Humanist ‘Chaplain’ first for Redbridge

The appointment of the first Humanist Chaplain by the new Mayor of Redbridge was celebrated in the Ilford Recorder Faith Column on 6 May 2021

I am delighted to have been appointed as ‘chaplain’ to the next Mayor of Redbridge, the first time a Humanist has held this role. Functions include speaking at the start of full council meetings and attending commemorations such as Remembrance Day.

My group, a partner of Humanists UK, was formed in 2012 to bring non-religious people together and make sure our views are represented locally. 2012 also saw the then new Mayor take the novel step of appointing a multi-faith ‘chaplaincy’, saying that this was “important to reflect the community in Redbridge…”  A Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Jewish representative each gave a reading at a service marking the start of that mayoral year. One said: “I think it’s an excellent idea as it reflects the diversity of society in Redbridge. Having got the Olympics on a ticket of diversity this is a shining example of it in action.”  (Ilford Recorder 10.7.12). 

It is long overdue that Humanists are also involved in such civic occasions. Without Humanists they do not truly reflect the diversity of the Borough.  The non-religious are among the largest belief groups in Redbridge. We are equally capable of reflecting on the importance of decent values and of acting with kindness and respect to others and to our planet.

I hope that my year working with the new Mayor will demonstrate the special contribution Humanists can make to building community cohesion and to making Redbridge a better place for everyone.

Paul Kaufman
Chair East London Humanists

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