Updated 1st May 2017
CFRS Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service
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KENDAL FIRE STATION CFRS CUMBRIA FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE
Venerable Pidiville Piyatissa (born in Sri Lanka) head of Ketumati Buddhist Vihara Manchester led a retreat for BGKT Buddhist Group of Kendal (Theravada) at Kendal Fire Station community room over the weekend of 24th and 25th September 2011. As far as we are aware this the first retreat led by a Buddhist Monk to take place in a Fire Station in the UK. BGKT received a letter from the Department of Communities and Local Government on behalf of the Fire Minister Bob Neill MP stating “The Minister was very pleased to hear of the success of the retreat…I hope this positive partnership continues”. Tim Farron MP sent an email saying “Congratulations upon this initiative and upon the many firsts that seem to have been achieved”.
Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke President of the WCF World Congress of Faiths stated “I am most impressed to hear about the imaginative way in which the Kendal Fire Station Community Room is being used and especially the hospitality shown to local faith communities … I am especially interested in the fact that Buddhist retreats have been held in the Community Room”.
Visit of Iain Stewart, Church of Scotland Interfaith Development Worker, to the SLIF South Lakeland Interfaith Forum September 2011
On 13th September 2011, Iain Stewart, the Church of Scotland’s Interfaith Development Worker met with the South Lakeland Interfaith Forum (SLIF) chairman, Reverend Tim Baynes and other Committee members, including Reverend John Hetherington (SLIF Secretary). Revd John Hetherington and Jacquetta Gomes of SLIF South Lakeland Interfaith Forum co-ordinated the day.
Iain’s day began with a meeting at Kendal Police Station with Chief Superintendent, Paul Kennedy and the then Fire and Rescue Service Locality Manager Kendal. The agenda covered the role of SLIF, as part of a discussion on the “Community Cohesion” agenda. Iain met Kendal’s Mayor – Councillor Jonathan Brook.
THE KENDAL PILOT PROJECT
“The collaboration between BGKT Buddhist Group of Kendal (Theravada) and Kendal Fire Station, was born out of the Fire Service looking to engage with and also wishing to have an understanding of the cultures and faiths that make up our wider community. Jacquetta Gomes (BGKT Secretary) has been instrumental in making contact with and arranging meetings with faith groups and leaders. This familiarisation will be invaluable, were we to attend an incident, or provide fire safety visits to our minority groups. The understanding learned through visits/talks from specialists (including Venerable Piyatissa and Sufi Nuh Nazir) will allow us to support the cultures and faiths in Cumbria in a more meaningful way.” Will Richardson, Service Delivery Manager, Kendal Locality Office CFRS Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service
“It is the ongoing aim and commitment of CFRS Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service to provide excellent fire prevention and emergency services to all our community members in Cumbria. In order to do this we need to continually seek greater understanding of the changing and evolving nature of the communities that we serve. As Rev Dr Braybrooke President of the WCF World Congress of Faiths, wrote in his letter to our Chief Fire Officer, Dominic Harrison – “…those engaged in the service of the community can be helped by the leaders of faith communities to show sensitivity to the beliefs and pattern of life of members of minority communities.” Leaders of faith communities, people like yourself, help us immeasurably to engage fully with minority communities with open dialogue where we can make sure our life saving advice and services can be accurate, sensitive and inclusive. As an organisation we also benefit from understanding and welcoming diversity into the Fire Service itself, so that our dedicated personnel are a reflection of the increasingly diverse community that we seek to serve.” Simone Garnett, BME Advocate Kendal Fire Station, CFRS Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service.
The Kendal Pilot Project was set up and developed by Fire Officer Steve Healey (Locality Manager Kendal), Fire Officer Will Richardson (Service Delivery Manager Kendal Locality Office) and Gloria Warwick (BME & Migrant Workers Advocate) from the Fire Service and Jacquetta Gomes from BGKT. In 2012 The Pilot Project was led by Fire Officer Will Richardson and Jacquetta Gomes.
The Kendal Pilot Project in Interfaith Week 18-27 November 2012
Islamic Sufi Nuh Nazir led the Travelling Zikr at Kendal Fire Station Community Room on Saturday 24th November as part of the Kendal Pilot Project. The meeting was led by Fire Officer Will Richardson.
