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Oxford Christians leading procession to denounce antisemitism

by Lydia Davies

Oxford's Christian community is poised to lead a meaningful procession through the city to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day, also known as Yom HaShoah in Jewish communities. 

This event aligns with the global March of Life initiative, which has spread to 25 countries and 500 cities since its start in Germany in 2007, promoting the themes of "Remembering – Reconciliation – Taking a Stand Against Antisemitism."

The procession, scheduled for 6th May at 3pm, will initiate at the medieval Jewish cemetery beside the Botanic Garden, traverse High Street, and conclude in Bonn Square with a public memorial.

This year marks Oxford's first participation in this event, with hopes it will become an established yearly observance.

Cities across the UK, including London, Cardiff, High Wycombe, Bristol, Belfast, and Bournemouth, are set to hold similar memorial processions. Marchers will display flags from various nations as a sign of public denouncement against antisemitism, racism, and discrimination.

Dr James E Patrick, coordinator of Oxford's March of Life, highlighted the Christian community's role in actively combating antisemitism. He told This is Oxfordshire "It is more urgent than ever that Christians produce fruit in keeping with repentance...We will not turn a deaf ear to the slander and misrepresentation of our Jewish friends and their remarkable nation of Israel."

Pastor Phil Herklots from Cornerstone Church Oxford emphasised the importance of remembrance and prevention. He told the news outlet: "As the survivors grow older...we are gathering publicly to say, ‘we remember, we will honour, we will not forget and we will do all in our power to prevent it from happening again'."

Len Grates from the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem added: "We are here to remember those who lost their lives... We choose to act instead in solidarity with the Jewish community as they face ever-increasing hatred both at home and abroad."

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