Friday, 28 September 2007

Burma Solidarity Vigil: 1 Oct, 1.30 pm

The whole Burma situation is very disheartening. It would be very sad if we keep quiet at times like this!

We are having a vigil in solidarity of the laypeople and the monks in Myanmar on Monday 1 October at 1.30pm in the St. Peter's Chaplaincy yard!

The vigil is organised by the Interfaith Society, St Peters Chaplaincy and with moral support from Buddhist Society. Be there! And tell anyone interested.

Email John jprobhu@yahoo. or John.Probhudan@ manchester. the international students chaplain if you have any questions.

Join at the facebook event and invite your friends:

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Sep 25: First meeting of new term

In the first meeting of the Autumn term, after freshers week, we met at 5:30 pm in St Peters chaplaincy library. There were John, James the new chaplaincy assistant, Claire, Oxana, Joy, Enrique, Rueyfen, Shimon, Mo, Kevin etc. We decided to have Hana Agil (a muslim) as chair, Enrique (a buddhist) as treasurer and Kevin (a catholic christian) as secretary.

We also decided to have a timetable for formal meetings only 1st and 3rd (and 5th) Tuesday of every month at 5:30 in St Peters, but we will meet informally other tuesdays. We will have following:
Films: organised by Yoji
Workshop on Peaceful Zen martial art (oxana) and Bahai tranquility Zone (Schimon)
Scripture study on a given topic (organised by Claire)
Invited speakers for talks (organised by John, he has already talked to Dada from Ananda Marga, a hinduism-related spiritual group)

Kevin's summary of the meeting:
Summary of Minutes from preliminary meeting:
* Events on 1st and 3rd tuesday each month
* Abraham's Table 4th December
* Film 1st October - Yogi has it sorted, I need to book room, projector
* Need to sort visit - Jewish synagogue
* Need to sort speakers
* Scripture - sorted (thanks Olga!)
* Baha'i workshop with Simon sometime

Oxana's proposals for topics for Scripture Studies in 2007-08:
1. Righteous Anger: can anger (or any negative emotions for that matter) be justified?
2. Food and eating
3. Balance between social practice and spiritual practice (Variation: Which figure is an ideal in your religion: a Hermit or an Activist?)
4. What is the balance between the individual and the collectivist in your reigion?
5. The level of Fundamentalism (Dogmatism) prescribed by your scriptures?
6. Balance between institutional religious authority and individual consciousness in your religion?

Then we went to Gita Bhavan hindu Temple on Wilbraham Road (catch 85 bus from RNCM), it was the first meeting of national hindu students forum, website and

We heard the Panditji (Hindu priest) chant some mantras and prayers to various Gods including Ganesha (God of auspiciousness), Saraswati (Goddess of learning), in Sanskrit, followed by Arati (lighting of lamps and ceremonial worship). Many NHSF officers gave talks about their various activities, including Yoga in Owens Park, Diwali ball, Navratri, Raas Garba, Alton Towers trip etc, all of which are non alcoholic events. A speaker gave an interesting talk on Transnational Indian Identity, and publicised a forum for exchanging views and getting involved in the topic, . Then the people sang some hindu kirtans to Lord Shiva.

Finally we all had some icebreakers and delicious Indian vegetarian food kindly provided by the temple. The priest said that the temple is open daily in the morning and in evening between 7 and 8:30 and invited everyone to visit.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Interfaith Soc: activities

The meetings of the multifaith/ interfaith society include:

a. Regular scripture study sessions, where scriptures from various
faiths on a given topic, such as peace, are read and discussed

b. Visits to different places of worship. Last year we have visited a gurudwara (sikh temple), a hindu temple, bahai centre, and a jewish synagogue. The visits usually include a guided tour of the place and a brief introduction to the faith and its rituals, along with a meal, but this depends on the convenience of the organisers of the place of worship that we are visiting.

c. Friendly discussions on a given theme such as food. Since there is a danger of the discussions becoming a source of discord, we tend to keep the themes mostly to topics relating to faith (such as God and rules to be followed) and less to overt politics.
d. Socials, including icebreaker games and movie nights, with a movie shown that promotes interfaith or intercultural harmony, such as "the adventures of Rabbi Jacob" and "my big fat greek wedding".

e. An exhibition of some aspects of different faiths. We have had a workshop (as part of the Multifaith week in the student union) where we shared hindu meditation, bahai tranqulity zone, and a buddhist martial art.

f. We also contribute to giving different interfaith perspectives at the discussion at the interfaith meetings over food called Abraham's Table with the MFRG, the last one being on the theme of Faith and the environment.

g. The interfaith society has a student representative from most of the major world faiths, whose job is to coordinate between the society and the faith communities for the purpose of coordinating visits to their places of worship and for publicising any of their events such as festivals which they might like to share with us. This has resulted in our getting invited to some of the places of worship on special occasions such as the Bahai centre on the world religion day, the Reform Synagogue on the celebration of a festival, and the Buddhist temple on the occasion of Chinese new year. We hope to persuade prominent prominent speakers from different faiths to give us talks in the near future.