They spoke about the connection between religion, grounding and well-being at Ham & High: Our Community Mental Health Event last Friday (May 21).
Anchored by Ham & High Editor-in-Chief André Langlois, participants in the discussion were Mother Carol Barrett Ford, of St Martin’s Church, Gospel Oak; Bibi Khan, President of Wightman Road Mosque; and Rabbi David Mason of Muswell Hill Synagogue.
The panel discussed how they have used their position in their communities in Camden and Haringey to support the most vulnerable residents -om Zoom sessions and food packages to emergency deliveries to vaccination centers.
Rabbi Mason said, “We believe there is a value in community prayer, being present in the place of worship, and that was shattered during the pandemic.
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“We had to come to terms with that and we had to lead on that and say, ‘That’s it, we’re closing [our places of worship]».
“In this leadership, I remember feeling the trauma myself.
“There was a sense in which every day, every week, I go to this place, I sit in my seat, I give my sermon, I lead the prayers – and it’s done, it’s gone. This fabric has been broken.
The panel spoke of the need to “rebuild” this routine and connection in the community, coming out of confinement.
“Of all things, something good is happening,” said Mother Carol.
“No matter how appalling something is, you’re going to get something good out of it – and this sense of growing our partnerships and how we deal with the various issues that have arisen in the community has been a real boon for us. ”
Bibi said there was a need for more awareness, signage and support for the many people struggling with their mental health.
“Now is not the time for all of us to work independently,” Mosque President Hornsey said.
“We have to work together. It’s the whole community that’s struggling and suffering, and that’s where I focus – reaching out to people and just saying, “Are you okay? How are you?’ “