As this newsletter and various news reports reflect, “hate” is becoming a particular issue in our society today. The terrible attack on the mosques in Christchurch, NZ last month, though occurring thousands of miles away, had a significant effect on the hearts and minds of people of faith all over the world, not least of all here in our city of Brighton & Hove. Standing together with “One Voice” representatives of various faith communities gathered in solidarity with our local Muslim community outside Hove Town Hall in March, just as we did last October 2018 with our Jewish community ref Pittsburgh and in 2017 after the Manchester Arena atrocity.
In 2018, BHFA reported that Faith Hate Crime in our city had risen by 419% in three years. Last year’s statistics have yet to be released, but a downturn – though hoped for – is unlikely. There is more that we can do as people of faith within our city than gather together in solidarity after tragic events have happened. Our Combatting Faith Hate Partnership (CFHP) begun last May needs the assistance of all signatories and others in the realisation of its stated goals to address “faith hate” in our schools, in our communities and in our city. Please make a note of the various initiatives contained in this newsletter to tackle hate of all kinds within our society and join in – whether you or your community feel threatened or not – let us take action together to prevent a similar tragedy taking place here as has taken place elsewhere.
BHFA communications – please note the new email address infoBHFA@gmail.com and please use this for all correspondence with us! Please also visit our website www.bhfa.org.uk to keep abreast of latest news and information. We now have our own EventBrite page and all upcoming BHFA and Faith Council events are posted there, the great advantage of this page is the ability to a) add events direct to your calendar (PC/mobile) and b) register your attendance which helps us with catering etc. Also our Facebook page which we hope you will “like” and “follow” together with our new Facebook Group page, where we hope people of faith in our city will share news, information and views and just get to know each other! NB Please note, our intention is to keep emails to a minimum – we all know how irritating emails can be – so news and information will be posted directly to the website and social media pages as required, a newsletter summing everything up will be emailed just once a month.
Unity in our city – part of the B Right On Festival organised by the LGBT Community Safety Forum, a panel type event talking about common experiences and how diverse communities can work together to build unity and the importance for all groups to tackle hate. Speakers include representatives from the LGBT Community Safety Forum, Possability People, Network of International Women and BHFA. Monday, April 8th 6pm (see below).
Faith Hate Focus Group – arranged by the Council’s Community Safety Team – this is an excellent opportunity for people of faith concerned about the rise in “hate” crimes and incidents and the way in which such cases are handled to meet with Council officers and discuss their concerns. The group is particularly interested to hear about ways in which reporting by victims can be improved and how victims can feel supported. Wednesday, April 10th 5.30pm (see below).
Upstanders – bringing together people from various community groups eg LGBT, BAME and faith concerned with tackling and addressing all varieties of “hate” crime and incidents, particularly focusing on reporting and victim support and discussing ways of tackling “hate” within our communities. Coordinated by the Council’s Community Safety Team. Thursday, April 11th 1.30pm (see below).
Faith Hustings 2019 – “What does the Faith Covenant mean to you?” Representatives of the local political parties and faith groups discuss and answer questions about the implementation and working of the Faith Covenant signed last November between the City Council and faith leaders from across the city. With the local council elections the following week, this is an opportunity for people of faith to enquire from the politicians just how committed they are to the Faith Covenant and its realisation as well as their appreciation of the faith community and its contribution to community and social action efforts. Particularly pertinent might be the ways in which the future Council will support the faith community not just in principle, but with funding and consultation regarding the conception and execution of policies that may affect people and communities of faith. Thursday, May 2nd (see below).
Faith Council Meeting – the next takes place on Thursday, May 2nd from 10am at the Salvation Army (Brighton). At the March meeting we had the pleasure to meet Suleman Nagdi MBE, Deputy Lieutenant of Leicestershire, who shared with us his history and perspectives on interfaith work in Leeds and Leicestershire. It was very interesting to hear what efforts and initiatives are happening elsewhere in the country to bring different communities together not just for social cohesion but in addressing the needs of local communities too. Please contact BHFA if you would like to share with the Faith Council news or information about your faith community, its work or the challenges it faces or would like to address, particularly if you are looking for collaboration, partnership or assistance with a social action project, new or existing. (see below)
BHFA Clergy Standing Together Informal – the first “Informal” for clergy and faith leaders from across the city will take place on Thursday, May 2nd from 5pm at “Taste of Sahara” restaurant on Western Road hosted by BHFA trustees. North African and Middle Eastern inspired canapes and soft drinks will be served in the venue’s secluded courtyard and dining room and guests are cordially invited to gather for some or all of the duration and enjoy convivial hospitality with faith colleagues. There is no “agenda” intended for this Informal, though perhaps it may be a welcome oasis of calm, a haven or even safespace from the local elections! Soft drinks will be provided but you are welcome to bring anything stronger with you, free of corkage. Please RSVP via EventBrite or email or Facebook so that we may cater for approximate attendees (please indicate any dietary requirements too).
