CROYDON COMMENTARY by JOHN WOODHOUSE
A group from Faiths Together in Croydon was invited to the Brit School last week to speak about faith in our lives.
The Brit School is known around the world as an outstanding Croydon school for training musicians and actors, whose past pupils include Adele, Jessie J, Kate Nash, Tom Holland and Katie Melua. But none of them or the thousands of other Brit School pupils have ever done religious studies, as it has never featured on the Brit’s curriculum.
The Faiths Together in Croydon visit was, therefore, a first.
My Sikh and Hindu friends and the rabbi all spoke about prayer and meditation.
I focused on spirituality, as I am a trained spiritual accompanier and went on to say that Christianity is unique because I have a personal God who is my brother and friend as well as my Lord. I attempt to live the Easter gospel in my life.
When asked how inclusive we are, I had to admit that while the Church of England, where I am organist, is an inclusive church, others are not always as welcoming. The rabbi agreed that the same could be said about some synagogues.
I spoke about my work on promoting the work of Pope Francis on the climate crisis and I urged the musicians to share their music. If you are asked to play or sing at a wedding or funeral, do it as it will always be remembered.
The whole of Year 10 paid very careful attention and it was a shame that there was no time to hear their questions. We enjoyed a tour of the school which has excellent facilities and there will definitely be a follow-up. I have already suggested a showing of the film The Letter with discussion about the encyclical by Pope Francis.
My musical scarf was much admired… but I am keeping it!
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After showing the film ‘ The Letter ‘ , why not follow it up with ‘ The Life of Brian.’ ?
Were any Pagans or Wiccas invited to attend? After all the visit coincided with the pagan fertility goddess Eostra festival. Just asking.
One has to be so careful!!!
Tony Blair, allegedly, wanted to call an organisation he was founding on retirement “Drawing All Faiths Together” but was put off the idea when one of his aides pointed out that the acronym of the proposed title ends up as DAFT. How true that is I don’t know but it’s a nice story and a warning.
I think we’d do well to follow the French separation of education and religion. Religious Education was removed from the French curriculum when the secular state education system was established at the end of the 19th century. Also the French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools bans wearing conspicuous religious symbols in French State primary and secondary schools.
They seem to have come to no harm from this at all, no retributory lighting bolts from an angry deity.