Tom Wilson, Director of St Philip’s Centre, recently took part in the ‘Living Well Together’ Conference at St Martins House.
View the video here.
On Monday 11th April 2016, St Philip’s Centre signed a pioneering strategic partnership with De Montfort University Leicester. This alliance which was signed by Professor Dominic Shellard (Vice Chancellor of DMU) and The Very Revd David Monteith (Chair of Trustees – St Philip’s Centre) recognises the vision and values which both institutions share on matters of integration and community cohesion.
Riaz Ravat, Deputy Director of St Philip’s Centre and alumnus of DMU said, “This partnership came about as a result of increasing connections between both institutions on a number of different agendas. In a world of many challenges, this compact demonstrates that together we can pursue shared values which are rooted in inclusivity and respect. Both DMU and St Philip’s Centre are proud of their individual identities which collectively illustrate commitments to equality, diversity, inter faith and integration. Moving forward we look forward to mutual collaboration on areas such as teaching, training and development, volunteering and community engagement. This is a ground breaking initiative which we are all wholeheartedly supportive of for the long term”.
Religious Freedom: Statement from the Co-Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the Inter Faith Network for the UK
Click on the link below to view the statement:
How should Christians relate to Muslims? In a society increasingly polarised and divided by fear, what does it mean for Christians to love their Muslim neighbours as they love themselves?
Gaining understanding of Islam is a necessary place from which to begin. This day course will provide you with an opportunity to dig a bit deeper into how Muslims live out their faith in the UK today.
The morning session will focus on the understanding of modern British Islam and the afternoon on discussing how Christians and Muslims are to engage with one another.
The day will be taught by Dilwar Hussain and Tom Wilson.
Click on the picture below for details.
On Thursday 4th February 2016 to coincide with the UN’s World Interfaith Harmony Week, Minister for Defence and serving members of the British Army were welcomed to Leicester.
The visit was a partnership between St Philip’s Centre and the Armed Forces Muslim Forum. The purpose of the visit was to increase understanding and to build relationships between the Armed Forces and different faith groups in Leicester.
The Rt Hon Earl Howe along with Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Christian and non-faith Armed Forces personnel, members of Leicester’s local Army Reserve unit and the 158 Regiment of the Royal Logistic Corps formed part of the visiting group.
Earl Howe, who is also Deputy Leader of the House of Lords, was invited to engage with a wide variety of faith communities. The visiting party began at Crown Hills Community College where army vehicles were on site to welcome schoolchildren as they began their day. The Minister met pupils and presented certificates of achievement.
Earl Howe said, “I’m delighted to be here at your college, a place that considers inter-faith harmony as not just as another subject on the curriculum but as the essence of your ethos, extending beyond the school gate into the wider community.
“Together we can help tackle divisive forces that spread misunderstanding and mistrust, especially among peoples of different religions. Despite the troubles going on around the globe, I feel that universal harmony is within our grasp.’’
The next stop was briefly to Majlis-e-Dawat-ul-Haq – a mosque which is currently being redeveloped but which is affectionately referred to by locals as the ‘Earl Howe Mosque’ since it is located on Earl Howe Street! Earl Howe as expressed an interest in viewing this place of worship for the familial connection!
Following this the party headed to Masjid Al Falah where the delegation spoke to members of the Federation of Muslim Organisations (FMO) and conversed with worshippers following the observance of lunchtime prayers.
After this, the group headed off to Shree Hindu Temple – one of the oldest temples in the UK where they met several members of the Hindu community including the temple priests.
The action packed day continued with a visit to one of the largest Sikh places of worship in the region at Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurdwara where the guests took part in the traditional Sikh langar (free community meal) as well as taking in a tour of the venue.
The evening concluded with an interfaith reception including members of the Buddhist, Christian and Jewish faiths at St Philip’s Centre. HM Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire – Lady Gretton was present at to conclude the day.
Riaz Ravat, Deputy Director of St Philip’s Centre said, “I was proud to have been part of a day where our armed services were able to connect with the very communities which are the heart and soul of diverse Leicester. It is vital for the well-being of society that our faith communities and our armed services understand and work together to benefit us all. This day of engagement opened up many opportunities for our places of worship and particularly for young people who could gain from further collaboration with the armed services”.
