Thousands join National Virtual Community Service from Batley

National Virtual Community Service took place for the Great Get Together weekend.

Wednesday, 24th June 2020, 4:52 pm

On Saturday, the online service has been viewed by well over 8,000 people so far.

The annual ‘Great Get Together’ in memory of the murdered MP Jo Cox took place in a new form, because of coronavirus, and Batley showed how connections can still be made.

Revd Canon Mark Umpleby, Associate Priest in the United Benefice of Batley, said: “It was wonderful to see so many people from right across the country joining together for this service. As we continue to learn what it means to live alongside Covid-19.

VCC montage MIC

"It was so special to see people who are distanced physically, from all major religions and beliefs, coming together in this online way.

"It was great to have Rabbis, Bishops, Imams, Ministers, leaders joined together with so many others in the Act of Commitment which concluded with Jo’s words from her maiden speech in Parliament.”

The service included, poetry from Batley Poets, prayers from different faith leaders, and a panel discussion which included Rt Revd Helen-Ann Hartley (Bishop of Ripon), alongside Andrew Copson (CEO Humanist Society), Imam Mohammed Mahmoud OBE (Senior Imam at East London Mosque and ‘hero Imam’ from the Finsbury Park Mosque attack), and Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner (Senior Rabbi Reform Movement).

The service concluded with an Act of Commitment which included members of Jo Cox’s family, Chief Rabbi Mirvis, all six Bishops from the Diocese of Leeds, including Rt. Revd Nick Baines (Leeds), Mr Umesh Chander Sharma (Chair of Hindu UK), and many other voices from across the country.

Start of Act of Commitment

These included those from Hindu, Jain, Christian, Pagan, Jewish, Humanist, Islamic, Sikh, Druid, Baha'i, Spiritualist, Buddhist and many more communities.

The Act of Commitment ended with these words: “We pledge ourselves, to one another, to our communities, and to this world; By the lives we lead, by the attitudes we have, by the actions we take, and the hope and love we share.

"Remembering that we have far more in common than that which divides us.”

Jo Cox’s sister, Kim Leadbeater said, “Following an inspirational Great Get Together weekend, on behalf of Jo’s family, myself and Mum & Dad would like to say a huge and heartfelt thank you to everyone who contributed to the wonderful community service on Saturday.

Panel members

It was a powerful and beautiful, albeit emotional, ‘event’ which perfectly embodied the ethos of ‘More in Common’ and we are hugely grateful for everyone’s hard work in making it happen.”

Sheikh Irfan Soni, Imam in Batley, said: “It is so important that we continue to work and live well together.

"The service gave us all an opportunity of all different faiths and beliefs, to learn from one another and build our friendships. It was great to hear from all of the panel and I was delighted to

join with other faith leaders, in leading a prayer.”

On Friday night, artwork that depicted people's hopes, dreams and reflections on the Power OfCommunity was projected onto Dewsbury townhall 2

If you would like to see the Virtual Community Service, you can still access it anytime on The Great Get Together Facebook and YouTube pages.

Batley and Spenborough MP Jo Cox was murdered in 2016
Mark Umpleby