Sunday 12th to Sunday 19th November is Interfaith Week
As usual Concord will have a stall at Kirkstall Abbey Visitors’ Centre on Sunday 19th November at the Light for Leeds Event, from 12 noon to 4pm, along with the stalls of various faiths.
There will be music, food, chat and meditation in the abbey.
Tuesday 21st November at 7.30pm at the
Friends’ Meeting House,
188 Woodhouse Lane, Leeds LS2 9DX (opposite the University Engineering Dept)
Holy Places in the Baháʼí Faith: talk by Mehran Nassiri
Please do not park in the car park unless you are disabled: use street parking.
Meeting ID: 848 9266 9177 Passcode: 224935
(Click on the picture to enlarge it.) Concord's newsletter, issued in January, April and September every year, contains illustrated reports on our public meetings along with various items of news and information about interfaith activities in Leeds.
Concord's meeting in September 2023 was in the BAPS Swaminarayan Hindu Temple, where Hema Yadav gave an interesting illustrated talk about some of the many holy places in India.Hema told us that Hinduism owes its fascination and character to its variety of practices, philosophies and denominations. A devout Hindu begins the day with prayers, rituals and invocations to the Divine, seeking blessings on all mundane activities. India’s sacred places and holy rivers spiritually invigorate and purify countless pilgrims.
Holy places are where the Divine encounters the temporal, the higher realms touch the lower or the sacred meets the mundane. A holy place is where one crosses over to a spiritual plane through darshan of deities, chanting god’s holy name, performing circumambulations, listening to discourses, bathing in holy lakes, rivers or oceans, performing austerities, giving charity, celebrating festivals and engaging in meditation and self- introspection.
Many seekers perform pilgrimages to shed their sins and to acquire punya (merit) Some go to perform religious rites like sprinkling the ashes of a diseased relative in a holy river or ocean. And many search for an enlightened Guru, listen to discourses and beseech divine guidance and benedictions.
India has thousands of sacred places and holy rivers that owe their sanctity to the avtars of God and enlightened spiritual masters who were either born there or visited them. Many holy places lie in the mountains, on the seashore, in caves or on the banks of sacred rivers.
Hema illustrated an enormous temple complex in New Delhi which was inspired by the fifth successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and inaugurated in 2005, and then showed a fascinating video about the Swaminarayan temple in Neasden, London, which is beautifully designed and constructed out of stones richly carved in India.
The Co-Chairs reported on the activities of the previous year, which had been extensive. Their report can be found here.
Stephen Tucker, our Treasurer, reported that total income received, including interest, amounted to £893. We had collected £101 at the annual Peace Service and donated £125 to the Lord Mayor’s Charity. There had been no payments made to the Namaste Project this year. At the period end, Concord had a small surplus of £46 and a balance of £9,468 was held with the CAF Bank, of which £2095 was in the Namaste Fund.
John Summerwill noted that it had been a difficult year for schools, which were still recovering from Covid and not participating in outside activities, but Adam Aslam has been doing a lot of interfaith youth work and Concord wanted to support him.
In order to make the fund more available, the Executive Committee had proposed that we should reduce the lower age limit for eligibility to 11 as Year 8 pupils are better able to get involved with outside activities having fewer external exam pressures, and also increase the maximum grant to £500 for groups and £200 for individuals. Both were agreed unanimously.
Hannah Bloom reported that the Women Peace-ing Together group had made (and collected) decorated fabric hands and was now working at sewing them on to a background.
All the present officers were willing to continue and were re-elected. Helen Williams was appointed as the new Bahá’í representative.
Jay Anderson reported that the IFN’s government funding had come to an end and they were asking groups and individuals to make donations while they sought alternative sources. Meanwhile IFN had launched InterFaith Week 2023.
After the business meeting, a fascinating talk about the social work of the St Edmund's Community hub was given.
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. Written by a team including Trevor Bates, Primrose Agbamu, Cynthia Dickinson , John Moreton & John Summerwill (with contributions from Concord members)
Available to purchase or free online. Click here for details
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