LGBTIQ+ PRIDE Commemoration

A message from friends of UAL Chaplaincy:

We would like to wish you all a happy LGBTIQ+ PRIDE. This year the pride parade has been cancelled, but no need to fear as Chelsea College Of Arts MAFA students and friends have created an art show (Don’t Rain On My Parade) to commemorate this special celebration. We hope that you enjoy the show and please share it with your friends, family and any LGBTIQ+ community members.

Keep sharing your love and diversity and please stay safe.

https://extraordinarytimes.myblog.arts.ac.uk/2020/06/28/pride-2020/

Faiths Leaders Unite in Solidarity with Black Communities

Around the world, many people have been demonstrating and making statements in response to the killing of of George Floyd. The picture above, taken from the Washington Post*, shows local faith leaders outside St. John’s Episcopal (Anglican) Church near Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington DC. As members of our local interfaith forum, UAL Chaplaincy is allied with Faiths Forums for London, who have issued the following statement:

As faith leaders and activists from all over the UK, we write in solidarity with the black communities in the USA and the UK.

We have been horrified by the killing of George Floyd in the USA, and the brutality against the black communities there. Whilst these events have taken place thousands of miles away, we cannot ignore them, and must remain vigilant with regards to the situation in the UK.

We believe that voices from the black communities should be at the fore now, but as many of our own communities are comprised of people from different races and ethnicities, we wanted to make a statement of support. We stand alongside the black communities of the UK, of all faiths and none. Whilst Britain is overall a tolerant country, we recognise the history of systemic racism and prejudice many have faced, and reject the pernicious ideology of white supremacy.

As in the USA, COVID-19 has shone a spotlight on longstanding racial inequalities in this country. The report published by Public Health England this week shows that people from black and Asian ethnic groups are up to twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than those from white British backgrounds. This is deeply troubling, and there is concern that the crisis will have further disproportionate impacts on the BAME community in other ways.

We stand shoulder to shoulder with the black population of the UK, and the USA, in affirming that Black Lives Matter. Support for social change from different faith communities has been a source of strength in the past. The civil rights movement in the USA in the 1960s was backed by many faith communities. Rev Martin Luther King was president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and received support from different Churches. Furthermore, one of King’s most vociferous allies was Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who famously said after marching with him at Selma in 1965: “I felt my legs were praying.”

As well as expressing solidarity with the black population of the UK and USA, we recommit to standing up to racism and prejudice within our own communities, and wider British society.

Signed by:

Maurice Ostro OBE, Chair, Faiths United
Ajahn Amaro, Abbot, Amaravati Buddhist Monastery
Qari Asim, Chair, Mosques & Imams National Advisory Board
Nemu Chandaria OBE, President, ONEJain
Zaki Cooper, Trustee, Council of Christians and Jews
Malcolm Deboo, President, Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe
Mustafa Field OBE, Director, Faiths Forum for London
Rajnish Kashyap, General Secretary, Hindu Council UK
Farhad Mawani, Ismailli Community
Rev Dr Heather Morris, Methodist Church in Ireland
Rev Canon Lusa Nsenga-Ngoy, Leicester Cathedral
Bhaven Pathak, Director, Yog Foundation
Jeevun Rohilla, Faiths United Youth Network
Krish Raval OBE, Director, Faith in Leadership
Syra Sanghera, Co-Chair, Faiths United Youth Network
Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala, Head of the London Buddhist Vihara
Mandip Singh, Director, Gurdwara Aid
Daniel Singleton, National Executive Director, Faith Action
Iain Stewart, Executive Director, Edinburgh Inter-Faith Association
Shahien Taj OBE, Executive Director, Henna Foundation
Dr Mark Owen, Director, Centre of Religion, Reconciliation and Peace, University of Winchester
Padideh Sabeti, Director, Office of Public Affairs of the UK Bahá’í Community


* The photograph above accompanies the following article by Jennifer Rubin:

We have become so accustomed to President Trump’s debasement of religious faith and to his cavalcade of phony evangelical leaders who have elevated him to cult leader (and abandoned any hint of Christian values) that many of us were surprised this past week when we saw a magnificent display of actual religious faith and principle from diverse figures.

The Rev. Mariann Budde, the Episcopal bishop of Washington, kicked things off with a denunciation of Trump’s use of violence against protesters and misappropriation of St. John’s Episcopal Church and the Bible for a cheap political stunt. During an interview on PBS Newshour, she explained her reaction. “I felt it was urgent to remove that association as quickly as possible and to state our position in faithfulness to the Gospel as we understand it,” Budde said. She clarified that while Trump was always welcome to come to pray, “But that’s not what he did. That’s not what he did. . . . He is always welcome to be part of the worshiping body, but not to use the mantle of the church to his political — to communicate a political message.” Well, that was a refreshing reminder.

Budde’s denunciation of Trump’s conduct and use of violence was followed by Wilton Gregory, the Catholic archbishop of Washington: “I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people, even those with whom we might disagree.” Soon leaders of all faiths chimed in.

One interfaith group after another denounced the president. Rabbi Jack Moline, president of Interfaith Alliance, said in a statement that standing in front of a church with a Bible “right after using military force to clear peaceful protesters out of the area — is one of the most flagrant misuses of religion I have ever seen. This only underscores the president’s complete lack of compassion for Black Americans and the lethal consequences of racism.” Even some evangelical leaders split with Trump to criticize his actions.

People of actual faith underscored that a photo op enabled by unjustified violence is nothing short of blasphemous. Faith requires that we treat our fellow men and women with empathy, kindness, respect and generosity. Faith instructs us to eschew prejudice, misuse of power and “domination” of the weak and the poor. We saw genuine expressions of faith in an outpouring of interdenominational unity and love.

When authentic religious voices spoke up, they made a powerful distinction between faith leaders and Trump’s evangelical lackeys. The latter have made fools of themselves in venerating the most un-Christian president we have ever had, one who embodies none of the values of the great faith movements. The Jerry Falwell Jr.’s are cultural and partisan warriors who provide cover for the racism, cruelty, narcissism, materialism and dishonesty that define Trump’s character. These figures are not beacons of religious values.

To all the faith leaders who spoke out this past week, who summoned us to love our fellow man and who reminded Americans that a president who uses violence to conduct a photo op at a church debases both the presidency and religion, we can say, well done.

Ramadan under lockdown

The Door of Light, by Huda Al Mazroua

UAL Chelsea MA Fine Art student Huda Al Mazroua reflects on her experience of Ramadan at this time:

Fasting during Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, along with faith, prayer, charity, and the pilgrimage to Mecca. Two billion people celebrate Ramadan as one of the most valuable spiritual practices to empower a human in overcoming our self and transcending our ego. It helps restore justice and peace in the world.

Fasting in Islam means abstaining from food, drink, and sinful acts from sunrise to sunset. It is to instil piety and increase discipline to enable us to stay away from prohibited acts during the year. It is also an opportunity to understand how the poor experience starvation; we are encouraged to give and to become more generous and selfless.

