23rd Nov: Today we had the first meeting of our new Merseyside Inter-Faith Youth Forum [MIFYF].
This body has been established to give young people of faith across Merseyside a voice in their region and also an input into the Merseyside Prevent Agenda and the Merseyside Council of Faiths. It has been given the backing of the Police Commissioner for Merseyside and the Merseyside Council of Faiths. (Please click on the downloads tab to see our draft constitution)
The group will be co-ordinated by our two senior Youth Council members: Faz Paracha and Roxy Miah and in fact it will take over from the Youth Council.
We had a great ‘get to know each other’ meeting, using our famous Altar. They brought in personal objects to express their identity and share it with the group. MIFYF will be launched at our Annual Celebration on 7th December in the PAL (a.k.a. Pakistan) Centre. It will begin its formal work next year.
Members also chose a practical community activity to support, namely supporting Alder Hey children’s hospital in its inter-faith work.
16th November: Matthew, Hinnah and Kelsang Gogden (our lovely Buddhist volunteer) drove down to Manchester Metropolitan University in Crewe to deliver a Faith Carousel workshop. It was organised by Chris Cooney of Brine Leas High School who is also hub leader for the Cheshire West hub. This was an opportunity for trainee teachers and local teachers to ask questions about teaching difficult aspects of faith in a safe and friendly environment.
31st October: We had an amazing day out at the new British Music Experience which is inside the Cunard Building on the Pier Head. 20 of us went, funded from the Healthy Liverpool Community Grant Scheme. Colette Borrow was our volunteer. We were treated to a workshop from the museum’s brilliant education staff and then had a tour round the building, which is amazing. We had a packed lunch and also had a chance to try out some musical instruments. This was a brilliant addition to the Cultivating Community Spirit programme.
13th October: Today we had a lot of fun cooking a delicious Jamaican dish and learning about the Jamaican culture. Karen Gibbs (one of our volunteers) led the session with Alison. Once the cooking was done, Karen taught us some traditional Jamaican dancing. We sang the national anthem and two Jamaican songs; Linstead Market and Manuel Road. This worked up quite an appetite and we all tucked in to the delicious food.
18th September: Today our Steering Committee member, Moner brought along 15 members of the Liverpool Arabic Centre to experience our “At home with (Ethiopian) Christianity” workshop.
We built upon the great example of inter-faith friendship and hospitality when the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) sent his followers to the Ethiopian Negus (Emperor) for shelter and protection from persecution. They received a warm welcome and experienced some true Christ-like hospitality for many years. This generated a mutual respect that facilitated some of the first and most positive Muslim-Christian dialogue.
Matthew used artefacts from the Ethiopian Orthodox Tawehedo Church to explain some key concepts of Christian belief and values. He was helped by two of our Ethiopian volunteers, Freyewot and her daughter Mahalet. This was a wonderful evening. Everyone opened their hearts in a spirit of sincere courtesy and genuine friendship. True community spirit!
We are all so excited to announce that we have been granted three years funding from the Big Lottery Reaching Communities Fund, amounting to £293,503.
This is fantastic news and will allow us to expand the impact and reachof our adult learning programmes supporting marginalised adults across Merseyside.
Matthew Thompson, Chief Exec of LCS said,
“We are absolutely delighted with this good news from the Big Lottery Fund. It will enable us to deliver our new C.H.A.N.G.E programme (Cultural Heritage Awareness Nurturing Growth Empowerment), in local communities and prisons, inspiring participants with renewed hope and vision to tackle barriers to personal progress. It will also promote more inclusive community spirit and address recent increases in hate crimes related to faiths and cultures.”
So far we have had two amazing sessions with our lovely tutor Alison and the volunteers. The theme for the first session was Arabic/Islamic. We cooked a delicious Arabic dish called Haneath and baked a date cake. We also made and some Arabic lemonade - so fresh and revitalising! Hinnah did a very insightful session on Islam using our Muslim living room, we learnt lots about her practices and beliefs. The theme for session two was Judaism. Matthew took us to the Jewish living room where he learnt lots about Jewish beliefs and practices and had a look at some of the artefacts. We learnt a knew song called Shalom Aleichem and tried on some Jewish clothing. We have been painting our pot with our own unique designs and next week we will be planting it.
In August we delivered our Subject Knowledge Enhancement Course for intending .R.E. teachers. This was a full five day programme of interactive encounters with six major faith communities and included tours of local faith centres, our “At home with…” workshops in our Home of Hospitality living rooms, as well as explorations of the new GCSE syllabus. Thanks to all our faith community partners for giving us access into how their faiths are lived out in our community and making this a very worthwhile and enjoyable learning experience for all.”
