380.The Man in Blue – Haywards Heath, York & Leeds

On 7 July I visited the Haywards Heath Campus of Central Sussex College. After that I travelled to York for the annual conference on FE Chaplaincy and on the afternoon of 9 July went to Leeds to visit Leeds City College.

I left Southall at 06.50 to be on time for the two 75 minute sessions on bereavement organised by Central Sussex College. I had to introduce ‘faiths & beliefs in further education’ (fbfe) and discuss bereavement from a faith and a secular perspective.

The best part of these sessions is when the members of the college staff get a chance to ask questions and discuss their experiences. We did not only discuss issues around bereavement but also other issues to do with faiths and beliefs and mutual respect. Having a 62 year old, tall, skinny Dutch ‘man in blue’ (me) in front of them was a discussion opener in itself.

Doing this work is helped by Guru’s teaching of respect for all regardless of their background. Guru wants people to be good Muslims, good Hindus, good ‘whatevers’, the Guru is not into conversion. The underlying teachings of the Guru Granth give guidelines valid for people of all dharms, all religions.

I have been to four annual FE chaplaincy conferences, and have enjoyed every one of them. In this year’s conference there were three speakers that I particularly liked. The first was somebody from ‘Youth for Christ’, who said that we should not go into an institution with our own agenda, but should ask the colleges : what can I do for you ? He also said that he was not in favour of faith schools, people of faith should mix with all.

The second speaker was a ‘vicar’ who worked with young people. He told us that he went to the local football club, not to talk to them about faith but to give practical help, like cleaning the terraces after the match. I think both speakers were applying Guru’s teachings on seva.

The third speaker talked about working with people of different faiths, and was mostly factually right and had a common sense approach. On the afternoon of July 8 we had the chance to go for a walk in York and attended evensong in the Minster, about which I will post separately on my weblog.

The last worship at the end of the conference was done by two Christian chaplains and me. The theme was education and I used the meditation on Sikh words linked to education which I have posted on this weblog.

The session about the main six faiths in the UK in Leeds City College went well and I hope that I was a good ambassador for Sikhí. I took pictures of local trains at Leeds station which will appear on the weblog.