The light we share

Hindu CandleA quick post to say a big ‘thank you’ to the students who gave me such a great candle  for helping them to welcome his Holiness Radhanath Swami last month.It was such a great evening with Radhanath – as he told those inspiring  stories about love, truth, reconciliation and genuine service of others.
So a week later we placed the candle in the centre of our table when we had our Easter Day meal with friends and family.
Thanks to you all – Anesh, Janaki, Nikhita,Varun, Aman, Ishani, Nandita, the rest of the crowd!

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His Holiness Radhanath Swami – the Guru comes to town

It was a great pleasure to welcome His Holiness Radhanath Swami to Imperial just before Easter. Around 150 students came to hear him speak at an event hosted by Sachi Kishore the Chaplaincy’s Hindu Chaplain. Sachi was  working with

Rahdanath and me

the students who come to his regular  Bhagavad Gita study group. The event  also had great support from Imperial’s Hindu Society. They have impressive skills and experience at putting on large events.

So the event was also a satisfying moment to look back on three years work developing Chaplaincy provision for the Hindu communities at Imperial. Thanks to the students for making the event happen. And also to Professor Debra Humphris,  the Pro-Rector – Education, who kindly offered an official welcome to Radhanath on behalf of the College.

This was my second meeting with Radhanath. For me as a Christian it was inspiring to hear this great Hindu teacher talk about finding ways to allow ourselves to be motivated and prompted by love of God and by God’s love for us. Radhanath  used stories from his own life alongside stories and sayings from Hindu and Christian scriptures. He grasped the issues facing this generation of students – pressures to get jobs, repaying their student debts, starting a career in a time of austerity, and coping with the anxiety and hopes of parents.

I felt honoured  as a  Christian to sit  in the presence of a great itinerant spiritual teacher. Especially then during the next week when I listened again to all the Easter stories of Jesus the wandering  teacher going up to Jerusalem with his disciples.

Interfaith encounters can take us deeper into another person’s faith and at the same time deeper into our own – in surprising ways.

Here is a link to Radhanath’s website

Interfaith Succoth

 Imperial Interfaith held their first event of the year to mark the Jewish Festival of Succoth. They put up the traditional Succah tent as a reminder of the Jewish people’s time wandering in the desert after they had fled slavery in Egypt. 
 
There was food on offer and information about  future interfaith events – including the ‘How to do interfaith dialogue’ workshop hosted by Chaplaincy and led by Lucy Campion from Interact.
 
There is a full article about the event and the back ground to Succoth in Felix the Imperial College student newspaper – it’s a long pdf so head straight to page 41
 
Interfaith Dialogues continue in the Chaplaincy at 2.30pm on Wednesday 2nd and 9th November.
 
More details of Imperial Interfaith can be found on Facebook.
 

Atheism and Interfaith

Here is the link to an article in the Guardian Online that Rory Fenton wrote about the need to find ways to have dialogue between religious and philosophical world views.

It gives a good account of some of the initiatives that have been tried by Imperial Interfaith to include the athiest and humanist viewpoints. Rory was Imperial College Student Union’s first Interfaith Officer, a post created last year. 

In the public sphere the boundary betwee the religious and the secular points of view is not often marked by grace or hospitality on either side. This can be equally true in the Univeristy as well.It is good that students from different religions are thinking carefully about how to use the dialogue skills they practice amongst themselves to this other area of conflict bewteen religion and secularity.

Picture from the Imperial Interfaith T-Shirt.