We had another lovely day out with our friends from Natural Breaks on Friday 19th August. This time we decided to investigate what lay under the ground in the nearby Williamson Tunnels. A group of us were given a very informative tour by one of the lovely volunteers, Pat, who told us all about the history of the Tunnels. This is a unique place and one well worth visiting.
On Friday 30th June, we had a "magical" day out with our friends from Natural Breaks. About 15 of us got on a minibus and did a Beatles Tour of Liverpool, stopping off at Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields. This was a day out for people who had previously attended one of our Cultivating Community Spirit Courses. We ended up in Mathew Street at the Cavern Club. Grateful thanks to Cavern City Tours for sponsoring this trip. We had a "fab" time!
5th June: Last night our Youth Council members shared Iftar and the delights of Ramadan with members of our Jewish community (including the Chair of the Merseyside Jewish Rep Council and two of our Steering Committee members) and our new neighbours (Ed and Zoe) who moved in next door and will be working in St James in the City church.
Youth Council members Faz, Amira, Najah and Roxy together with YC Co-ordinator Hinnah opened up about what Ramadan means to them and the blessings it brings. Our Jewish guests shared and compared their fasting and festivals. We ate delicious Halal and Kosher snacks and ended the evening with the LCS motto sounding in our hearts “Oh what a good and joyful thing it is when people dwell together in unity” [Psalm 133:1]
1st June: Our friends at Britain’s top coffee roasters: Neighbourhood Coffee provided an amazing coffee tasting tour for our adult learners at their base in Chadwick St Liverpool 3.
We were welcomed with delicious coffee made by the barista trained staff, given a very informative tour showing how coffee is grown, imported, roasted and packed. It was great to see how Neighbourhood Coffee have such a direct, personal and ethical approach to their coffee farmers in developing countries. We then went on to coffee ‘cupping’: sampling six of their amazing quality coffees from around the world.
Great to see a Liverpool company at the cutting edge of coffee roasting and demonstrating how sound business and true community spirit make an irresistible blend.
16th May (Session 4): On the menu today was shepherds pie and apple crumble. This was cooked by the lovely ladies from St Anne & St Bernard's Church, our Muslim ladies also helped with the preparation and certainly enjoyed eating it for lunch. We had a lovely discussion on Christianity which included the role of Priests and the Pope. We are sad that this is our final session - ladies please stay in touch! Thank you to everyone involved and a big thank you to the Near Neighbours Project for funding this project.
10th May: We took some ex-learners to Liverpool Cathedral where Matthew gave us a very insightful tour of Britain's biggest cathedral - we learnt so much. Alison then took some of the learners to the top of the tower, the weather was perfect and the view was AMAZING! We ended the trip with a picnic in St James' Gardens.
9th May (Session 3): After the success of yesterdays session, we held another At Home with... session today. We invited women from St Anne & St Bernard's Church's well as Hinnah's mother-in-law and husband, they taught us about Afghan culture and delivered a session on Islam using our Muslim living room. We cooked a delicious Afghan kebab with rice which we enjoyed in the sun.
8th May (Session 2): Today we learnt lots about Somali culture including food, clothes and the history of the country. We even managed to hold a little fashion show to showcase the Somali clothing. The food was DELICIOUS!!
Ethiopian Cultural Evening - Wednesday 3rd May: Father Birhani and Deacon Dagmawi reveal the mysteries of the Begena (sacred drum) and teach us a traditional song of praise. Afterwards we shared delicious ambasha bread freshly baked by Fr Birhani’s wife. Igziabhir yemesgen!
Friday 31st March (Week 2): Indian/Islamic themed session. Learners cooked a delicious Arabic dish called Haneath and baked a date cake. Arabic lemonade was also on the menu - perfect for the lovely weather. Hinnah delivered a session on Islam using our Muslim living room, we learnt lots about her practices and beliefs.
21st March (Session 1): Today was brilliant day as we started a new course funded by the Common Good Fund. Members of LCS Youth Council divised themselves into 2 groups, American members and Muslim members. Each group cooked a dessert, chocolate chip pancakes and potato latkes, with help of Sara Radivan. We learnt a lot about each others cultures and can't wait fort he second session.
Thursday 29th March: First year Teacher Trainees were welcomed into our Home of Hospitality where they received four different workshops related to RE. Hinnah and June Simms delivered sessions on Islam and Judaism using our re-created faith living rooms, the trainees thoroughly enjoyed these as their knowledge and awareness of each faith was increased by the end of the session. Matthew took the students on a tour of the Anglican Cathedral where they observed the Art. Alison delivered a practical session on the importance of RE and how RE and Art can be married together. Overall, the whole day was a success and we look forward to welcoming more trainee teachers soon!
