Welcome to this CVA Update FOCUS on Faith events & updates in the borough of Croydon
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CVA Update Focus on Children, Young People & Families

Chair's report

Dear Friends

In the last three months members of the Faiths Together committee have again been busy as you will see from the reports below. There are also articles on an aspect of the Jewish Faith and, also, some thoughts on Buddhism.

Our Peace event was very well attended and well received, if you would like support to put on a similar event in your own community please get in touch. We are thinking of running it again but with children from the faith communities involved.

Regarding funding, for the next three years we have got a grant from the Council which is held for us by CVA. Unfortunately, our funding was cut by one third and so the big faith celebrations are no longer viable but we are very happy to support your community to run your own and we can advertise your events, just let us know.

CVA provide administrative support for us but if you want to find out more about Faiths together please email and we will get back to you. We also have Facebook page (Faiths Together in Croydon) and are on Twitter @FTiCroydon.

Coming up in future we are holding an event looking at Respect, something that seems to be sadly lacking in the world at the moment, on May 4th and this year our big bike ride and picnic will be on 9th July. Please put the dates in your diary now and tell everyone about the picnic. Last year more than one hundred people came to the park and enjoyed the sunshine, the food and meeting other likeminded people. Over 30 people took part in the bike ride and enjoyed finding out about the different places of worship on the way. We are trying to plan to hold the picnic in 2018 on a bank holiday but this year it must take place on a Sunday again.

Below you can see a picture of most of the committee taken at our January meeting when we were pleased to welcome the new Borough Commander. Our committee has grown over the last couple of years and now includes representatives from ten different faiths, the Interfaith police officer, Croydon Community Association, Croydon University Hospital Chaplains, and the Interfaith representatives appointed by the Bishop of Croydon.

All the best

Penny Smith-Orr,
Chair, Faiths Together in Croydon

Faiths Together in Croydon Steering Group were pleased to welcome the new Borough Commander, Chief Superintendent Jeff Boothe at their recent meeting.

FTiC Event for Interfaith Week 2016 

What is Peace?              

Positively Embracing All Cultures Equally 

P- perfection in our actions
E- encouraging others 
A- abundance in Life 
C -caring for others: clarity in thoughts 
E- energise our souls. 
On a very cold and rainy evening in November we celebrated Interfaith Week with an event on the nature of Peace attended by 40 people. 

As they arrived people were asked to write down what their own idea of Peace was, not merely an absence of war. We then had members of several different faith communities each talking for 5 minutes on the nature of Peace according to their own faith.  During this part Alex Starr the new Faith Officer for the Police also spoke about what Peace means to him personally and to the community of Croydon. The next part was a short meditation led by our Buddhist vice Chair, Les Kemp, which was very relaxing. 

We then asked people to talk at their tables and discuss What Is Peace? and What are the Building Blocks of Peace? This discussion part was very interesting as some people started to have new ideas on the subject. Report on outcomes of this discussion are on the FTiC website.

The last activity was to use materials provided to create a physical object or symbol of Peace. Saba, from our committee, who runs a creative and artistic charity, introduced this part. The planning group had wondered if this would work or whether people would be too shy to do this creative activity but by now everyone was happy in each other’s company and worked together to come up with drawings and models which they spoke about in the feedback session. The discussion of each group’s work extended the evening but everyone was happy with the results and several people thought they would try to replicate the evening's activities in their own communities. 

The results of the questions can be seen on our website as well as many other photographs from the evening. If you would like to run an event like this in your own community do contact us if you need some support. Alex Starr is considering the possibility of running the event again with children from the different faiths so do look out for news of that. 
Shujah Iqbal, Croydon Council Communities department, gave a report to the council BAME group on the event.  To read his report click here

Remembrance Day 2016 

The annual Remembrance Day service took place at The Croydon Minster this year as the Fairfield Halls is currently closed. 

Faiths Together have been trying to make this a more inclusive event as people of all faiths fought in the wars and the service in Croydon is really a very Christian event. However, as it was being held in the main church in Croydon it was once again a Christian event but one which was attended by people of several faiths. The Chair and Vice Chair of FTiC were there and joined the parade back to Katherine Street and laid a wreath at the war memorial in honour of all the people of all the faiths who died in the wars. The Hindu association also laid their own wreath this year. 