Ramadan is full of blessings and virtues due to many spiritual and physical reasons. It teaches self-discipline and self-control, which is a  goal for all education institutions. In Ramadan, it is like my soul is full of energy, creative power and eureka moments. On the other hand, the time limit might affect my production.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the mosques are closed due to government-imposed social distancing, which is essential for keeping ourselves and family safe. However, the majority of Muslims are missing gathering for iftar parties in mosques and in homes; during Ramadan, Muslims usually invite each other to share food together at sunset, the end of the day’s fast. We all are missing our relatives and friends.

Research has shown that fasting can have many health benefits. For example, during fasting you eat fewer meals which means you take fewer calories; this facilitates weight loss, which can be helpful for those who are overweight. Fasting can reduce insulin resistance, lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, and can also reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.

Thankfully, UAL offers support to Muslim students and workers at this time; however, more support may be required for those who have multiple roles. Muslims do get tired in Ramadan because of thirst and hunger. It can also be difficult to manage time, as Ramadan is full of worship, prayer, and reading the Quran.

For example, as a mother, I have responsibility for my three kids: I am the chef, the teacher, and the cleaner. At the same time, I am a student, a researcher, and an artist. At home in Saudi, we prepare food at night and eat before sunrise, then sleep during the day to minimise the long fasting day, but I have to wake up early as usual, to be active in online lectures, and in order to honour my teaching commitments at Princess Nourah University College of Art & Design, which supports me to the end.

In Mecca, the Ka’bah is the focus for followers of Islam, a quarter of the world’s population, and they turn to face it in prayer five times a day all around the world. I am inspired by the Ka’bah to create a new and unique form of art. My ideas are highlighted in my blog where I will be glad to be visited and happy to answer any questions.

hudaalmazroua.myblog.arts.ac.uk

With thanks to Huda for sharing her experience and artwork.  If you have any reflections of your own on Ramadan, or fasts and festivals in other faiths, and would like to share them here, please contact the chaplains.

Background scenes

As many of us are now working from home, we are getting familiar with the background scenes in the video conferences that we use to connect remotely with our co-workers — complete with clutter, cats, half-naked co-habitees, etc… and there are plenty of amusing screen grabs of these being posted online. To avoid this, some people are using virtual backgrounds for their video calls — often images of places that they can’t actually go to now.

So for a change, we thought we would post images of some of the actual places that UAL students and staff can go to on their daily walk/run/cycle (depending on their situation of course — some people have to shield themselves indoors, and some countries have harder lockdowns — in which case you may have a special peaceful place in your home). Send your pictures to the chaplains and we will post them here (latest at top).


Statue of Gandhi in the calm centre of Tavistock Square, WC1
Kyran Joughin,  CCW UCU Branch Secretary


Roses, Caenthos, & Gingko (with earrings)
Alison Wallace, Wimbledon Library Assistant


Shielding at home
Louise Higgs, UAL Art Psychotherapist

The Lily of Lockdown
Oh beautiful Lily, heaven scent
Of sweetness, sublime
My journey you accompany,
Alongside clock…marking time


Neighbour’s garden with cheery blossom
Lesley Wilkins, LCC Staffing Administrator


Bluebell Wood, Bounds Green
Marie Kan, UAL Head of Counselling, Health Advice and Chaplaincy


The Round Pond, Kensington Gardens
Soon-han Choi, UAL Chaplaincy Associate Faith Advisor


Anti-hysteria with wisteria, St John’s Wood
Mark Dean, UAL Chaplain


Fairy street with tree ferns unfurling,  London N4
Nicky O’Donnell, CSM BA Ceramics student


Blossom in Morden
Alice Bloom, Wimbledon Academic Support Librarian


Regent’s Park
William Whitcombe, UAL Lead Chaplain


Bluebell Woods
Lou Ratcliffe, CCW Head of Finance


Easter — a reflection by William

UAL Chaplain William reflects on how the message of Easter convinces him more than ever that we will pull through this time of pandemic, and be better people for it…

Today is Maundy Thursday, an important day for Christians in the run up to the Easter weekend. The action and focus of this day is not around the Easter Bunny and chocolate eggs, but something altogether more sombre. The Last Supper, as it has become known, recalls the moment when Jesus gathered his friends around him to share in a meal before his public crucifixion. It will be remembered in many communities this evening, and is recorded in the gospels as a time filled with uncertainty, anticipation and dread. There is a sense in the hearts of those who gather that something is up, that something bad is about to happen. Perhaps some of us have been living with those feelings ourselves, just recently. But even at this ominous last supper, something good happens. Jesus gives a command – and this is where Maundy Thursday gets its name – the old latin word Mandatum, meaning ‘mandate’ or ‘new command’. The new command is a simple one – love one another.

Sometimes the business of loving one another is easier said than done, of course. But when Jesus tells his followers to love one another, he isn’t talking about a sentimental, gooey type of love, where we have to look at everyone through heart shaped, rose tinted glasses. This is more the love that transcends boundaries and divisions. The love that honours the dignity of each and every person. The love that we show through service to others, and through our willingness to decrease so that another may increase.

The days from Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday involve gatherings in places of worship to recall the events leading up to the death of Jesus and his new life  on Easter Day. The empty, tomb like church buildings of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday come to life with flowers, candles, bells and music over the Easter weekend with the message that we have passed through the dark times, into new and better days.

Except this year, of course, things will be different. Our places of worship are closed. Instead of walking across the park to my local church for these services, I will walk across my living room, open a lap top and join in through ‘Zoom’.

Of course, it’s not quite the same experience. After all, we rely so much on social interaction in the physical sense. It is hard not to be able to reach out and shake a hand, to be able to touch another person. This forced social distancing is very challenging indeed. But perhaps in this period we are also rediscovering the things that are really important: like time spent with those who are important to us – even if that can’t mean being in the same room; turning our attention to those around us who are in need; thinking about our food and the preciousness of the earth’s resources; finding new ways of connecting to each other.

Clearly, we are the sum of many parts, and there is more to our existence than just the physical connection. Indeed, that is part of the message of Easter. Easter reminds us that it is love, in all its many manifestations, that matters. It is love that conquers. Love is stronger than our broken hearts, stronger than our sick and ailing bodies. Easter reminds that, in the end, life will go on. Life will return, and that love is far greater than fear.

How to celebrate Easter in isolation

Share a meal – gathering together around food is an important part of life. On Sunday I will be trying out a zoom meal with family in Canada – the time zones will make this a different experience for sure! Why not see what you can pull together?

Decorate some eggs – this is a much-loved tradition in the Russian Orthodox church. Having a virtual Easter egg hunt too, on FaceTime for example, will bring different parts and generations of your family together.

Tune in to a service – on Easter Sunday there will be plenty on line https://artschaplaincy.net/prayer/

Give your home a Spring clean – churches are traditionally given a deep clean on Saturday in readiness for Easter Sunday. This could be a good time to make things ship-shape at home, ready for a fresh start.

