|Latest Newsletter - April 2020
Black Lives Matter
Joyce Sundram: presentation and in memoriam
Pictures and readings from the Peace Service in October 2019
Concord members will be very sorry to hear of the passing of Mrs Usha Bhardwaj, who died peacefully in her bed on 16th June. Her death was very sudden and unexpected as she had not been ill. No arrangements have been made yet for her funeral.
Usha was the Hindu representative on Concord's Executive and Vice-Chair of the Temple Committee of the Leeds Mandir.
Her radiant smile, her warmth and gentleness will be greatly missed.
Our thoughts and sympathies are with her family.
The AGM that was postponed because of the Coronavirus pandemic was held as on online Zoom event on Monday 6th July at 7.30pm.
It got off to a slightly shaky start because of technical problems, but went smoothly enough once we got going. It inevitably lacked the sense of fellowship we have in normal circumstances. We all hope that it will not be long before we can get back to normality.
We remembered with thankfulness the contribution to Concord of some of our members who have died in the past year: Gladys Stringer, Joyce Sundram, Irene Bottomley and Usha Bhardwaj.
The Co-Chairs' report expressed thanks to the officers and executive committee members for their work during the year, and recalled significant highlights like the walk of Friendship and the Peace Service. John Summerwill spoke of the way that recent events, especially the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protest, have shown both great community spirit and self-sacrifice and the depths of human selfishness and violence. There is today as much need as ever for Concord's witness and contribution to building harmony, peace and cooperation.
The Tresurer's report showed our finances to be in a healthy state, and thanks were expressed to Stephen Tucker and Claire Howarth for maintaining and auditing the accounts, and to members for their subscriptions and very generous donations.
Hannah Bloom reported that the Women Peace-ing Together Group has been unable to meet because of the Covid-19 lockdown.
The current officers and executive were reelected unopposed for the coming year as follows:
Co-Chairs: John Summerwill and David Randolph-Horn
Treasurer: Stephen Tucker
Minutes Secretary: Cynthia Dickinson
Executive: Raquel Silvestre (Bahá’í); David Goodman (Brahma Kumaris); Hannah Bloom & Hilary Curwen (Jewish); Adam Aslam (Muslim); Jay Anderson (Pagan); Gurmukh Singh Deagon (Sikh); John Nottingham (Unitarian). A Hindu replacement is needed for Usha Bhardwaj
Under Any Other Business it was reported that Adam Aslam is about to launch a publicity drive through social media to promote the Namaste Fund, which will be used to enable young people to be more engaged into interfaith activities, and Adam spoke of his passionate desire and determination to make this a success.
Click here for the Agenda and papers, including reports and accounts.
Further meetings in July, August and September by Zoom are being planned, and the Annual Peace Service will be held on Wednesday 14th October. Whether this will be in the Civic Hall or on Zoom will be decided later as the circumstances alter.
Concord has joined many other organisations in Leeds in signing a statement about Black Lives Matter on the initiative of the Leador Leeds City Council, Cllr Judith Blake, and Tim Riordan, the City's Chief Executive. The statement has been published and is available on the Leeds City Council Newsroom.
Over 80 civic leaders representing key institutions and sectors including education, health, business, sport, the third sector, faith and the arts to reaffirm their commitment to ensuring racism has no place in Leeds. Signatories who are members of Concord include John Summerwill (Co-Chair), Bishop Nick Baines and Gurmukh Singh Deagon.
As Christian leaders in Leeds we know that silence is no longer an option: Black Lives Matter.
Following the recent murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis we make it clear that we are appalled by the violence committed against a human being created in the image of God. We are shocked too by the incendiary language, poor judgement and violence against peaceful protest that has followed in the wake of George’s death.
The Christian scriptures contain a vision of the justice that Christ established through his life, death and resurrection:
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
In contrast to this, we recognise that racism is embedded in many institutions and cultures – including our own. For too long we have enjoyed the comforts of being among the powerful and rich, complicit in injustice and in perpetuating prejudice and racism. We recognise that we have allowed ourselves to become estranged from God’s heart and from the people he loves – including black people in our own churches and communities.
We recognise we need to listen to and learn from our black sisters and brothers. We need to reflect, repent and act differently across our City to forge together a better future where all have a voice, are able to contribute and live free from fear and oppression.
We wish to build relationships in our city so we are not just helping people different from us address problems, but finding common cause with partners and friends to forge a better future together.
We hope that through our listening we can shape the policies, practices and priorities of the institutions, churches, business and services of our city.
May the Spirit of Christ, poured out on the nations of the world at Pentecost, transform our hearts, renew our minds and lead us forwards in humility and love.