Mayor of Kendal’s Celebration
The Mayor of Kendal Councillor John Willshaw invited SLIF South Lakeland Interfaith Forum, representatives of local faith groups, the Chair of SLEDP South Lakeland Equality and Diversity Partnership, and CFRS Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service (representing agencies), for a celebration in the Mayor’s Parlour in Kendal Town Hall on Thursday 22nd November. A booklet of the readings given by the invitees was prepared by SLIF. Upasaka Sumedha John Gerrard read The Metta Sutta (The Discourse on Loving Kindness) in English, on behalf of BGKT. Jacquetta Gomes Bodhicarini Upasika Jayasili read The Golden Rule, on behalf of KWMMG Kendal Women’s Multifaith Meditation Group. Gloria Warwick BME and Migrant Workers Advocate represented CFRS Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service and local agencies.
Celebrating Our Faiths Interfaith Week Event in Kendal
SLEDP (South Lakeland Equality and Diversity Partnership) and SLIF (South Lakeland Interfaith Forum) presented Celebrating Our Faiths, on 17th November, the eve of Interfaith Week. The meeting was held at South Lakes Foyer in Kendal. There were information stalls from local faith organisations, and a discussion session led by the SLIF committee. The organisers brought practitioners of many faiths and paths together to share their insights and practices and to learn from each other. Jacquetta Gomes Bodhicarini Upasika Jayasili Secretary of BGKT was the SLEDP Lead for this event. CFRS Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service had a stall run by Suzanne Wainwright (Community Safety Coordinator at Kendal Fire Station), which included information about the Pilot Project at Kendal Fire Station between CFRS and BGKT Buddhist Group of Kendal (Theravada). Several faith groups offered their support for the expansion of the Pilot Project to include other faiths in 2013.
FAITH AND FIRE AND CFRS
Faith and Fire is an independent partnership between some FRS Fire and Rescue Services and faith communities to develop mutual respect. It also increases the awareness of faiths to FRS staff and volunteers.
Faith and Fire Meeting Friday 10th May 2013 at Kendal Fire Station
CFRS Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service hosted an event to explore the issues and challenges of Faith for the Fire and Rescue Services.
Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke President of the WCF World Congress of Faiths and Mrs Mary Braybrooke visited Kendal from 9th – 12th May 2013.
The event was led by:
Fire Officer Daryl Oprey
CFOA Lead on Equality & Inclusion
Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke President of the WCF World Congress of Faiths
Mrs Mary Braybrooke
Yasmin Bukhari (Bridging Cultures Coordinator GMFRS
Executive Member AFSA Asian Fire Service Association)
Simone Garnett (BME & Migrant Workers Advocate Kendal Fire Station CFRS)
Jacquetta Gomes Bodhicarini Upasika Jayasili (Advisor on Interfaith and Multifaith to Fire Officer Daryl Oprey CFOA Lead on Equality & Inclusion)
Brian Rendell (CFRS Volunteer Kendal Fire Station)
Suzanne Wainwright (Community Safety Coordinator Kendal Fire Station CFRS)
This event marked the end of the Kendal Pilot Project at Kendal Fire Station.
The Quaker Tapestry offered lunch and a visit to the Quaker Tapestry located in The Kendal Friends Meeting House.
WCF WORLD CONGRESS OF FAITHS
Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke (President of the WCF World Congress of Faiths) has supported Faith and Fire. He stated “I am most impressed to hear about the imaginative way in which the Kendal Fire Station Community Room is being used and especially the hospitality shown to local faith communities … I am especially interested in the fact that Buddhist retreats have been held in the Community Room”.
The WCF Executive meeting on June 17th 2013 discussed Faith and Fire. Rev Dr Alan Race WCF Chairman and Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke WCF President sent Jacquetta Gomes a joint letter stating:
You will be glad to know that the World Congress of Faiths agreed:
“The World Congress of Faiths, recognising the important work of Faith and Fire, is pleased that Jacquetta Gomes, who is a member of the World Congress of Faiths, is willing to act as a Link Person between Faith and Fire and the World Congress of Faiths, including in her role as an Advisor on Interfaith and Multifaith to Fire Officer Daryl Oprey CFOA, Chief Fire Officers Association Lead on Equality and Inclusion..
The World Congress of Faiths is happy that Jacquetta Gomes, is willing to act as a Link Person between Faith and Fire and the World Congress of Faiths to help CFRS Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service relate to the faith communities in the area, and is glad to offer its help and encouragement.
Jacquetta Gomes can use WCF World Congress of Faiths Member in the footer on correspondence from Faith and Fire.