Go to a concert – on line, of course. The famous Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli will live stream a concert from the deserted Duomo in Milan this Easter Sunday: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb4JB8-ZAeceuR7EPCPOPzg

Grow something – there are few things more satisfying and encouraging than watching something grow that you have looked after. You don’t even need a garden to do it, and here’s the proof:  https://www.gardentech.com/blog/gardening-and-healthy-living/growing-food-from-kitchen-scraps

Meditate on the Stations of the Cross – with our Arts Chaplaincy Project now online at https://artschaplaincy.net/projects/stations-2020/ – and a new 15th Station appearing on Easter Day

 

Beware the BEARS !!! — mental health advice from an international aid worker

By Imogen Wall

So… my goodness. A couple of days ago, I threw out an off-the-cuff post on aid worker tips for surviving lockdown and quarantine. Today I’ve woken up to find it’s been reshared thousands of times. I’m getting comments from strangers around the world, messages of thanks, even requests to translate it. If you’ll forgive the expression, it appears to have… gone viral. The overwhelming reason it seems to have a struck a chord is that it talked about how we’re all feeling a bit wobbly. It sounds like there are an awful lot of people having reactions they don’t really understand. So today I thought I’d write a short follow up with my mental health first aider/therapist hat on. Ladies and Gents, this is Pandemic Anxiety 101.

IN CRISES, WE START DOING WEIRD STUFF: Over the last week I have struggled to sleep, stayed up late into the night reading endless news articles, bought pasta I don’t even like very much, got angry with my mum for not staying home. My spelling is a disaster and I’m definitely drinking more. I’ve been a bit teary, and all I really want to eat is cake, cake and more cake. From what I got back from my post yesterday, I’m not alone. If you’re having a wobble, you may also have noticed all sorts of weird stuff going on. Are you arguing more, talking faster, struggling to sleep, restless, desperate for information? Or are you teary and overwhelmed, perhaps feeling a bit sick? Struggling to make decisions? Just want to stay in bed? Tummy upsets? Having palpitations, butterflies, headaches? Ranting, picking fights or getting into arguments? Laughing unexpectedly or saying random, inappropriate things? Developing Very Strong Opinions on epidemiology overnight? Or have you just completely gone to ground? If you are feeling any of these things: good news! You are not going mad. And you are 100% not alone. You are, in fact completely normal: a fully emotionally functional human being. Congratulations! Why? I’ll explain: take a seat and put the kettle on.

WE ARE LIVING IN TURBO-ANXIOUS TIMES. Well, no kidding. We’re in the middle of an unprecedented crisis that has showed up unexpectedly (they do that) and which presents a mortal threat to ourselves, our loved ones and our way of life. It’s terrifying and it’s getting worse and it makes us feel totally out of control. And this is on top of anything else we have going on. HERE’S THE SCIENCE BIT. When we are exposed to threats and need to deal with them, our brain springs into action. Specifically a tiny, innocent-looking thing buried behind your ear called the amygdala (fun fact: it’s the size and shape of an almond). It’s the bit in charge when we are frightened and right now, it’s in full tin-hat klaxon mode. Unfortunately, it’s also very ancient bit of kit. It came into being when threats basically consisted of being eaten by large scary animals like bears.

You know that thing about when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail? Well, to the amygdala, everything looks like a bear. It’s also pretty basic, so it really only has two settings. There are no bears😊 and BEAR!!!.

SETTING: BEAR!!! Because all threats look like a bear to the amygdala, it preps you accordingly. There are really only two reactions to a bear about to eat you: fight it, or run away really fast. So this is what the body gets you ready to do. It’s called the Fight or Flight response (there’s also freeze, meaning you just get paralysed). It does this by flooding your body with chemicals like cortisol, and adrenaline. Your heart rate goes up, you feel super alert, your breathing goes shallow, your muscles are ready for action. These chemicals are also largely responsible for the huge range of other cognitive/physical/emotional reactions in my intro.

In group fear situation like a pandemic, this tends to happen whether you think you’re scared or not – anxiety is even more infectious than COVID. Your body reacts even if your conscious mind doesn’t.

BEAR V VIRUS: Obviously this is all great if you really are running away from a bear. But we’re now in a situation where we’re being asked to do the EXACT OPPOSITE of running away. We are being told to sit tight. Literally stay still. Process large amounts of information, make complicated and life changing decisions, and stay calm. All while a bit of your brain is running around yelling BEAR!!! BEAR!!! BEAR!!! This isn’t easy. The result is an awful lot of stress and anxiety. And if you’re anything like me, you end up feeling really overwhelmed and having all sorts of reactions.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS: Anxiety isn’t just mental – it’s also physical, cognitive and behavioural. You will notice all kinds of things: stomach upsets, headaches, insomnia, changes to eating, changes to the way you talk. It’s also cognitive: it’s very difficult to think straight when you’ve got the BEAR!!! BEAR!!! BEAR!!! thing going on – so we also become very bad at making decisions, absorbing information and generally thinking rationally. Which is EXACTLY what we need to do.

SO WHAT TO DO: well, the good news is it is possible to calm down. We can turn the amygdala from BEAR!!! to NO BEAR😊, and not just by distracting it with cake and tea. Here are some solid, scientifically proven things you can do.

BREATHE. It’s so basic, but breathing exercises are basically magic. They work in minutes and you can do them anywhere. They work because of all the physical reactions the amygdala triggers, rapid breathing is the only one over which we have conscious control. Control your breathing and you are basically telling your body: it’s OK. There is no bear. Your body will then start to dial down the adrenaline and cortisol and all the other reactions will slow to a halt. How to control your breathing? It’s easy – and if you want help just put “two minute breathe bubble” in into YouTube.

The golden rules are these:
• In through the nose, out through the mouth. SLOWLY
• Make the outbreath longer than the inbreath – imagine there’s a candle in front of you and it mustn’t go out
• Breathe from the tummy not chest – really make your tummy go out when breathing in.
• Do it for two minutes – time yourself – and see how you feel

Seriously, try it – this technique is used by everyone from top athletes to the US military to help stay in control while under stress. There are all sorts of versions – from yogic breathing to box breathing to 4-7-8. Google them, mess around, figure out what works for you.

CALL A FRIEND: Don’t suffer alone. Call a mate – someone who’ll listen while you have a bit of a rant, or a cry, or a general wobble. Someone you can trust not to judge you and who’ll just sympathise. And if you get one of those calls, just be nice to them. You only need to be kind. You can’t fix what’s going on so just give them a bit of space to rant and tell them they’re normal and doing great. And if you’re OK, call your friends and check in on them. Especially if they’ve gone silent.

LAUGH: it doesn’t matter what is funny – laughter is a huge releaser of endorphins. Silly memes, silly jokes, stand-up, rolling around with your kids – videos on YouTube. The sillier the better. Also v good for bonding with friends, which will also help you feel less alone.

DO SOMETHING WITH YOUR HANDS. Yes you can meditate if this is your bag, it’s amazing. But if it’s not, and personally I’m rubbish, then trying to start when you’re already anxious is really hard. So do something instead with your hands, that you have to focus on to get right. Cook. Tidy. Knit. Draw. Bake. Garden. Mend things. This is what nice middle class therapists like me call Mindfulness.