Bishop Tony Parry, Senior Pastor and District Bishop, New Testament Church of God
The Right Reverend Paul Slater, Anglican Area Bishop for the City of Leeds
The Reverend Graham Brownlee, co-Minister Moortown Baptist Church
The Reverend Canon Sam Corley, Rector of Leeds
The Reverend Lizzy Woolf, Rector St George’s Leeds
The Reverend Shona Shaw, co-Minister Moortown Baptist Church,
The Reverend Mark Harwood, Minister Rosco Methodist Church
The Reverend Joanna Seabourne, Area Dean Headingley
The Reverend Dr Peter Morden, Senior Pastor, Cornerstone Baptist Church
Steve Reilly, Senior Pastor Bridge Community Church
Chris & Gosia Denham, Lead Pastors, Hope City Church
David and Alison Flowers, Senior Pastors, Leeds Vineyard
Matt Hatch, Senior Pastor. Mosaic Church
The Reverend James Barnett, Vicar, St Matts, Leeds
Chris Frost, Lead Elder, Gateway Church
Mark Kelly, Senior Leader, Freedom Church
Dave and Abs Niblock, Pastors, Life Church, Leeds
Dr Helen Reid, Director of Leeds Church Institute
The Reverend Angela Hughes, Minister, Stainbeck United Reformed Church
John Battle, Chair of Diocese of Leeds (Roman Catholic), Justice and Peace Commission
Trish Sandbach, Vice-Chair, Diocese of Leeds (Roman Catholic), Justice and Peace Commission
The Reverend Dr Peter Morden, Cornerstone Baptist Church, Headingley
Joe Burns, Treasurer, Diocese of Leeds (Roman Catholic), Justice and Peace Commission
The Reverends Simon and Gladys Mudada, House of Prayer Leeds, Chapeltown
Pastor Ebenezer Aryee, Good Shepherd Church
Apostle and Pastor Antony and Faith Tembo, Hospital Chaplain and Gateway Church
Denver Thompson, Pastor, New Life Church, Yeadon
Hilary Willmer, Chair of Leeds Christian Community Trust
Paul Lancaster, New Life Church, Otley and Hope for the Nations
The Reverend Dave Young, Vicar, St Barnabas' Alwoodley & St Paul's Shadwell
The Reverend Dr George Bailey, Oakwood Church and Gipton Methodist Church
The Reverend Rach Ward, Methodist Minister, Leeds South & West Circuit
The Reverend Godfrey Nicholson, Methodist Minister, Leeds South & West Circuit,
The Reverend Tanya Short, Methodist Minister, Leeds North & East
The Reverend Jude Smith, Team Rector, Moor-Allerton and Shadwell
The Reverend Lindsay Pearson, Vicar, St. Mary’s Beeston
The Reverend Andrew Pearson, Venerable Bede, Wyther
The Reverend Jon Swales, Lighthouse Church, Leeds
The Reverend Dr Joseph D Cortis Coordinator for Caritas Leeds
The Reverends Olusola and Eunice Ransome-Kuti, The Amazing Grace Christian Centre
Seyi and Ranti Dasaolu, Pastors, In His Presence Four Square Church
The Reverend Clare Davison, Headingley URC
The Reverend Prof Jane de Gay, St Martin’s, Potternewton
The Reverend Geoff Ellis, West Park URC
The Reverend Canon Kathryn Fitzsimons, Church of the Epiphany, Gipton and Oakwood Church
The Reverend Heston Groenewald, All Hallows, Hyde Park
The Reverend Simon Hall, Chapel Allerton Baptist Church and Revive Leeds
The Reverend Angela Hughes, Stainbeck URC
The Reverend Tony Lee, Cottingley URC
The Reverend Hannah Lievesley, St Chad’s, Far Headingley
The Reverend John Rogers, Holy Trinity Meanwood
The Reverend Sue Rusholme, St Matthew’s, Chapel Allerton
The Leeds City Museum staff who organised the Light for Leeds event in November also arranged an exhibition at the Abbey House Museum. At the moment all the museum sites remain closed but they are working behind the scenes providing online content on their website so people can do virtual tours of some of the sites and exhibitions, have a go at craft activities (some of these are family friendly, others aimed at a more adult audience) or browse through some of the more informative workshops – like Patrick’s 1152 club!
They are hoping they may be back on site for a summer reopening and that visitors will get a chance to see the Light for Leeds exhibition, which may be extended into 2021.
As part of the event they made a film, which features several members of the Concord Executive. It is on You Tube and the link is here:
Following on from several successful years of Light for Leeds during Interfaith Week, museum curator and event organiser Patrick Bourne suggested that the multi-faith planning group could put on a year-long exhibition in Abbey House Museum. There would be displays of artefacts representing light in our faith traditions, a film on the subject, featuring local faiths and places of worship, plus a specially commissioned art installation. Throughout 2019 the planning group, including several Concord members, met to discuss and choose the film-maker and artist as well as select and label our chosen items for display.
