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The Centre for Spirituality & Cultural Advancement

A Year of Service 2012

 

At the heart of the beliefs of communities are values such as compassion and justice. Through social programmes rooted in these values, faith groups make an enormous contribution to our society- including through volunteering. Many thousands of men and women of faith regularly volunteer for projects that benefit those in need or improve our environment. For instance, during Advent (the season leading to Christmas) many Christians distribute gifts or volunteer in shelters for the homeless. Muslims raise money in Ramadan for those in poverty. Sikhs provide free meals for those in need. In workplaces, some staff faith networks lead volunteering efforts for good causes.

A new initiative- A year of Service- will help highlight and link up those projects during 2012. Every month, each of the nine major faith communities in turn will host a day of volunteering in communities and businesses across the country and will invite people of other faiths, and those without religious beliefs, to join in. Each community’s day of service will be linked to one of its religious festivals, or to an existing volunteering day such as the Hindu – led ‘Sewa Day’ or Jewish- led ‘Mitzvah Day’ Each day will have a theme, such as visiting the elderly, feeding the hungry or planting trees.

Service is not just a ‘giving to’; it is a ‘receiving from’. Every volunteer learns from and builds a relationship with those they serve, within and across communities. A Year of Service will help forge such friendships, increasing neighbourliness and strengthening bonds of community. Its aims are to increase volunteering, improve understanding and practical co-operation between people from different faiths and none, and promote good relationships between citizens from different backgrounds.

CSCA is honoured to be a Supporting Organisation of such an important initiative; A year In Service. CSCA will get involved in various events and programmes throughout the year to promote interfaith social action and will work in collaboration with other faith groups to help our community.

Shaykh Kabbani Supports – A Year of Service 2012 Programme.
Shaykh Muhammed Hisham Kabbani Co-founder and Chairman for the Centre for Spirituality and Cultural Advancement (CSCA) is very pleased to hear about A Year of Service – a programme in which each of the major faith communities undertake a number of projects throughout the year in connection with particular holy or festive periods. People from other faiths or none are invited to come together to participate in each project with a view to improving their local neighbourhoods.

This is important because communities that are built on a shared set of values are the foundations of a strong society. In these present times, co-operation between faith groups is crucial. There is far more that unites people of different faiths than divides them. Thus Shaykh Kabbani warmly endorses this initiative. Khidma is an Islamic imperative, as it is in other faiths, and Shaykh Kabbani encourages Muslim communities throughout the UK to use this opportunity to serve their neighbours.

Shaykh Kabbani’s message to everyone is simple – get involved in A Year of Service, take up volunteering opportunities, support active citizenship, and promote all that is in the public good.

Shaykh Kabbani supports ‘a year of service 2012’ programme

CSCA lead a cleaning and planting programme to mark lent in collaboration with the Christian community at the Grosvenor Park, Feltham on 7th April 2012.
The CSCA launched its first community service programme to mark A Year of Service and celebrated the Lent on Saturday, April 7, 2012. The event brought many multicultural and faith people together to help clean and restore the local park as well as plant various herbs including; rosemary, thyme and lemon thyme. The youth and adults representing two of the world’s religions; Christians and Muslims came together to clean up the park and plant herbs. Volunteers included Councillor Colin Botterill and Bessie White from Hounslow Friends of Faith.

Our aim is to build on cultural pluralism, peace-building and religious acceptance. This programme is part of a series of programmes the CSCA will organise throughout the year to mark ‘A Year in Service’ and celebrate various faith holidays.

One of the CSCA’s aims is to help bridge gaps in understanding amongst communities through actions of helping, sharing and experiencing cultural and spiritual diversity. The CSCA promotes mutual respect and harmonious co-existence and promotes positive relationships with people from different backgrounds to reduce communal segregation.

The cleaning and planting programme allowed people from two major faiths to work alongside each other to help clean the local park to benefit the community and was a building social and community cohesion through such an important social action.

CSCA hosted all guests back at the CSCA Centre at Manor house with beautiful food including tasty biryani, delicious cupcakes with coffee and tea. This gave everyone an opportunity to sit and talk and get to know each other. One of CSCA’s objectives is to give people the opportunity to talk, make friends, and encourages positive relationships with people from different backgrounds and to reduce communal barriers.

Andrew Stunell, Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, who was pleased to hear about the CSCA lead programme said:

Helping our neighbours and volunteering time is not just for the benefit of those who share a particular faith. It benefits the wider community too. I am delighted to hear that Christian and Muslim volunteers in Feltham will mark Lent this Saturday as part of the national A Year of Service programme. They will certainly be doing their bit for the local environment by getting stuck into gardening and litter picking in the local park, followed by a well-earned meal at the Centre for Spirituality and Cultural Advancement. It is great to see practical cooperation like this and I wish all volunteers the very best.

Dr Hedieh Mirahmadi co-founder of CSCA said:

The CSCA will be organising many social action based programmes throughout the year and everyone is most welcome to get involved. Please email if you are interested in partaking in any of the programmes we organise later on in the year to celebrate major faiths. We will be posting more details about specific programmes near the time.

"There is a force within that gives you life - Seek that. In your body there lies a priceless jewel - Seek that. Oh, wandering Sufi, if you are in search of the greatest treasure, don’t look outside - Look within and seek that." - Rumi