TREAT YOUR BODY: We hold stress in our bodies at least as much as our minds. Take a bath or a shower. Put on things that feel good on your skin. Use nice smelling body creams. Stretch. Skip. Do yoga. Dance. Eat healthy but delicious things – fresh if you can get it. All of these will help calm you down.

SUNSHINE. It’s SPRINGTIME amid this horror – enjoy it. If you can’t go outside, open the windows and feel it on your face and breath it in. If it’s safe for you to go outside (maybe you live in the country) do it, while of course observing social distance. Go for a walk. Being outdoors, connecting to nature, is hugely calming.

STEP AWAY FROM SOCIAL MEDIA/THE NEWS: All it will do will scare you more and make things worse. Turn off the telly and for goodness sake avoid the psychopathic digital wild west that is Twitter. Stick to sensible sources like the BBC and the NHS, and limit yourself to short need-to-know bits a day. You’ll feel better immediately. Talk to friends instead – this is physical, not social distancing.

STEP AWAY FROM TERRIBLE COPING MECHANISMS: They will all translate as BEAR!!! to your poor brain. Especially don’t get drunk, especially if you’re alone (BEAR!!!), take drugs (BEAR!!!), stay up all night reading (BEAR!!!), get sucked into conspiracy theories (BEAR!!!), pay attention to ANYTHING Donald Trump says (BEAR!!!). See? Stress levels going up already. Breathe.

BE KIND: to yourself and others. Now is not the time to go on a diet. Nor is this the time to start on Proust or makeover your life. You’ll probably struggle to concentrate, fail and make yourself feel worse (hat tip Laura Gordon for this bit). Don’t make this more stressful than it already is. Think comfort books, comfort telly, comfort everything. Personally I re-read children’s books. Everyone is wobbly, everyone is going to have a meltdown at some point. Understand that if someone is angry or aggressive, then they are also just scared. And eat more cake. Cake makes everything better.

So, there we go. Hopefully a bit less BEAR!!! Now, that kettle should have boiled by now. Go make a nice cup of tea, sit by a window and drink it in this lovely morning sunshine…

Tom Corby’s advice on self isolation — especially for those with compromised immunity

by Tom Corby, Associate Dean Research, CSM

7 years ago I had a stem cell transplant. I was isolated for 9 months. The following is what I learnt about staying well and sane: All the below are connected and overlap:

Firstly (and this is difficult) you need to adjust to and accept your new reality. Don’t fight it, live in the moment on a day by day basis.

Keep clean, continue to regularly wash hands even at home. Have a stringent hygiene routine. Have a shower every morning, keep good oral health as there is a weird connection between mouth infections and your immune system.

Go to work at home. Have a daily routine that you follow. It doesn’t literally have to be ‘work’, but keep a daily schedule of things that you do at the same time every day. I realise this might be difficult for some if there is no quiet space at home, routine is important.

Change your jim-jams in the morning. This sounds silly but when you are staying at home it’s tempting to slob around in the same clothes you slept in. Don’t, it’s unhygienic and bad for your self esteem.

Keep fit. If you are fortunate enough to have a house with a corridor use that to walk up and down or use your stairs. You can also get small pedal exercise machines off amazon for around 20 quid that sit under a chair. Stretch etc. Build this into your daily routine.

In family situations be mindful that everyone is going a bit nuts. Learn to forgive quickly and don’t nurse grudges.

Keep connections to friends and family. Share your feelings and experiences, let people know how you are you.

Eat as healthy a diet as you possibly can. Take supplements: extra vitamin B and D.

Have a go bag ready if you need to go to hospital, a weeks worth of clean clothes, book or kindle, a travel kit of toothpaste, soap (yes really), deodorant, and a phone charger.

If you have a hobby it helps, if you haven’t this might be the time to develop one…

Please share widely

Ashes to Passion

A Lenten exhibition of work by MA Fine Art students from Chelsea College of Arts

Lizzie Cardozo-Richards, Michele Clarke, Yi Dong, Alexandra Errington, Iris Garagnoux, Tanya Glavatskix, Frank Jimin Hopp, Zhaoyi Li, David Mook, Beverley Onyangunga, Alan Powdrill, Lorraine Snape, Hon Fung Wu

St Saviour’s Church
St George’s Square
Pimlico
London SW1V 3QW

26 Feb – 22 Mar

Opening event
Sunday 1 March
10.30-1 pm
Artist-led tour and refreshments following Sung Mass
All welcome

Ashes to Passion is an Arts Chaplaincy Project. For further information please visit https://artschaplaincy.net/projects/ashes-to-passion/

 

UAL Carols raises £220 for Winter Night Shelters

Many UAL students and staff, along with their friends and family, attended UAL Carols at 6pm on Thursday 12 December in St George’s Bloomsbury. The beautiful Hawksmoor church was candlelit, and a professional choir helped us sing traditional Christmas anthems and carols, with readings by UAL staff and students. £220 was raised for CUF’s Homelessness campaign, and the evening ended with mulled wine and mince pies in the church hall.

CSM students dressed for the occasion (looking quite Narnian even!)

In our prayers we remembered the following students and staff who we have lost this year:

February 2019 – Liam Hall, LCC BA Graphic Branding and Identity student

June 2019 – Julius Little, CSM BA Fine Art 4D student

June 2019 – Tii Ansio, CSM BA Fashion Communication & Promotion student

July 2019 – Giovanna Cappiello, Chelsea FdA Interior Design student

July 2019 – Menelik Mimano, CSM MA Acting student

July 2019 – Jonathan Adebanjo, Camberwell BA Illustration student

November 2019 – Teresa Mitchell, CSM Fashion technician

November 2019 – Henderson McCue, LCF Womenswear 3D Development and Realisation lecturer

Ramadan by Najia

As Muslims throughout the world prepare to observe Ramadan, UAL lead chaplain William Whitcombe talks to Najia Ahmed, UAL Student Services Information Helpdesk officer about what it all means …

Can you tell us a bit about what Ramadan is all about?

Ramadan takes place every year for a month. Its a month of fasting, so no food or water from sunrise to sunset. The start date depends on the cycle of the moon, so each year Ramadan starts roughly 10 days earlier than the previous year (for 2019 it runs from 5 May to 4 June). Over the course of your life time, you will find yourself observing Ramadan in all four seasons. Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam which is one of the main fundamentals of being a Muslim. It’s obligatory to observe Ramadan for every able Muslim. Its not all about abstaining from food, it’s a time of reflecting and taking stock of the past year, counting your blessings and an opportunity to start new and positive habits. Giving charity is another pillar in Islam and you will find in the month of Ramadan many Muslims giving back to those in need and working on bringing the community together. The other 3 pillars consist of stating your belief in Allah, praying, and performing Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca).

What does it mean to you, and what’s the most rewarding and most challenging aspect to Ramadan?