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY…
(just click on the blue link to register, or for info and location)
April 8th, Monday April 8th Unity in our city 1800 – The Phil Starr Pavilion, Victoria Gardens, Brighton, BN1 1WN
April 10th, Wednesday Faith Hate Focus Group 1730-1900- Brighton Town Hall, Bartholomew Rd, Brighton BN1 1JW
April 11th, Thursday BHFA Trustees Meeting 1000-1200 – Salvation Army, 1-6 Park Crescent Terrace, BN2 3HD
April 11th, Thursday Upstanders 1330-1530 – Brighton Town Hall, Bartholomew Rd, Brighton BN1 1JW
April 25th, Thursday Faith Hustings 2019 7.30pm – Brighthelm, North Road, Brighton BN1 1YD
May 2nd, Thursday Faith Council Meeting 1000-1200- Salvation Army, 1-6 Park Crescent Terrace, BN2 3HD
May 2nd, Thursday Standing Together Clergy Informal 1700-1900 A Taste of Sahara, Western Rd, Brighton BN1 2AA
June 6th, Thursday Celebrating Faith in Action 1100-1530 – The Open Market, Providence Pl, Brighton BN1 4GE
July 4th, Thursday Faith Council Meeting 1000-1200- Salvation Army, 1-6 Park Crescent Terrace, BN2 3HD
CFHP – School Assembly Faith Tour This is a fantastic opportunity to present Faith positively in the school environment. The School Assembly Faith Tour is scheduled to run through May/June and involves panellists from the Jewish, Muslim, Coptic, Anglican and Roman Catholic faith communities to both present individually and as a panel, the relevance of faith in their own lives, discuss issues around religious tolerance and perhaps field questions in order to dispel misperceptions about faith from secondary age school pupils. We held a very successful workshop for School Assembly Panellists delivered by The Faith & Belief Forum last month and are intending to run the event again for candidates from the Roman Catholic, Coptic Orthodox and Muslim faith communities. The workshop briefs panellists on the relevance and effectiveness of personal narrative in presenting Faith positively and equip and prepare panellists to discuss the relevance of Faith in the 21C. For more information or to field candidates as panellists, please contact Fr Jerome via email or phone 07423 074517.
CFHP – Faith Tour 2019 – a tour of 20-30 people of various worship venues is being planned for May/June. IF you would like to participate or indeed host a tour of your faith venue, please get in touch!
FREE Mental Health Awareness Training – For Faith groups, churches and faith-based charities in Brighton & Hove, Eastbourne and surrounding areas. The Revd Vicky Martin is a specialist Mental Health Chaplain working for Sussex Partnership NHS Trust. She is an ordained Baptist Minister and was in church leadership for 8 years. Her blend of theological training and mental health experience within the NHS enables her to offer a unique approach to how to support those experiencing poor mental health. You can contact Vicky via Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust on 07738 757226 or by email. (Please see printable flyer attached.)
LOCAL ELECTIONS – for Brighton & Hove City Council are taking place on Thursday, May 2nd – please find attached a poster from the City Council who are very keen to ensure as many people as possible are registered in time to vote! More information about eligibility for voting etc is available here.
Volunteer Week Celebrating Faith in Action Event 2019 – Thursday, June 6th at The Open Market between 11am-3pm an opportunity to come and share with the general public information about the various faith inspired social action projects and initiatives our various faith communities are involved in and running all around the city. If your organisation, project or faith group would like a stall to advertise and give out information about your “faith in action” please let us know! The event occurs during Volunteer Week so a great opportunity to perhaps recruit some prospective volunteers and collaborators! We hope to have cultural activities and live music during the event as well and welcome musicians, singers, performers, artists… anyone creative to be in touch with us and showcase their faith inspired talent! Just reply to this email to express your initial interest to take part!
Expression of thanks for all that Rik Child has accomplished for BHFA and the Faith Council was unanimously accorded at the last Faith Council meeting in March when notice was given of his stepping down as Chair of BHFA and the Faith Council following an exciting new job opportunity. Rik oversaw the registering of BHFA as a Community Interest Organisation and registered charity together with Lev Eakins (Levity Ltd) and successfully managed the sensitive brokering of the Faith Covenant with the city Council. However, Rik is remaining a Board Trustee of BHFA and fulfilling the role of Treasurer. After the conclusion of Levity Ltd’s contract with BHFA last November, the Board would also like to publicly express the thanks recorded at their last board meeting to Lev Eakins of Levity Ltd for all his dedicated work over the years since the foundation of BHFA in 2014. Elected Vice-Chair at last November’s AGM and having shadowed Rik and Lev for the past year on various projects including the Combatting Faith Hate Partnership, the Trustees have appointed Dr Jerome Lloyd (Archbishop of Selsey) Acting Chair until the next AGM. We also publicly welcome Dr Andrea Zanardo (Rabbi, Reformed Synagogue) and Martin Lloyd-Williams (Archdeacon of Brighton & Lewes) as Board Trustees following their appointment, also last November.
We hope to see you at any or all of the events above and please do be in touch if we can help realise your “faith in action”!