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News & Views

Peace of Cake gathering in March

On 3 March, Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel hosted a ‘Peace of Cake’ event in honour of International Women’s Month with the intention to build connections and share different viewpoints. A group of men and women from the Bahai, Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities came together to discuss the important role women play in our respective faiths and communities. Peace of Cake was originally conceived by Asma Meer in 2015 following the Paris attacks as a way to address islamophobia, antisemitism and mistrust between people of different religions in a positive way.

‘As a Chapel we are committed to supporting this work by hosting and helping to organise more Peace of Cake events in the future. We want to encourage people to listen to each other with respect and to find the courage to tell their stories, whether we host the event in our Chapel or - even better - get to visit other places of worship.’ Rev Kate Dean, event co-organiser and minister of Rosslyn Hill Chapel


The event opened with a performance of Peace Train by three Muslim girls from the Olive School Hackney Choir. There were brief panel discussions from guest speakers, pictured left, Fauzia Saeed (Muslim World League London Office), Rev Kate Dean (Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel), Laura Marks CBE, Sanaz Sadat (Baha’i Community and Revd Catriona Laing (Emmanuel Church, West Hampstead). But the main event was the sharing of huge amounts of cakes at cafe-style tables where everyone was encouraged to meet and mingle, asking questions and sharing their perspective about life in London as part of a faith community and the important issues that women face today. The session ended with Laurie Shone from Mitzvah Day highlighting the issue of ‘period poverty’. She spoke passionately about the plight of girls who cannot afford period products and often miss out on going to school or taking part in other activities because of their periods. Cash contributions and female sanitaryware products were collected then donated to the Sebby’s Corner charity.


If you would like to hold your own Peace of Cake event, you can find help and resources on the Peace of Cake Facebook page:


‘IWD’s theme is “Inspire inclusion”. As you know not only do many women feel excluded from decision making and leadership, but this is often amplified for women of the faith communities, particularly within their own communities. The Chapel in North London buzzed with inclusion... The Peace of Cake event was a way to share a sense of belonging. With a few slices of cake stashed in my bag, and new contacts in my phone, I’m not sure if we quite cracked world peace but we certainly, and inclusively, made a wonderful, sweet and delicious move in the right direction.’ Laura Marks CBE


Alison Bybee, event co-organiser, crudité-cutter and Rosslyn Hill Chapel’s Board Chair, describes her experience:

'We all introduced ourselves and found all kinds of people had shown up - it ranged from professional worship leaders and organisers, to committed workers for charities, to interested joiners, friends and passersby who simply saw the noticeboard on the day. We all went away having learned something new about someone from a different religion.


‘Guests circulated amongst the tables; many became engrossed in their conversations and didn't manage to get around all the tables. However, this enthusiasm for deepening the new connections was very welcome.  At one table I heard how London is a homely base for those who may feel "other" anywhere else, whether due to their appearance, dress or accent.  That was not to say that there are not problems- we wondered are the problems just inevitable? we started to feel inspired to question that assumption -could  we identify and make changes that would improve relations between people.


‘At another table, someone wanted to know, how can we make connections with groups we don't know? Laura Marks CBE, an experienced campaigner, told her that it was best to break polite convention and invite yourself into their space, ask if you can come - to the mosque, synagogue, church or meeting. Open houses and other such stage-managed events are nice to be invited to and make people feel good, but they don't achieve the true connections that are missing, and move the conversation forward where it needs to go.’


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