Ramadan for me is a time to reconnect to my faith; as the days and months roll by, you tend to fall off the wagon so to speak. It’s about working on myself so I become a better version of myself, to be a better Muslim. Being a better Muslim is not just about the physical actions of praying 5 times a day or learning prayers off by heart, but it’s also about working on your soul, getting rid of negative energy in your life or negative influences and putting out positive energy. I like reading the Quran more in Ramadan, all your good deeds are said to be exemplified during this month and as I believe in life after death, it’s good to have those good deeds piled up. Every Ramadan I try to set myself a goal of what I would like to accomplish; last year was a small goal of trying to memorise a prayer which I did and which I am proud of. I am hoping to set myself a bigger goal this year as I have more time. When the fasting days were shorter, we would get together with the rest of the family to break our fasts. Breaking your fast together feels like you’re part of something bigger than just you.

The biggest challenge for me is the lack of sleep. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love my sleep and my ability to snooze anywhere. When you’re fasting you have to wake up before sunrise and have breakfast to get you ready for the day ahead. Depending on the time of year, breakfast can either be 2am, 4am or 6am. You then finish your morning prayers and go back to sleep before having to wake up for work.

The most rewarding for me is accomplishing the fast. You feel like you have achieved something and when you do finally eat, you feel so grateful you can eat and have the ability to prepare so many delicious type of food, you truly do feel blessed for all that you have. You also realize how much you eat unnecessarily and how much time is spent thinking about and preparing food. During Ramadan we tend to cook and eat simple foods that doesn’t take long to prepare and you realize you have so much spare time!

Are there any practises in Ramadan that non-Muslims could implement into their lives, and how might it be beneficial?

Ramadan is a time of thinking of others, giving back to the community, whether it’s with money or volunteering your time. It’s about being grateful and happy for the things we have and spending time thinking about how to improve our lives for the better. Setting goals and motivating yourself to do more. This is something we can all do.

Lastly, do you have any advice to UAL staff when it comes to students and the sort of understanding and support they may need while observing this period?

I think encouragement is always good and to also be open to talk about it and acknowledge that Ramadan is taking place. I personally don’t mind talking about it and if any one has questions, I am more then open to answer them. For me the worst thing someone can say is ‘I could never do it’, which is fine because the thought of not eating or drinking for 17 hours seems hard, but in actuality the body can achieve a lot. For Muslims, we are fasting for spiritual reasons which goes beyond our day to day lives.

 

Palo Santo: Solace at St Peters

In search of Palo Santo – photo: Ingrid Pumayalla

Final workshop and launch event:
Saturday 6 April 12-3pm
St Peter de Beauvoir Town
Northchurch Terrace
Hackney
London N1 4DA

Palo Santo is an organic art installation made during the course of Lent, with UAL alumni Sophie Alston & Ingrid Pumayalla, working with UAL students  Kemi Ajose and Anna Marsh, alongside the community and congregation of St Peter de Beauvoir Town in Hackney. The title comes from Palo Santo, the name of a Peruvian tree that is considered to have mystical properties. The Spanish translation means ‘holy stick’.

Sophie working with Kemi and Anna – photo: Miriam Sedacca

Sophie Alston and Ingrid Pumayalla have previously collaborated on Solace Project, artworks co-produced by participants across two hospices and culminating in an installation in Central Saint Martins Windows Gallery.  Solace at St Peter’s: Palo Santo is a further exploration of the consoling nature of making in a spiritual community setting.

Ingrid Pumayalla’s current relocation to her home country, Peru, has created an unexpected opportunity to work in a trans-national way. While Sophie has been gathering sticks and weaving exotic new forms in Hackney, Ingrid has been travelling in Trujillo in search of her own Palo Santo rituals. Ingrid’s video will be screened at the launch event on 6 April.

Sophie Alston explains the process: ‘This project was intended to be organic, with the idea that the pieces made have space to breathe and become items of contemplation within the church and crypt setting. As with the way Peruvians harvest only fallen Palo Santo branches, we have only used fallen branches. It has been extremely fortuitous that just before this project commenced Storm Gareth has caused many branches to fall from the trees, meaning that the materials used to make this installation have, in effect, been given to us. The use of these natural materials, at this time in the church calendar, in these two different ways have given opportunity for the people involved in the project to reflect on the universal nature of faith, creation, rebirth and spirituality’.

For the congregation, ‘observing the work emerge as they journey through Lent, the fallen branches strewn around the church, are a reminder of the dead wood we clear away from our souls in preparation for the Easter feast. The transformation of the sticks into intricately woven mobiles – made with leaves, fabric scraps, leftover wool, old buttons – evokes the strangeness and wonder of new life.’

Solace at St Peter’s: Palo Santo has been developed in association with Arts Chaplaincy Projects, a partnership between University of the Arts London and the Diocese of London, connecting arts practitioners with a range of spiritual communities, and creating mentoring opportunities for students.

Christchurch Attack: messages of support

William & Mark, UAL Chaplains, would like to offer our prayers and friendship to our Muslim brothers and sisters at UAL at this time of horror and sorrow, in the aftermath of the Christchurch attack.

As people of faith we stand with you in solidarity and are committed to working to bring about peace and respect between people of all faiths in our communities.

Prayers for peace were said on Wednesday 20 March in a special service in the Activities Studio at 272 High Holborn where we were joined by members of UAL Islamic Society and many other staff and students.


An open letter from clergy and faith representatives in Westminster, London to the worshippers of the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand

We are a group of clergy and faith representatives from seven world religions, including Islam, in Westminster, London that have been meeting regularly for over three years. Members of our interfaith forum meet in each other’s centres to foster good inter-religious relations and promote community cohesion. Our meetings are convened under the auspices of Interfaith Matters, a United Kingdom based registered charity.

All members of our forum categorically condemn the murderous and merciless attack on Muslim worshippers attending their Jumu’ah (Friday) prayers.

We express our respect to the emergency services and gratitude to all who have offered sympathy and support since. At this time of suffering and sorrow, we add our heartfelt comfort and condolences to all that have been touched by this tragedy.

As clergy and faith representatives, this heinous act of hatred does nothing other than reinforce our resolve to work together. We ask only that the memory of those who died serves as a blessing that we may all live by the ways of peace.

