishes despite the pressures of our world.”