Christmas Day 2016

As you know the Muslim Association of Croydon organise food for the Homeless every Friday evening at 7pm opposite the hospital. I have been going along for about a year now, bringing ‘western’ food to complement the excellent Biryani that is produced by a local restaurant each week.

Christmas day fell on a Friday in 2015 so the homeless had a meal that day, this year it was on a Sunday and at the very last minute we heard from Father Tim that St Michael and All Angels hall would be available at lunchtime if we could arrange some food.

The chef from the restaurant agreed to come and cook in the church kitchen and members of the Muslim Association and the new Borough Commander, Jeff Boothe, and Alex Starr also went along to help. Alex cooked a Shepherd’s pie to add to the feast. As it was very last minute, only about 25 people turned up but they thoroughly enjoyed their warm meal and a sit down in the hall. Food that was left over was taken to several hostels nearby and also very appreciated.

It is planned to do this again on Christmas Day 2017 with a turkey dinner being cooked so if you know anyone who would benefit from this please let them and us know in advance.

Prayers after the Tram Disaster 

On 11th November 2016 there was a terrible Tram accident in which 7 people were killed and more than 50 injured, many with life changing injuries. The residents of Croydon were shocked and the Leader of the Council arranged for a book of condolences to be set up in the Town Hall. At the annual Remembrance service prayers were said for the dead and the bereaved. 

Nitin Mehta, of the Hindu community, felt that residents should get together for an evening of prayer and remembrance which was held on 1st December at The Oasis Academy in Shirley. There were people from many faiths there and although a somber evening it was also a very spiritual event.  Christian prayers were led by the Arch Deacon of Croydon and Jonathan Bob-Amara a Pastor from Dominion House. Les Kemp, Vice Chair of FTiC, spoke from the Buddhist point of view, prayers were also said by members of the Jain and Hindu Communities. Lorraine Chatfield from the Croydon Ecology Centre  suggested that trees could be planted in memory of the dead or a memorial put there. The Chair of Faiths Together spoke about the families of the bereaved and those passengers that had had terrible injuries. 

Bharat Shah of the Jain temple gave a vote of thanks and announced that £1000 had been raised by the communities to help the bereaved. 

St Christopher’s Hospice 

Bringing "Dying Matters" out from the medical world, back into our homes and communities has been gaining momentum over recent years, in an attempt to once more normalise death within families and the communities in which they live. 

In Croydon, a community project Live, Plan and Finish Well, headed up by St Christopher’s in partnership with Age UK Croydon and Cruse, seeks to engage community participation by recruiting volunteers, to raise the awareness of the importance of planning and recording wishes for End of Live across all age groups and to change the common practice that Wills and funeral wishes etc can wait until the third age of life.  

Talking about dying and death is something people understandably feel uncomfortable about, but it is something we all need to do - otherwise we, or our loved ones, may not die in the way we want.  

Live, Plan and Finish Well volunteers have received specific training in raising these difficult conversations and are happy to give talks, facilitate workshops, within community groups of all ages and cultures, as well as sheltered and residential homes They may also be found giving out leaflets and answering questions at community events, such as Dying Matters week in May. The aim of the project is to encourage people to talk about their wishes for the end of their lives, including where they want to die and their funeral plans, with friends, family and loved ones. 

Talking about dying does not make it happen, or happen faster, in fact research has shown that talking about dying and making plans for End of Life Care and communicating wishes, to family and friends, makes it more likely that everyone involved is given a sense of peace, just by knowing End of Life Wishes, even at a time of sadness and grieving. 

If you are interested in volunteering or wish for a volunteer to come and talk to your group please contact 

Tikkun Olam

This is a concept in Judaism that literally means,"Repair the World".  It is the idea that Jews bear responsibility not only for their own moral, spiritual and material welfare, but also for society at large; to improve the state of the World and help others. 

Jews believe that performing "Mitzvot", good deeds, is a means of tikkun olam, helping to perfect the World and hasten the coming of the Messiah, a belief that dates back to at least the early Talmudic period.  Hopefully, acts of kindness will influence  the rest of the World. By perfecting themselves, the local Jewish Community or the State of Israel, Jews set an example.  In the present day wherever there are natural disasters like earthquakes etc, Israel's medics and helpers are first on the scene.  All lives are precious. 

