Tag Archives: Visit

Undergraduates visit Hindus in Preston

Year one undergraduates recently visited the Gujarat Hindu Society Centre in Preston.  Richard noted that

It was the largest Hindu temple in the Northwest of England, and it was surprising to see what their sacred building was considering there are so many Gods that they believe in, it was also surprising to find out that the murals on the ceiling which were absolutely stunning, took only 10 weeks to make. it was a good experience, and learnt a lot from visiting also the Guide was most useful, and answered all the questions with a good answers, granted they were sometimes a bit complex, but that is better than an answer being too simple.

Hannah also wrote on her blog:

It was really interesting going on this visit. Having never been to a Mandir before I didn’t really know what to expect. When I went in it was a large room with beautiful paintings, statues and pictures everywhere. The ceiling and walls have been painted with images of the Avatars, Deities and Vedas. People in the temple use this as something to focus on when they are praying.

Experiencing Dharma in Bradford

On Friday 28th September, PGCE trainees braved the long hike up the M62 and over the Pennines to enjoy a memorable day meeting faith representatives of the dharmic traditions in Bradford. Our first visit was to the highly impressive Shree Laxmi Narayan Mandir on Leeds road where our faith tutor, Seema, provided us with a brilliant, lucid overview of what she considered the five main principles of Hindu dharma. Seema has a real gift in making very complex ideas down to earth and accessible. We all felt this was the perfect refresher of our subject knowledge. We were also able to enjoy prashad and to participate in the morning service led by the priest. Hearing the hymns and witnessing the fire blessing made this a very special experience for all of us.

Next stop was Bombay stores shopping for artefacts and then on to the Gurdwara Singh Sabha. We were greeted enthusiastically by our Sikh faith tutors,a husband and wife team, who led us through to the prayer hall. We enjoyed a peaceful moment of quiet meditation before our tutors explained the significance of the Guru Granth Sahib to us and the meaning of Sikh Dharma in their lives. I was particularly impressed by the teaching of Guru Nanak to always ‘retain your humanity’, a beautiful teaching explained by our faith tutor. Seeing the kirpan and ther khanda and hearing the readings of the Granth Sahib and the kirtan were real high points of the visit. Trainees were also treated to some authentic Sikh musicianship and we learnt about the role of music in the tradition.

RE Postgraduates are now equipped with stories to tell and some excellent photographs to use in their RE teaching.

PGCE trainees visit Liverpool Anglican Cathedral

The RE PGCE group enjoyed a fantastic tour of Liverpool’s impressive Anglican Cathedral, courtesy of the Cathedral’s specialist education team. The tour was led by Helen Roberts, a former Head of Music, so the ideal tour guide with a great understanding of the needs of new teachers. As in previous visits Helen provided a very detailed and interesting overview of the Cathedral’s fascinating history and its special role in the local community.

We explored the religious symbolism of the Cathedral, but most importantly the outreach work in the local community, ecumenical links with the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian communities of Merseyside. We also learnt about the work of the Archbishop and his commitment to social justice in the recent Hillsborough enquiry. Trainees went away better equipped to teach Christianity with that all important understanding of its role in the lives of the local community.

Enjoy the pictures!

Subject Knowledge gets a boost in Preston

Our 17 PGCE RE students have concluded their Subject Knowledge Booster Course with a visit to three places of worship in Preston.

First stop was at the Gujarat Hindu Centre, where Biku Patel spoke about the history of the Gujarati Hindu community in Preston and told students about some of the practices that take place at the centre.  There was plenty of opportunities to take pictures of the beautiful, ornate Mandir.

Only a short walk away was the Vajravarahi Kadampa Buddhist Centre where Kelsang Pagpa reminded students of some of the fundamentals of Buddhism and the distinctive nature of the New Kadampa tradition of Buddhism.  The questioning and discussion was deep and well informed.

Finally a quick drive across the city to the Madina Mosque in the Fishwick area for a quick sandwich before Zuhr prayers. Waqaus Ali then explained to the trainees the concept of Islam as a Deen – a way of life.

The trainees found the whole day, and in fact the whole fortnight,  illuminating, and an outstanding preparation for their PGCE RE course.

Islam in Preston

As part of their third year undergraduate module on Islam, students visited Preston to hear first hand what life was like for a Muslim in the UK in the 21st century.  In the morning the trainees visited Fulwood Academy where they were able to interview a number of young Muslim students.  They found the youngsters to have widely varying ideas of what it meant to be a Muslim, from the very observant to those who seemed ready to challenge.

After a quick lunch we visited the Medina Mosque in the afternoon.  As well as a tour of the facilities and the opportunity to observe the zuhr congregational prayers students were given a very thorough presentation of Islam as a deen by Waqaus Ali of Thinkbrite Services.  Waqaus talked of how faith could be thought of as having three levels: Islam, Iman and  Ishan.  He also spoke about historical and contemporary issues surrounding Islam.

“it has brought the religion of Islam out of the textbook and into real life and society that we can now transfer into the classroom”

Here are a selection of photographs taken during the fieldtrip:

Islam in Preston, a set on Flickr.