Visiting Redbridge

Rolle College, from the University of Plymouth
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A group of ten third year teachers from Rolle College  www.plym.ac.uk visited Redbridge places of worship on Tuesday 17 June 2003. They also went down Ilford Lane to get a taste of multicultural Redbridge. The day was part of the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Service initiative which also included a school visit and a talk about Redbridge as a multicultural borough.

First on the list was the Vishnu Hindu Parishad, where Mr Joshi and committee members gave a warm reception to the visitors. Before seeing the beautiful aarti ceremony, Mr Joshi shared his understanding of religion and science, explaining how they are linked and not separate. It was fascinating to see the new extension to the mandir being built.

The group then went down Ilford Lane, where they wondered at the sumptuous materials in the dress shops, went looking for 3D Eid cards, explored Superfresh grocers and bought a box of Indian sweets.

Next stop was the Gurdwara Guru Nanak Satsang Sabha, where the Sikh guide Surinder spoke honestly about her life and belief, the role of women, the caste system and equality. A woman was reading from the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book. Many were touched by the way that the Sikhs showed devotional service to the group, with men serving a meal with such humility. The group sat together eating an ice-cream cone after experiencing langar (communal kitchen) of dhal and vegetable curry. More opportunities to ask Sukwinder questions completed the visit.

At the Ilford Muslim Society, in a peaceful and refreshing setting, Imam Haroon Rashid spoke about the madrasa (religion school) and the importance of the Qur'an to Muslims. He talked about the present 'life of deeds' and Paradise. Some young Muslims showed how they washed before prayers (wudu) and the Call to Prayer was recited with great power.

It was a great day and everyone was decided at the endů.visiting places of worship and meeting believers brings RE to life. The warmth of the welcome received could not have been beaten.

 Anne Krisman

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