"Tzedakah" is used in common parlance as charitable giving. Acts of charity are used to generate a more just world.  It is a means through which to perform tikkun olam.  Jews are commanded to be  "A light unto nations". 
SGI President Ikeda’s Study Lecture Series

The Buddhism of the Sun—Illuminating the World

Commemorating the 800th Issue of the Daibyakurenge

[14] Basing Ourselves on the Writings of Nichiren Daishonin—Part 1 [of 2]
The Great Path to Victory in Kosen-rufu and in Life
The French author Victor Hugo (1802–85) wrote: “Sound, sound for ever, Clarions of Thought!”[1] In his work Les Misérables, he observed: “What leads and pulls the world along is not locomotives, it is ideas.”[2]
Even today in the 21st century, 150 years later, it is ideas, the will of the awakened people, that move and guide the world at the deepest level.
There is a revolution that is more fundamental than any technological or political revolution—a revolution in thought and religion. And, of course, human revolution.
That is why my mentor, second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda, had the profound insight that kosen-rufu is an unprecedented struggle of ideas. And he founded the Soka Gakkai’s monthly study journal, the Daibyakurenge, to stir a powerful wind of new thought in postwar Japanese society.
The Daibyakurenge—Recording the Soka Gakkai’s History of Speaking Out for
Truth and Justice
Sixty-seven years have passed since the first issue of the Daibyakurenge appeared in July 1949. This month (June 2016) marks the publication of its 800th issue.
[1] Victor Hugo, “Trumpets of the Mind,” The Works of Victor Hugo: Ninety-Three, Poems (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell and Company, 1887), vol. 6, p. 178.
[2] Victor Hugo, Les Misérables, translated by Julie Rose (New York: Modern Library, 2009),
p. 785.

* * * * * * * *

SGI President Ikeda’s Words of Encouragement


(48) Imparting Joy and Hope to Others

"When the dragon king’s daughter attained Buddhahood, it opened up the way to attaining Buddhahood for all women of later ages". From “The Opening of  the Eyes” (WND-1, 269).

The women of Soka are like beacons of hope in the darkness of night. Their radiant smiles are a source of light illuminating today’s troubled and uncertain times. 

The presence of a single wise young women’s division member can instantly brighten everyone’s hearts. Through dialogue, these confident, positive young women awaken the Buddha nature inherent in others’ lives, and expand the network of joy and hope throughout the world and into the future.

My wife and I are sincerely praying for the happiness of all our young women’s division members, and for the great success of their joyful small-group general meetings that will be held throughout Japan in January and February. 

(Translated from the January 12, 2017, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, the Soka Gakkai daily newspaper) 

Copyright: Soka Gakkai. The Soka Gakkai holds the copyrights on all articles produced by SGI Newsletter.

No part of the articles may be reproduced or used in an Internet home page or in any other form without the prior permission of the Soka Gakkai.

Do you or your organisation work with children?

Are you confident about keeping children safe and what to do if something goes wrong?

Do you have an up to date safeguarding policy and guidance to make sure that children and adults are safe? Are all your staff and volunteers trained on safeguarding?

Online training is available from the Local Authority.

If you need help or advice please contact either David Butler (Education Chair of the Croydon Safeguarding Children Board) on 020 8760 5636 or the Local Authority Designated Officers 020 8726 6000 Ext.84322 email:

Another useful source is

CVA also run Safeguarding Children training at all levels.  The cost is £45 for voluntary and community groups.  See the website for further information.

Home Start  Croydon Job Vacancy
Office Manager
Salary £31,000-£34,000 p.a.  36 hours a week

Looking to recruit an office manager to lead the team through an exciting period of growth and development with the following skills:
  • Experience of managing a team and strong networking skills
  • Experience of managing projects budgets and financial systems
  • Understanding of the needs of families with young children
  • Knowledge of safeguarding and child protection
Closing Date 10 February 2017

Dates for your diary

Thursday 4th May 2017 (evening):  Faiths Together event concerning "Respect"

Sunday 9th July 2017:  Interfaith bike ride and picnic

If you have any events you would like included in the Faiths Together in Croydon newsletter please send details to  The next newsletter will be in 
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