Updated 9th March 2015
Faith and Fire 2011 News
Venerable Pidiville Piyatissa (born in Sri Lanka) head of Ketumati Buddhist Vihara Oldham 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. Fire Officer Graham asked Bodhicarini Upasika Jayasili Jacquetta Gomes from BGKT to represent minority faiths at the Kendal Neighbourhood Forum meeting at Kendal Town Hall on 26th September 2007 where the Community Room was announced.
Venerable Piyatissa presented Bodhicarini Upasika Jayasili with a Bodhicari sash which is the same as the sashes worn by Bodhicaris in the USA. She took the Bodhicari Precepts with Venerable Balangoda Ananda Maitreya Mahanayaka Thera Abhidhaja Maharatthaguru Aggamaha Pandita DLitt DLitt (1896-1998)as Preceptor, in 1994 at the London Buddhist Vihara. (As far as we know she is the first person to take the Bodhicari Precepts outsied the USA.) As far as we are aware this is the first time such a presentation has taken place outside the USA. Jacquetta’s elderly Father worked for the London Fire Brigade and is delighted that this took place in a Fire Station.
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”.
Visit of Iain Stewart, Church of Scotland Interfaith Development Worker, to the SLIF South Lakeland District Interfaith Forum
On 13th September, 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). SLIF has been active now for over 3 years and seeks to bring together people of different faiths for joint discussions, to share insights and build understanding. 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 Superintendant, 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 next viewed the Quaker Tapestry at the invitation of Bridget Guest, Tapestry Director, with John Hetherington and Jacquetta Gomes of BGKT and SLIF. He then met with Kendal’s Mayor – Councillor Jonathan Brook – at Manna House, where Iain and SLIF Committee members had lunch and toured the rapidly developing community project to support homeless people. Rev Celia Cartwright the Unitarian Minister showed him the Unitarian Chapel and the Chapel’s Multifaith Memorial Garden and Spirit of Life Mural.
In the afternoon, an informal drop in session took place at the Kendal Fellside Centre. Norman Burnell, the Chair of KEG Kendal Ecumenical Group, also attended. Iain gave a clear presentation on his role for the Church of Scotland and the many interfaith initiatives in Scotland, which was followed by questions, prior to Iain’s return north to Glasgow.
(The Church of Scotland Spiritual Discipline Programme includes articles submitted by Iain after his visit to Kendal, on Celebration by BGKT Buddhist Group of Kendal (Theravada) UK and Fasting by Triratna Buddhist Order, Manchester UK, and a video clip on fasting by Venerable K Sri Rewatha Thero (Scottish Buddhist Vihara), UK.)
On the web search under Church of Scotland Spiritual Discipline
BGKT held its first monthly Buddhist meeting at Kendal Fire Station Community Room on 30th June.