Some feedback the students regarding what they found most useful:
"Talking to Hinnah as a person of faith at a personal level" - Angela
"Getting an overview of Islamic and Jewish beliefs - and teaching ideas/tips" - Anonymous
"Learning how to encompass RE and Art in the classroom and differences within Judaism" - Maria
"Speaking honestly to religious people of variety of faiths" - E. Delaney
"I found at home with Muslims very interesting" - Tom
"Enjoyed the Cathedral tour" - Chloe
Friday 24th March (Week 1): Ethiopian and Caribbean themed session. We welcomed some new learners into our Home of Hospitality. They cooked some new Ethiopian dishes including a lentil stew (kuk wot) and made a very tasty Ethiopian smoothie called Spris. We discovered more in our Ethiopian living room and we even dressed up a little. We finished the day off with some gardening - thankfully the sun was shining.
Friday 17th March (Week 6): Arabic/Islamic themed session. This week (sadly, the final week) learners cooked a delicious Arabic dish called Haneath. They also baked a date cake and made some Arabic lemonade - so fresh and revitalising! Hinnah did a very insightful session on Islam using our Muslim living room, we learnt lots about her practices and beliefs.
10th March: We had an amazing time at Springwood Heath Primary School where Hinnah and Sara Radivan delivered workshops for Year 4 and Year 6. The pupils learnt about Shabbat, Kosher, The Torah as well as the importance of many artefacts - they even got to try some delicious Challah bread. Hinnah and Alison went back into the school a few days later and delivered a British Values Assembly - both the pupils and staff throughoughly enjoyed this.
Feedback from teacher:
"I was very impressed with the delivery of the workshop. I felt the fact that it was delivered by a Jew and a Muslim working together was really significant ... I thought the workshop was interesting, powerful and inspirational" - Class teacher, Springwood Heath Primary School
Friday 10th March (Week 5): Mexican themed session. We learnt about the origins of hot chocolate and made some traditional hot chocolate with chilli. We are nearly finished with our staffs and excited to take them home. We learnt the La Cucuracha dance from our volunteer Anneka who comes from USA.
3rd March: Our Liverpool Round Table of Faiths and our Faiths in Our City book were the focus of a community lunch workshop run by Cathi Wareing (Children and Families Worker at St Luke’s Walton) as part of the Faith2017 project promoting better inter-faith encounter and understanding in communities that run the length of Queen’s Drive Liverpool.
Our Round Table of Faiths comprises 9 panel, each containing drawings of key values and symbols and important Liverpool places of interest linked to each of the faith communities (to find out more please click on our 'Round Table of Faiths' tab found on the navigation bar above).
Cathi reported that It was very well received and stimulated much discussion and interest, particularly around the symbols which we had included on each panel (the meanings of which are explained in our Faiths in Our City book). One lady knew the Baha’I Centre on Langdale Road very well, her mother was a personal friend of Dr Ernest Miller who donated the houses to the Baha’I community, and she had fond memories of him.
Another lady was intrigued by the Rasta faith panel which features a drawing of Waverley Road and was puzzled about the Rastafarian connection. Through the Faiths in Our City booklet Cathi was able to show her that Haile Selassie’s son lived in a house their when he was studying at Liverpool University. This faith panel also has a drawing of the Adelphi hotel and the book explains that the Emperor stayed there when he came to visit his son.
Cathi concluded “The main message received from the Table of Faiths workshop was how diverse Liverpool is as a city is and how that diversity contributes to creativity that is both colourful and tolerant”.
Friday 3rd March (Week 4): Ethiopian and Caribbean themed session. Learners made some new Ethiopian dishes including a tomato salad and a lentil wot (stew). We visited our Ethiopian living room to discover more of this uniquely rich culture. Learners worked hard on their staff, personalising them with words and designs that reflect their core values and cultural heritage.
Thursday 2nd March: HMP Styal: Taste of Life week 2: Ethiopian week: another learner joined the course this week making a total of 7. We cooked a delicious Ethiopian lunch, freshly squeezed orange and carrto juice, jerk chicken and corn bread. Learners explored Ethiopian culture and history through our collection of artefacts from Ethiopia. Learners also reflected on inspirational stories and the life of Nick Vujicic.
Friday 24th February (Week 3): We enjoyed cooking a delicious Meatloaf for Jewish week. We spent some time learning about Jewish culture and traditions in our Jewish living room. Our staffs are coming along nicely - the design phase has begun.