The exhibition, with the new Light for Leeds logo, was installed in early February, launched on February 13th with a preview for contributors, then opened to the public the following day.
The ‘light’ items can be seen in cabinets in the upstairs community area of the museum; the film, including interviews with people you might recognise, features Concord’s Walk of Friendship that took place in Beeston on June 16th last year, and the art installation, Islanded, is based on a lighthouse, a universally positive symbol of light for guidance and safeguarding.
I mentioned in the previous newsletter that the exhibition will be there for a year, until 24th January 2021 .... I just hope there will be opportunities for you to pay a visit before this year is out. The Abbey itself is well worth seeing and Abbey House is a delightful little museum. Our Light for Leeds exhibition is the icing on the cake.
Click here for a slideshow of images
Joyce Sundram, one of our oldest and most loyal and vigorous members, has died of cancer after about six months of illness. Our sympathies are with her daughter, Ramola, who has nursed her through her illness. She was buried in a private ceremony on 14th April in her husband's grave in Lawnswood. There will be a memorial service when restrictions are lifted.
Joyce Sundram has been a member of Concord since 1983 and has been an outstanding advocate for interfaith dialogue. On the 8th December the Co-Chairs of Concord presented her with a certificate on behalf of Concord as a way—albeit very inadequately—of saying ‘thank you’ to her. The citation, composed by the Executive Committee, is as follows:
This certificate is presented with affection and gratitude to Joyce Sundram for being such a good friend, providing guidance and encouragement to many, and in grateful recognition of her outstanding contribution to inter-faith relationships in Leeds, particularly her extraordinarily loyal, effective, enthusiastic and generous service to Concord over many years.
The presentation was made privately because Joyce is, alas, terminally ill and largely confined to her home. With support from her daughter, Joyce is facing her illness with extraordinary courage and good humour. We assure her of our love and prayers as well as our gratitude and admiration.
Concord has set up a special fund to provide grants to enable young people to engage in interfaith dialogue by, for example, attending conferences, workshops and lectures in Britain or overseas, such as the youth events organised by the Interfaith Network of Great Britain.
The word ‘namaste’ refers to the form of greeting commonly used in India, illustrated here. It is a respectful, peaceful way of recognising the divine in another person, which encapsulates the spirit of true interfaith dialogue.
The fund is administered by the registered trustees of Concord.
Young people aged 14-21 can apply for a grant of up to £100. Click here for more details.
Donations to the fund would be welcome. Click here to donate online You can also donate:
A Light for Leeds Event took place at Kirkstall Abbey on Sunday 17th November, which draw in many visitors from a range of faiths. Concord members played a large part in organising and running it.
The event was again well supported and very enjoyable. As well as faith and interfaith stalls, there was carol singing, music and a meditative walk.
We finished with a candle-lit peace walk to the Chapter House where throughout the afternoon visitors had put their 'wish' candles on the tree of hope.
Pictures by Cynthia Dickinson: Full house; carol singing; Sikh music; meditation by candlelight in the Chapter House (click on a picture to enlarge it)
Participants in the Annual Peace Service held in the Banqueting Room of the Civic Hall in Leeds, 23rd October 2019. Click here for more pictures and the readings used.
Those taking an active part included the Lord Mayor, Cllr Eileen Taylor, and the Children's Mayor, Wania Ahmed (next to the Lord Mayor in the picture). Young people from the Harehills-based Leeds Street Team talked about the teachings of several famous peacemakers and related these to their own experience. Sue Owen introduced the World Peace Flame. Candles were lit on behalf of nine faiths in Leeds, and readings were given from each of the faith traditions. The Lord Mayor's Consort lit a candle for all of the people of Leeds. The Wesley Singers sang three anthems.
A retiring collection raised £160 for the Lord Mayor's Charity, Support After Sexual Rape and Violence, Leeds.
Concord is one of the oldest interfaith groups in the UK, founded over 40 years ago. It exists to foster friendship, trust, tolerance, understanding and co-operation among members of the faith communities of multi-cultural Leeds.
The group also works closely with the Leeds Faith Forum and is affiliated to the national Interfaith Network for the UK.
Some of the faiths Concord brings together:
Baha'is, Brahma Kumaris, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Pagans, Sikhs and others.
Its aims are:
283 A5 pages in full colour - 238 illustrations
This substantial and unique book, published to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Concord, tells the story of the different faith communities in Leeds and of the key individuals who have promoted interfaith relationships.
Very few copies available
Copyright ©2019 Concord (Leeds Inter-faith Fellowship). All Rights Reserved.
Registered Charity No.: 516339