They are us

Bhava Bhakti devi dasi, Radha and Krishna Temple, ISKCON London
Brother Ivan Vodopivec, Notre Dame de France Roman Catholic Church, London
Canon Pat Browne, Roman Catholic Duty Priest to the UK Parliament and Parish Priest of the Holy Apostles Church, Pimlico, London
Fr Michael Donaghy, Chaplain, Westminster Cathedral, London
Imam Abdul Haque, former Imam to Westminster Muslim Cultural Centre, London
Jai Nitai dasa, Radha and Krishna Temple, ISKCON London
Lesley Taherzadeh O’Mara, Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Westminster
Meeno Chawla, City Sikhs Ambassador
Rabbi (Emeritus) Dr Thomas Salamon, Westminster Synagogue
Rabbi Barry Lerer, Central Synagogue, London
Rabbi Benji Stanley, Westminster Synagogue
Rabbi Helen Freeman, West London Synagogue of British Jews
Rabbi Sam Taylor, Community Rabbi, Western Marble Arch Synagogue
Sheikh Alomgir Ali, Founder, Tawfiq Online Learning and former Imam of the Victoria Islamic Cultural and Education Centre
Sister Catherine Jones, Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary, Notre Dame de France Roman Catholic Church, London
The Revd Anthony Ball, Canon Steward and Almoner, Westminster Abbey
The Revd Catherine Duce, Assistant Curate, St Stephen’s Rochester Row
The Revd Matthew Catterick, Vicar, St Saviour’s Church, Pimlico
The Revd Graham M Buckle, Vicar of St Stephen’s with St John’s, Westminster
The Revd James Johnston, Assistant Curate, St Matthew’s Westminster / St Mary le Strand, London
The Revd John Pearson-Hicks, St Barnabas Pimlico
The Revd Jon Dal Din, Director, Westminster Interfaith
The Revd Lucy Winkett, Rector, St James’s Church Piccadilly, Westminster
The Revd Mark Dean, Chaplain and Interfaith Advisor, University of the Arts London
The Revd Michael Redman, Anglican Bishop’s Interfaith Adviser for City of Westminster and City of London
The Revd Owen Higgs, Vicar, St Gabriel, Pimlico
The Revd Philip Chester, Vicar of St Matthew, Westminster and Area Dean of Westminster (St Margaret)
The Revd Ralph Williamson, Vicar of St Peter’s Church, Eaton Square, London
The Revd Ru hai Shi, International Buddhist Progress Society UK
The Revd William Whitcombe, Priest in Ordinary to HM The Queen and Chaplain University of the Arts London
Veronica Wetten, London Fo Guang Shan Temple
Steven Derby, Director, Interfaith Matters

March 2019


Pancakes in the Parade Ground – UPDATE

Pancakes in the Parade Ground at Chelsea this Shrove Tuesday raised £50 to help end food poverty – thank you! If you missed the pancakes this year, but would still like to donate, please visit cuf.org.uk/donate/the-big-pancake-party


We will soon be mixing up the batter for Pancake Day, aka Shrove Tuesday, on 5 March from 3pm in Chelsea Parade Ground. In the meantime have a think about what you might give up (or alternatively, take up) for Lent, which begins the next day and runs for 40 days before Easter. We will be holding a special reflective service for Ash Wednesday, 6 March at 1.05pm in High Holborn. All welcome as ever. For more information please contact the chaplains.

Pastiche Mass

Pastiche Mass consists of five video and sound works by Mark Dean, corresponding to the choral parts of a mass setting. The work will premiere in the context of a reflective Arts Chaplaincy service, in which people will be invited to receive communion, or remain seated, as they prefer. The event is free and all are welcome, regardless of faith affiliation. Please stay afterwards for refreshments.

Thursday 21 March at 6pm in the Banqueting Hall, Chelsea College of Arts, 45 Millbank, London SW1P 4JU

Free tickets bookable via eventbrite.co.uk/e/55337870059

Co-hosted by Arts Chaplaincy Projects and Art + Christianity

Holocaust Memorial Day

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day, when we remember the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis, along with victims of subsequent genocides. At a service at West London Synagogue, young people read accounts of the White Rose, a non-violent, intellectual resistance group in the Third Reich led by a group of students and a professor at the University of Munich:

‘Cast off the cloak of indifference you have wrapped around you. Make the decision before it is too late!’  More than half a century has passed since the White Rose called out these words before their arrest and death. . . . Each new generation, including our own, realizes that those words are really addressed to us.  Again and again, we feel their deep echo. . . . Each person is responsible for what he does and for what he allows to happen.  In the darkest moment of 20th century history, the White Rose demonstrated this truth.

– Richard von Weizsaecker

The whole world
is a narrow bridge
– but the essential thing
is never to be afraid

– Rav Nachman of Bratslav

“It’s only because of your support that I’m not dead”

“Dear Friends

My name’s Terry, and I want to thank you for the way you have previously supported winter night shelters [at UAL Carols and Pancakes in Chelsea Parade Ground].  Because without that support I wouldn’t be here today.

I was helped to get off the streets by a winter night shelter in Great Yarmouth. This was set-up by the Together Network and supported by Church Urban Fund. It was literally a life-line for me.

Watch my story in this short video here

I was one of the lucky ones. But there are many who weren’t so lucky. Over the past year, nearly 500 homeless people have died on our streets. And there are many people right now, on our streets who are cold, and tired, and running out of hope. And I know what that was like… so thank you again for your gifts.”

If you would like to make a donation to CUF Winter Night Shelters please  visit donate.cuf.org.uk/campaigns/advent-appeal

 

UAL Carols raises £315 for Winter Night Shelters

Many UAL students and staff, along with their friends and family, attended UAL Carols at 6pm on Monday 10 December in St George’s Church, Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2SA

The beautiful Hawksmoor church was candlelit, and a professional choir helped us sing traditional Christmas anthems and carols, with wine and mince pies to follow.

£315 was raised for the Church Urban Fund’s ‘Matching that Matters’ campaign, which means that £630 will go to fund night shelters for the homeless this winter.

 

 

Pancakes in Chelsea Parade Ground raises £50 for Winter Night Shelters

disclaimer: this picture is from a previous pancake day as I haven’t got any pictures from this time!

Find out more about Winter Night Shelters

 

Interfaith visit to Chelsea Space



Steven Derby (Director, Interfaith Matters), Veronica Wetten (London Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple), Imam Abdul Haque (Westminster Muslim Cultural Centre and Masjid), Revd Jon Dal Din (Director, Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster Interfaith), Revd Mark Dean (Chaplain and Interfaith Advisor, University of the Arts London), Cherie Silver (Programme Curator, Chelsea Space) 
Picture credit: Steven Derby/Interfaith Matters

We recently hosted a gathering of Interfaith Matters Westminster Forum at Chelsea, and afterwards some of the members visited the exhibition ‘Astro-poems and vertical group exercises’ at Chelsea Space . This fascinating show focuses on Concrete poetry at Chelsea School of Art in the 1960’s, and members noted correspondences between the works on show and the calligraphic traditions of Buddhism and Islam, as well as the numerological tradition in Judaism.

Meditation is the mother of invention

We can’t use naked flames in our meditation services any more so we have to use LED candles instead. On the face of it these may not seem as conducive as real candles, but they do have the advantage of being able to be combined with a wide range of materials. We have been giving meditation participants LED tealights to take home and experiment with – here is CSM student Zhelun Wang’s beautiful sand candle:

and here is Ann Marie Newton’s lovely candle holder made of tissue paper and thread:

 

 

£300 raised for Shelter at:

On Wednesday 6 December, a full house of students, staff and friends of UAL gathered for carols by candlelight at St George’s Bloomsbury, the last London church to be built by the great late 17th century architect, Nicholas Hawksmoor.

The beautiful church interior glowed with candlelight as popular carols were sung, alongside performances by professional singers of early medieval European Christmas songs.

There were readings of the Christmas story given by the Vice Chancellor, Nigel Carrington, students and staff, while the Rector of Bloomsbury, David Peebles, spoke of the message of Christmas in terms of the challenges facing our world today, and the ongoing need for justice and peace.