Please join Leicester Friends of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies for this event:
Saturday 6th February, 6.30 – 9.00 pm
Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre, Rothley Street, Leicester LE4 6LF
Leicester was one of the first examples of a diverse city in Britain, although this caused difficulty for old and new citizens. How could people with such different cultural, religious, and culinary habits ever be truly British? Can British people really support Indian cricket? Three generations later and we ask similar questions of Eastern Europeans, Russians, and Somalians. How deep is our multiculturalism? Where does diversity start? What are the barriers?
To help us focus on these issues, drawing from experience, and from Hindu and Christian literature, Revd Dr Tom Wilson, Director of St Philips Centre, and Shaunaka Rishi Das of OCHS hold a public conversation to explore the issues and promote an open discussion.
As part of St Philip’s Centre’s Inter Faith Week programme, The Rt Hon Earl Howe – Minister for Defence and Deputy Leader of the House of Lords – attended the Centre’s ‘Thank You Reception’ alongside 100 members from various faith & belief communities who assist the organisation in its work. Earl Howe praised the work of St Philip’s Centre especially its training, education and Near Neighbours programmes.
Lord Howe (Centre) is pictured with representatives from Leicester’s faith communities
On Friday 16th October 2015, Riaz Ravat BEM – Deputy Director of St Philip’s Centre was confirmed as one of eight new Deputy Lieutenants for the county of Leicestershire who were commissioned under oath, in honour of their service to the local community. The Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Lady Gretton, made the appointments at a special ceremony at County Hall in Glenfield.
At St Philip’s Centre, Riaz leads on a wide range of interfaith initiatives through training, education and engagement. He is a member of Leicester Cathedral’s Council, the Crown Prosecution Service’s Hate Crime Panel and serves as Advisor for a number of other notable bodies.
The Lord-Lieutenant is the official representative of Her Majesty The Queen for the County and City of Leicester. The office of Lord-Lieutenant is military in origin and can be traced back to the mid 16th Century. The Lieutenancy has evolved since the days of raising local militia and today, through the appointment of Deputy Lieutenants, represents the diverse communities of Leicester and Leicestershire.
Deputy Lieutenants undertake a wide range of duties and engagements including representing the Lord-Lieutenant and participating in Citizenship Ceremonies, attending remembrance services and parades and helping to assess local organisations nominated for awards and honours.
The Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Lady Gretton said, “The Lieutenancy has enjoyed longstanding links with the uniformed services and with local community and voluntary organisations of Leicester and Leicestershire. These links are further enhanced following the appointments of these very deserving candidates.”
On Thursday 1st October 2015, volunteers from some of Leicester’s faith communities came together for Sewa Day, a special annual day of service to the needy.
The word ‘sewa’ originates invokes a spirit of community and selfless service for a just and fair society. The aim is to sacrifice one’s time and resources for the benefit of others without wanting anything in return.
Buddhist, Hindu, Jain and Sikh communities teamed up with St Philip’s Centre to run a ‘Talk over Tea!’ party for 60 elderly service users at Age UK. Bobby’s Restaurant, Paul’s Fruit & Veg and Leicester College were also supporting the effort.
The ‘Talk over Tea!’ party supported some of society’s most isolated and vulnerable individuals whilst at the same time helped to build bridges between people of different backgrounds.
Volunteers provided a menu of tea, coffee, Indian sweets and snacks and fruit. Cultural musical instruments such as dhol and tabla were demonstrated to entertain the hosts.
Riaz Ravat, from St Philip’s Centre said, “Age UK is located next door to St Philip’s Centre and so this year our ‘sewa’ was very close to home. Three different elderly groups were treated to this celebration which has become an annual international day of selfless service. Our Buddhist, Hindu, Jain and Sikh communities have proud traditions of selfless service every single day and this ‘sewa’ was part of a co-ordinated international effort”.
In October, Riaz Ravat (Deputy Director) was special guest at the BAPS Shree Swaminarayan Mandir for a programme led by young people. Hundreds of people gathered at the Mandir for a talk and performance which was followed by a meal. Riaz said, “The Shree Swaminarayan Mandir is an iconic landmark in Leicester which proudly presents itself as part of the multi-faith fabric of our city and county. I was very humbled with the reception I received and to have met so many members of the community. My particular thanks to Darshanbhai Patel – President and Narendra Waghela – Public Relations Officer for a superb and highly educational evening”.