Guest post: religious history in Wandsworth

Guest posts are always welcome.  Many thanks to John Woodhouse for reporting from Friday’s event.  John runs Westminster Cathedral Inter Faith Group and a busy email list – please contact him for further information.

Exploring Religious History in Wandsworth

Balham Baptist Church 14th June 2012

Supported by the Open University and Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network

Professor John Wolffe introduced the Building on History Project and we had a fascinating talk by Dr Clifford Hill on the Wilberforce Heritage in which he made it very clear that the legacy of slavery was still with us, notably in the 2011 riots. He pointed to white slavery as well as the black struggle.

malik's pic of Building on History

Wandsworth people from Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Sikh traditions decided to move forward with a religious history project.

Dr Tim Powell described the religious archives at the National Archives and a representative from the London Metropolitan Archive in Camberwell spoke. It struck me how people of faith may not know that their history is preserved in local collections like the Local History library at Battersea and Wandsworth Museum as well as National collections.

We then heard from leaders from Baptist, Methodist, Anglican, New Testament (they have their own published history!), Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Sikh communities. Common themes began to emerge. There are many firsts in Wandsworth e.g. Quakers, Huguenots, temples. Many immigrant communities hung onto their faith in the face of opposition and struggled to get established. Youth work and community service were common themes.

Moulana Ali Rizvi i

Moulana Ali Rizvi addressing the seminar.

In the discussion that followed several themes emerged. Informing the younger generation about the past and using SACRE to help with funding. The John Cass foundation which is specifically for Wandsworth was mentioned as a source of funding. The council Green Plaque scheme and Wandsworth library, Balham Society, Putney Society, Battersea Society and especially Wandsworth Historical Society should be approached for help. A website and possibly a book for young people should be established and we were told that a London wide site is in progress.

A fascinating afternoon and a lot was learnt about each other!

John Woodhouse

The programme for the day can be downloaded here.

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UK – Pakistan event

The second part of the UK-Pakistan Minority-Majority Project is now fixed for Tuesday 12th March 3-8pm at the Memon Centre, 3 Weir Road, Balham, SW12 0LT (nearest tubes: Clapham South and Balham).

The Rt Hon Justine Greening MP (Minister for International Development) will be speaking, along with Rt Hon Sadiq Khan MP, Anwar Akhtar (The Samosa), Humera Khan (An-Nisa Society) and others.

The conference is interactive and will look at the following minority-majority themes:

  • What Is Your Story?  Personal life stories from members of the Pakistan Diaspora, using memorabilia and reflection.
  • Our Communities.  What is the wider picture? How can the Pakistan Diaspora make a positive contribution to the future of Pakistan? How can the people of Pakistan support the Diaspora here?
  • What Is, What Might Be?  Reflections from our guests from Pakistan and consideration of smart, strategic and beneficial links between communities in the UK and Pakistan.

This is the last of LBFN’s twinned Olympic Truce initiatives involving local communities and promises to be an inspiring occasion, exploring practical and positive ways of working together in the future.  Local and senior religious and community leaders from the Pakistan diaspora, academics, school and madressa head teachers, scholars, representatives from minority and majority communities in the UK are all welcome.  Our visitors from Pakistan will also be with us.

Our partners are Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network (who is organising the London event) and Stockwell Green Community Services (who organised the Pakistan events).  We are grateful to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for supporting this project and for the Department for International Development for its co-operation.

The Samosa is currently working with the RSA on a film project to support civil society organisations in Pakistan.  The An-Nisa Society has recently launched Faith,Khidmah and Citizenship: Connecting Spirituality and Social Action to Build Civil Society.

Please pass this invitation on to your own networks, particularly those which have links with Pakistan.  Let me know if you would like to take part – attendance is free of charge, but places are limited and registration essential.

Safeguarding, Neighbourhood Renewal & the Big Society

Find the full listings of events during Inter Faith Week (20th – 26th November) at the IFW website, but here’s two which are of particular interest to us at LBFN, bringing local religious groups together with the public sector.

Faiths Together in Lambeth and the Lambeth Safeguarding Board have got together to present Safe Activities and Safe Environments for Children on Monday 21st November at 5.30pm.  Download the flyer here to find registration details – the evening includes a hot buffet and you will be particularly welcome if you live or work in Lambeth.

Steve Miller and Karen Walkden shared their expertise with us on this subject last year and introduced us to the Safe Network‘s materials.

The next evening (22nd November), in Battersea, the Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network celebrate 10 years of churches, mosques & temples working together to make sure that high quality public services reach the people who depend on them most – the theme is From Neighbourhood Renewal to the Big Society?  Download the invitation here.  People with an interest in co-production (our May meeting touched on this) will enjoy this event, which is open to locals and visitors alike.

The guest speaker is Lord Maurice Glasman and will include a lively discussion on the future of social policy and community empowerment – plus plenty of good food!  Download in an invitation here and register here.

Would you like your Inter Faith Week event listed here?  If so, please let me know asap.

Peace and co-production

Three top events next week!

We reflected on the London riots at our LBFN meeting last Wednesday – a wide range of voices, a great depth of understanding.

Restoring Peace at Oasis Charities Parliament is an opportunity to share your views with the Communities and Victims Panel at 6.30pm on Wednesday 28th September at The Oasis Centre, 1 Kennington Road, SE1 7QP.

Islington Faiths Forum is holding a Peace Celebration this Sunday at 3.30pm at St Mary’s Church, Upper Street, N1 2TX.  There will be poetry and singing – an event for all age-groups.

All are welcome.

Interested in making public services better – especially for people who depend on them most?

Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network is inviting everyone who is keen to see local faith groups get involved in co-production (and anyone who wants to find out what it is) to a major gathering.

Closing the Gap III will take place at the Samaj Hall, 26b Tooting High Street, SW17 0RG on Wednesday 28th September at 4.30pm.

Click on the links to find out more and/or register.