Nishkam Centre mentioned in House of Lords
A debate took place in House of Lords on the role of faith communities in the UK. Initiated by the Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, many different aspects of the role of faith communities in British society was debated, including the significance of A Year of Service.
See below for what Baroness Hanham had to say about the role of faith in the community and A Year of Service:
“As well as providing spiritual succour to their followers, religions inspire great numbers of people to offer service to their own communities and more widely. A number of contributions made that clear today. Tens of thousands of faith-based charities and community groups work tirelessly either in international development such as Islamic Relief or Christian Aid, or in providing homeless shelters, support for young mothers or care for the elderly in their local neighbourhoods.
Care of the elderly in local neighbourhoods is part of the support given by faith groups, and annual projects such as the Hindu-led Sewa Day and the Jewish-led Mitzvah Day motivate thousands to perform acts of selfless service. Sikh gurdwaras not only provide free food to all, but run community centres such as the Nishkam Centre in Birmingham, which I visited. Black-majority churches offer free health advice and counselling as well as religious support.
This jubilee year, the Government are facilitating a programme-A Year of Service-to celebrate and link-up social action, and I am grateful to noble Lords for mentioning that. Every month, each of nine faith communities in turn is hosting a day of volunteering around the country and inviting people of other faiths and beliefs to join in. Each Day of Service is linked to either a religious festival or an existing volunteering day and each has a theme, such as visiting the elderly, feeding the hungry or planting trees. In addition to that, we might also say that they are sharing their faith with others and making connections between one faith and another. For example, this March, the Zoroastrian community marked the Iranian new year by bringing music and laughter to old people’s homes and hospices in different parts of London. We should urge all faith communities to take advantage of the opportunities offered by A Year of Service.”
Read the full transcript here
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