The Executive Committee also hopes that Jacquetta Gomes will help promote support for the World Congress in the North West of England.
We are very grateful for your enthusiasm and commitment and wish you well in your many activities.”
July 2016 Visit of The Rev Canon Dr Andrew Todd
The Rev Canon Dr Andrew Todd the Director of The Cardiff Centre for Chaplaincy Studies Centre visited Kendal on 11th July.
The visit was organized by The Cardiff Centre and Faith and Fire of which he is a member of the Steering Group.
In the morning he met Councillor Graham Vincent who represented Kendal Town Council.
He met Group Manager Justin Robinson from CFRS who is responsible for overseeing the Chaplaincy programme within CFRS. Justin Robinson offered the Community Room at Kendal Fire Station as the venue for Rev Canon Dr Todd’s excellent Chaplaincy training session for 12 local chaplains in the afternoon.
In the evening he gave a public talk at Stricklandgate Methodist Church on the Cardiff Centre’s research and work with chaplains in different settings to offer a picture of chaplaincy today – its scope, purpose and range of people involved in and served by chaplaincy. He also spoke about the changing face of religion, belief and spirituality in the life of our society.
CCC Cumbria County Council Facebook
“Faith and Fire”
Posted 14th February 2017
In CCC Facebook search for Cumbria County Council Faith and Fire
Buddhistdoor global Website
“Buddhism in the UK Fire and Rescue Services” by Jacquetta Gomes Bodhicarini Upasika Jayasili Buddhistdoor Global (2016-03-04)
Cumbria’s Green Handbook Website
“Cumbria Fire Service meets the Buddhists”, Cumbria’s Green Handbook, (Spring 2013) 7.
Faith Initiative Website
“Buddhists, Fire and Rescue Service and Police Working Together in Cumbria”, Jacquetta Gomes Bodhicarini Upasika Jayasili, Faith Initiative, Issue 27 (September, 2012) page 10.
Available online at www.faithinitiative.co.uk/
IFN Interfaith Network of the UK Website
The Inter Faith Network for the United Kingdom Annual Review 2012/2013 Inter Faith Network for the UK, 2014. (ISBN 1 902906543) “Faith and Fire Kendal – part of South Lakeland Interfaith Group’s marking of Inter Faith Week”, page 19.
CFRS in Interfaith Week 2012 photo gallery
MBC Manchester Buddhist Convention Website
“Buddhists, Fire and Rescue Service and Police Working Together in Cumbria” 10 June 2012 https://manchesterbuddhistconvention.wordpress.com/2012/06/10/buddhists-fire-and-rescue-service-and-police-working-together-in-cumbria/
Faith and Fire 26 July 2015 https://manchesterbuddhistconvention.wordpress.com/spiritual-event-listings/faith-and-fire/
Jacquetta Gomes – World’s First Female Buddhist Fire Chaplain 26 July 2015 https://manchesterbuddhistconvention.wordpress.com/2015/07/26/jacquetta-gnomes-worlds-first-female-buddhist-fire-chaplain/
Sakyadhita International Association of Buddhist Women Facebook
“Dr. Hema Gamage led a retreat for BGKT Buddhist Group of Kendal (Theravada) at Kendal Fire Station community room on 27th September 2015. As far as “Buddhists Engaged with Emergency Services (BEWES) and Faith and Fire are aware, this is the first retreat led by a female Buddhist to take place in an operational Fire Station in the UK”, Facebook.com, Sakyadhita International Association of Buddhist Women, 12 October 2015.
SLDC South Lakeland District Council Website
“Celebrating Our Faiths for National Interfaith Week”, SLEDP (South Lakeland Equality and Diversity Partnership) Newsletter, (Winter/Spring 2012/13) page 2.
Westmorland Gazette Website
“Jacquetta becomes world’s first female Buddhist fire chaplain: Faith and Fire drives woman into key role”, Westmorland Gazette, (July 2015) page 24.
“Kendal Buddhists hold retreat at town’s fire station”, Westmorland Gazette, posted on website 19 October 2015.
“Kendal talk to shine light on chaplaincy”, Westmorland Gazette, posted on website 7 June 2016.
“Talk at Kendal Church Shines Light on Chaplaincy”, Westmorland Gazette, posted on website 13 July 2016.
“World’s first for lady Buddhist”, The Citizen South Lakes and North Lancs, (22 July 2015) page 5.