West Midlands Faith Forum “No Place Like Home” launches Interfaith Week

Faith communities listen to Adoption & Fostering

Faith communities listen to Adoption & Fostering

The  West Midlands Faith Forum (WMFF) adoption and fostering services event, “No Place Like Home”, marked the launch of Interfaith Week 2014 in Birmingham. The event was well attended by people from many of the faith traditions and none across the city. Birmingham’s faith communities, during discussions at the Birmingham Faith Round Table, have declared the whole year as a year of Interfaith engagement and activities in keeping with the ethos of Interfaith Week.

WMFF, in partnership with Birmingham City Council’s Fostering and Adoption Service, put on the event at the City Council’s Banqueting Suite. The overall objective being to address a very pressing need in the City for foster care. The event looked at the concept of family and family values; Faith community support for families as a key building block for society; opportunities to build families through fostering and / or adoption.

Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh, Chairman of Guru Nanank Nishkam Sewak Jatha (GNNSJ), WMFF

Speakers and distinguished guests at the event

Speakers and distinguished guests at the event

Executive Board member and Chairman of Nishkam Civic Association attented the event and was accompanied by Mr Sewa Singh Mandla and the Nishkam Centre Director, Amrick Singh. The rationale to attend was quite simple; to support the WMFF iniative and to see how the whole issue of fostering and adoption could be addressed within the faith communities in  Birmingham.

The event was hosted by Gerald Nembhard, Chair of WMFF, and included a series of distinguished speakers from the faith communities and those either providing, or having received, adoption / fostering services.

Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh, commented on how important such interfaith dialogue was on topics as such as fostering and adoption. “We must all work together to create individuals with values, this will create stronger families and, only then, will we see a stronger society. Children are God’s gift to us – we must nurture them, love them and provide them with education and values so that they too become great ambassadors of humanity”.All the speakers shared the need for faith communities understanding the importance of supporting the initative and providing life-changing opportunities to children facing challenging futures. It was also evident that those who had adopted or fostered children of all ages had found the experience very rewarding and humbling. Dr Pyara Singh Bhogal, Chairman of the Council of Sikh Gurudwaras Birmingham, shared some very poigniant messages from Guru Granth Sahib Ji to show how important it is to look after those in society that are entrusted to us. He explained that a child’s first Guru and second Guru are the mother and father and this demonstrates the importance of having loving parents in a child’s life.

Rabbi Shmuel Arkush & Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh

Rabbi Shmuel Arkush & Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh

The programme clearly showed the significance of the faith communities at the event and set a challenge to ensure the messages went to the masses. It was apparent from the event that the message that children are the future and a real need to invest in them was important. They needed stable families to enable them to flourish and to have the values that equipped them to be good citizens.

The faith communities recognised that there was more work to be done to take messages from the event back to respective communities to ensure a step change. This point was clearly enunciated by Rabbi Shmuel Arkush from the Progressive Synagogue, who spoke emphatically about the importance of providing children conducive envirionments to grow and develop. He was passionate about expressing the importance of values and education, at which point he spoke about the work the Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE) had achieved in the city by working with the faith communities. “We must understand the importance of the 24 Moral and Spiritual Dispositions that have been rolled out by Birmingham City Council, SACRE and the faith leaders – this is a unique and fantastic development. The Nishkam School uses these dispositions in it’s school in a very successful way” he went on to say.

Rabbi Shmuel Arkush and Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh met at the end of the event and discussed futher opportunities for dialogue and collaboration.  Bhai Sahib Ji later commented that he was moved by the Rabbi’s words about the importance of values, education and the family structure.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

For more information:

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: