14 March 2018
Liberal Judaism president Rabbi Dr Andrew Goldstein was one of the religious figureheads leading prayers at the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey, which was attended by Her Majesty The Queen and Prime Minister Theresa May.
Andrew was the only Jewish minister to play a role in the service. Prayers were also said by the Reverend Dr Martyn Atkins, Methodist Church; Patrick O’Mara, Baha’i community; Malcolm M Deboo, Zoroastrian community; Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, Muslim community; and His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos, Coptic Orthodox Church.
The Queen was accompanied by TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, HRH Prince Henry of Wales and Ms Meghan Markle, HRH The Duke of York, HRH The Princess Royal, HRH Princess Alexandra, HRH The Countess of Wessex and HRH The Duchess of Gloucester.
The Prime Minister gave a Bible reading during the service. Other notable politicians in attendance included Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and former Prime Minister John Major.
The Queen, who is head of the Commonwealth, told guests: “Through exchanging ideas, and seeing life from other perspectives, we grow in understanding and work more collaboratively towards a common future.
“There is a very special value in the insights we gain through the Commonwealth connection; shared inheritances help us overcome difference so that diversity is a cause for celebration rather than division.”
Rabbi Goldstein said “It was a great privilege to be invited and to read a prayer from Siddur Lev Chadash in Westminster Abbey.”
More than 600 schoolchildren attended the service, as did people of all faiths and none. Reform Judaism was represented by Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers.
The Service was broadcast live on BBC One and the BBC World Service. You can watch it by clicking here – Andrew’s entrance can be seen at 15 minutes and his prayer at 1:07.
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