In our prayers to address these needs, we also remembered  those who have died within our University community over the past year:

Ebony Daley (LCC student, January)
Drew Goorney (CSM student, February)
Manfei Zhu (CSM student, February)
Ying-Cheng Lai (LCF student, March)
Zachary Geddis (LCF student, March)
Renata Rusieska (CSM student, May)
Kylie Simpson (Chelsea student, July)
Professor Chris Wainwright (September)
Ines Peixoto (Wimbledon student, October)
Paulo Souza (Camberwell recent graduate, November)

During the last carol, and before refreshments were served, £300 was generously raised for the London based homeless charity, Shelter, for their Christmas appeal.

CSMITF

an exhibition of work by ten recent art and design graduates
from Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London

The Crypt of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 4JH

5 October – 4 November 2017

Monday: 8am – 8pm
Tuesday: 8am – 8pm
Wednesday: 8am – 10.30pm
Thursday: 8am – 9pm
Friday: 8am – 9pm
Saturday: 9am – 9pm
Sunday: 11am – 6pm

St Martin’s School of Art was established in 1854 by St Martin-in-the-Fields church. The Revd Henry Mackenzie and others were concerned that art and design training should be developed alongside the religious and general education already provided by Church schools, to ‘extend the influence of science and art upon productive industry’ following the Great Exhibition of 1851.

The art school soon became independent, eventually merging with Central School of Art, and now part of University of the Arts London. Central Saint Martins is an internationally recognized centre for art and design education and research, now based in Kings Cross. However, in their different ways, Central Saint Martins & St Martin-in-the-Fields share a common concern for social responsibility based on the belief that the creative growth of individuals, within a supportive and challenging community, can lead to the renewal of society.

curated by
Angela Sanchez del Campo and Mark Dunhill

organised by
Mark Dean, UAL Chaplaincy and Jonathan Evens, St Martin-in-the-Fields

supported by
University of the Arts London and Diocese of London University Chaplaincy

special thanks to
The Vicar and Churchwardens of St Martin-in-the-Fields
Allyson Hargreaves, Paul Haywood, Anne Smith and Andrew Willson

press and sales enquiries

Pancakes in the Parade Ground Raises £65 to help the hungry

Thank you for your generosity. Your donations will be used to support the work of Church Urban Fund and the Together Network, changing lives and communities together.

Together we can make a huge differences to the lives of families across the country who are struggling to feed themselves.

Here are some ways your donations will eat away at hunger:

£3 will help provide lunch for a child at a holiday club during the schools holidays

£9 will help to cover the cost of an emergency food parcel for a family for a day

£25 will help to provide a slow cooker and larder pack for a family struggling to prepare nutritious meals

 

St Paul’s Cathedral prays for U(AL)


Over 60 students and staff from across UAL attended a special service of Choral Evensong at St Paul’s Cathedral on 23 Feb where prayers were said for all at the University. This is an annual event, so if you missed it, be sure to come along next year! In the meantime, why not join us at one of our regular visits to St Paul’s – contact the chaplains for further details.

Evensong St Paul’s Cathedral 23/2

On Thursday 26 Feb we will be attending a service of Choral Evensong, where special prayers will be said for the staff and students of UAL.

Evensong is a traditional cathedral service which is led almost entirely by music, sung by the choir, and so is particularly accessible and inclusive as people can simply sit and enjoy the experience.

It takes place in the stalls of the quire, towards the high altar, a space which allows the music to resonate perfectly and foster a sense of calm.

You can read more here https://www.stpauls.co.uk/worship-music/worship/choral-evensong

If you and any friends would like to join us you would be very welcome – we are meeting on the steps at 4.45.

RSVP to William or Mark

Korea Day at Wimbledon

KOREA DAY AT WIMBLEDON COLLEGE OF ARTS

Sat 4th Feb at 2pm

Please join us for a unique celebration of Korean culture at Wimbledon College of Arts.

This is a special kind of Open House event linked with Richard Layzell’s exhibition Korea Town – Noraebang at the Wimbledon Space Gallery, our connections with the Korean University of the Arts in Seoul and our nearby Korean community in New Malden. It is also a chance to experience the reconstruction of a Noraebang karaoke room from New Malden and a homage to Korean sijo poetry.

There will be special guests, including Prof Ko Heesun from K-Arts in Seoul and artist Jina Lee, an optional Anglican Communion service (all welcome) in English and Korean, where prayers will be said for peace in the world, led by the Revd Mark Dean, Chaplain to University of the Arts London, and Revd Soon-han Choi, Chaplain to University of West London, and refreshments.

Most of all this is a celebration of the uniqueness of Korean culture and our Korean friends who live and study in London.

We very much look forward to welcoming you.

WIMBLEDON COLLEGE OF ARTS

UNIVERSITY OF THE ARTS LONDON

MERTON HALL ROAD

LONDON SW19 3QA

UAL Carol Service Raises £400 for Shelter

carols-web-2

On Thursday 8 December, students, staff and friends of UAL gathered for carols by candlelight at St George’s Bloomsbury, the last London church to be built by the great late 17th century architect, Nicholas Hawksmoor.

The beautiful church interior glowed with candlelight as popular carols were sung, alongside performances by professional singers of early medieval European Christmas songs.

Familiar Christmas stories from the Bible of the journey to Bethlehem, the shepherds, wise men and Jesus in the Manger were read by the Vice Chancellor, Nigel Carrington, students and staff. David Peebles, the Rector of Bloomsbury, challenged our understanding of power in today’s world, by reminding us that God came to us at Christmas as the seemingly powerless baby Jesus.

In our prayers  we remembered  those who have died within our University community over the past year:

Jessica Cook
Henry Curtis Williams
Diana Aronstam
Fauzia Akbar
Dave Hendley
Khadija Otero Khabsy
Alex Hosking
Grace Green

We also remembered former members of staff who have recently passed away

Chris Sell
Mike Kellaway
Tony Carter

During the last carol, and before refreshments were served, £400 was generously raised for the London based homeless charity, Shelter, for their Christmas appeal.

Westminster faith leaders unite in condemning racist abuse

Westminster-South-Interfaith-Forum

The United Kingdom has a proud history of valuing diversity. Westminster is the tenth most ethnically diverse place out of 455 local authorities where over 170 different languages are spoken.

Following the recent EU referendum we have witnessed greater division and a surge in hate crime.

At the same time there are new interfaith friendships, dialogue and cooperation. Located in the heart of London, Interfaith Matters convenes a forum of 25 clergy and community leaders representing seven world religions. All members are committed to a common vision of social integration and cohesion, to a society in which diversity is valued and celebrated.

The Forum’s unanimous and unambiguous reaction to the recent rise in hate crimes was emphatically expressed by Mariano Marcigaglia, of The Buddhist Society, “Out of sincere and compassionate concern for all involved, we need to speak out and stand by the most vulnerable, the ones who are subject to abuse, appealing to our shared humanity. Only unconditional love can conquer hatred.”

The strength of feeling was resoundly echoed by Revd Jon Dal Din, Director at Westminster Interfaith, “In this climate of racial tension, confusion and division, we need to continue and redouble our efforts to reach out to one another in a spirit of friendship, compassion and understanding in order to maintain peace and harmony within our local communities and in society at large, because, although we are different, people of faith all agree, that the future of humanity and the planet lies in unity not division and separation. Love conquers all.”

Speaking from experience of a community that faces discrimination, Imam Alomgir Ali, former Imam of the Victoria Islamic and Cultural Education Centre was unequivocal, “The rise in xenophobic and racist attacks after the referendum is indeed very worrying and alarming. All communities must stand together to reject and aspire to remove such despicable behaviour from our communities.”

Steven Derby, Director at Interfaith Matters, credited clergy for their commitment, “We believe in community cohesion, and there are many and growing threats to this at the present time. Faith leaders are increasingly responsible for healing division.”

Meeting regularly, and most recently just after the referendum, faith leaders were reminded of Pastor Martin Niemöller’s salutary lessons; speaking truth to power, standing up to racism and working for unicity. It was entirely appropriate that the meeting was held in a Francophone Church located in the heart of London’s West End close to Leicester Square. As clergy affirmed their commitment to Niemöller’s lessons the Church’s Refugee Centre welcomed some of the capital’s dispossessed so that they too could “play a full role in society.”

We are faith based but not faith biased. As leaders, we call upon, and will work with, all political and civil society groups to write the next chapter in the United Kingdom’s proud history of valuing diversity.

Ends

Picture: Members of the Westminster Neighbourhood Interfaith Forum meet at London Fo Guang Shan Temple

More information 

Steven Derby, Director Interfaith Matters

07932 631 252

Notes to Editor

Westminster Neighbourhood Interfaith Forum is an initiative of Interfaith Matters. Registered charity 1150839.

Reporting Hate Crime:

http://www.report-it.org.uk/your_police_force

https://cst.org.uk/report-incident

http://tellmamauk.org/submit-a-report-to-us/

Signatories

Imam Alomgir Ali (former Imam of the Victoria Islamic and Cultural Education Centre)

Canon Patrick Browne (Priest, Holy Apostles, Westminster)

Fr Matthew Catterick (Vicar, St Saviour’s Church)

Fr Owen Higgs (Vicar, St Gabriel’s, Pimlico)

Lesley Taherzadeh O’Mara (National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United Kingdom)

Mariano Marcigaglia (The Buddhist Society)

Rabbi Dr Thomas Salamon (Westminster Synagogue)

Rabbi Sam Taylor (Western Marble Arch Synagogue)

Rajpal (Raj) Singh Ghataoura (City Sikhs Network)

Revd Ari Cohen (Minister, West End Great Synagogue)

Revd Cath Duce (Curate, St Stephen with St John)

Revd Jon Dal Din (Director, Westminster Interfaith)

Revd Graham Buckle (Vicar, St Stephen with St John)

Revd Kevin Mowbray (Priest, Notre Dame de France)

Revd Lis Goddard (Vicar, St James the Less, Pimlico)

Revd Mark Dean (Chaplain and Interfaith Advisor, University of the Arts London)

The Revd Philip Chester (St Matthew, Westminster and St Mary le Strand)

Revd William Whitcombe (Lead Chaplain and Interfaith Advisor, University of the Arts London)

Shaista Miah (Victoria Islamic Cultural and Education Centre / Bangladesh Welfare Association)

Ven Chueh Yun (IBPS UK London Fo Guang Shan Temple)

Steven Derby (Director, Interfaith Matters)

Shrove Tuesday (AKA Pancake Day)

Shrove Tuesday is the last day before Lent. Traditionally, pancakes are eaten before the fasting season begins. Come and get your freshly flipped pancake in Chelsea Parade Ground at 3pm on Tuesday 9 Feb.

Followed by our Ashing Service at High Holborn on Ash Wednesday – all welcome. Contact the chaplains for details

UAL Carol Service Raises Over £300 for Shelter

On Thursday 10 December, students, staff and friends of UAL gathered for carols by candlelight at St George’s Bloomsbury, the last London church to be built by the great late 17th century architect, Nicholas Hawksmoor.

The beautiful church interior glowed with candlelight as popular carols were sung, alongside performances by professional singers of early medieval European Christmas songs.

Familiar Christmas stories from the Bible of the journey to Bethlehem, the shepherds, wise men and Jesus in the Manger were read by the Vice Chancellor, Nigel Carrington, students and staff. David Peebles, the Rector of Bloomsbury, challenged our understanding of power in today’s world, by reminding us that God came to us at Christmas as the seemingly powerless baby Jesus..

In our prayers  we remembered  those who have died within our University community over the past year:

Jim Pearson
Kristina Kurkina
Synestra de Courcy
Francois Alexis
Min Kyoung Kim (known as Zia to her friends, and Clara to her family)

During the last carol, and before refreshments were served, over £300 was generously raised for the London based homeless charity, Shelter, for their Christmas appeal.

 

University Carol Service


Thursday 10 December at 6 pm
St George’s Church, Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2SA

followed by mince pies & mulled wine
all welcome – free event

The church is fully accessible from street level. The church has an external lift in the front driveway entrance for disabled patrons. Access to the lift is via the front left (west) driveway entrance in Bloomsbury Way.

Meditation East/West

Chelsea MA Graphic Design student Xiyu Zhao’s current project explores the cultural stresses experienced by international students – you can see a great example of her work above, and more on her blog at xiyuzhao.tumblr.com.

In the meditation sessions provided by the chaplaincy across the university, rather than seeking escape from the world, we seek peace within it.  This week we held a meditation session in the Cookhouse gallery as part of Xiyu’s  Work in Progress Show :

Carols by Candlelight Raises £300 for Shelter


© Ros Elwes

On Thursday 4 December, around 200 students, staff and friends of UAL gathered for carols by candlelight at St George’s Bloomsbury, the last London church to be built by the great late 17th century architect, Nicholas Hawksmoor.

The beautiful church interior glowed with candlelight as popular carols were sung, alongside performances by professional singers of early medieval European Christmas songs.

Familiar Christmas stories from the Bible of the journey to Bethlehem, the shepherds, wise men and Jesus in the Manger were read by the Vice Chancellor, Nigel Carrington, students and staff. David Peebles, the Rector of Bloomsbury, challenged our understanding of power in today’s world, by reminding us that God came to us at Christmas as the seemingly powerless baby Jesus, who would change the world.

At the end of the service, and before refreshments were served, £300 was generously raised for the London based homeless charity, Shelter, for their Christmas appeal.

 

All Revd Up & Ready To Go

mark-william-by-tim-marshallTim Marshall, Photography Technician at CSM, publishes Kings Cross Stories where a recent post features your friendly neighbourhood chaplains. More of Tim’s work can be seen at behance.net including these images taken for a Guardian article on the 59 Club, the largest motorcycle club in the world, started by ‘Ton-Up’ vicar William Shergold …being that he was a motorcyclist himself, Father Bill decided to hold a church service for motorcyclists in 1962. He finally plucked up courage and visited The Ace Cafe on the North Circular Road and handed out leaflets about the service. He had an immense reaction. The church was full of Rockers. Even some of their bikes were brought into the church to be blessed.

photographs above by Timothy Hadrian Marshall