We are very happy to be involved with this year's initiative, co-ordinated by Alsop High School, which involves a series of events, talks, visits, workshops and social action projects. We will be putting on two Year 7 educational events as part of the programme, one Faith Encounters Workshop in April at Alsop High School and one interactive workshop, here at Lady Chapel Close, in July. The aim of FAITH 2017 is to establish and develop relationships within and between different communities and different faith traditions and to inspire and empower young people to dream of a better future and equip them with the skills to take responsibility and play an active role in their communities.
We are all really sorry to see Sammi go. We would like to thank her for all her hard work and dedication she has put into the Youth Council, as well as Taste of Life, over the past 3 years. We wish her well in her future career and she will be greatly missed.
Alison and Hinnah had a great day at The Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral celebrating their graduation, having gained their Masters in Education & RE.
The office will be closed from 4pm on Wednesday 21st December until 9 am on Wednesday January 5th. We would all like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
The dates for our unique well-being and personal development course for adults, which nurtures understanding of different faiths and cultures and combines cooking skills, horticultural skills and woodcraft, have been announced. Please contact us if you would like to come on the course, or if you are in contact with someone who you think might benefit. The course runs every Friday 10am - 1.30 pm and is funded by the NHS Healthy Liverpool Community Grant.
Course 1: Friday 10th February - Friday 10th March
Course 2: Friday 17th March - Friday 7th April
Course 3: Friday 28th April - Friday 19th May
Course 4: Friday 21st July - Friday 11th August
Course 5: Friday 25th August - Friday 15th September
Course 6: Friday 13th October - Friday 10th November
Course 7: Friday 17th November - Friday 15th December
We are running a free Open Awards Qualification Unit in ‘Understanding Equality and Diversity in Preparation for Volunteering’ at our office in January. The course dates and times are as follows:
Wednesday 11th January 10.30 – 2.30
Wednesday 18th January 10.30 – 12.30
Wednesday 25th January 10.30 – 2.30
Call us if you would like to book onto this FREE course.
Oh what a good and joyful thing it is when brethren dwell together in unity!
And that's exactly what we did!
This year we hosted our end of year event at St Bede's Church, Toxteth. This was a great opportunity for everyone involved in LCS over the last year to celebrate their achievements.
Learners, volunteers, youth council members, friends of LCS, partner organisations, steering committee members and trustees all enjoyed the annual event.
Indian food and traditional Indian dancing was provided by Purvi Parikh.
We welcomed nine senior staff from Regenda Homes from all over the North West to Liverpool Community Spirit for an Awareness Training Day. The aim was to raise awareness of different faiths in the welcoming environment of our Home for Hospitality. This was in line with their Equality and Diversity Project. Staff met members of the Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities and had a guided tour of Al Taiseer Mosque. They were treated to a cultural lunch of stuffed vine leaves, hummus, stuffed paratha, samosas and baklava.
Everyone enjoyed the day and one person commented that it was so "different to a normal training day". Everyone enjoyed meeting real people living out their faith, as a way to understand religion better and they felt very welcomed and looked after in a home environment. Several of the people attending wished that other staff in their organisation could benefit from this high quality training as it was so useful.
"“I found the most useful thing is that I now have a better understanding of different religions”.
Learn Teach Lead RE North (LTLREN) conference – 5th November 2016
Over 100 teachers gave up their Saturday for a stimulating and informative day. The LTLREN is a new initiative funded by Culham St Gabriels Trust. It seeks to transform RE teaching in primary and secondary schools, collaborating in continuing professional develop in eight areas (Cheshire East, Cheshire West, Halton, Wirral, Liverpool, St Helens, Warrington and Wirral).
The conference focussed on the responses received from the questionnaire results sent out to teachers in the summer term. ‘Unmet needs’ were prioritised as:
Teachers took part in a carousel for a ‘Living Islam Workshop’. This covered four vital aspects of Islam: the importance of Zakat and Hajj, diversity within Islam, the role of the Mosque and birth and marriage ceremonies. The carousel was delivered by four members of the Islamic faith, all with a teaching background.
We helped organise and deliver an INSET day at Alsop High School, Walton for approx. 60 Secondary R.E. teachers from schools across Merseyside. Joy Schmack delivered a stimulating key note talk which was followed by our round table encounters with representatives of eight diverse faith communities. New reps included a Humanist, an Evangelical Christian and an Anglican Christian. We had excellent feedback from the teachers.
YC members welcomed LFC Chaplain and Minister at Bridge Chapel Bill Bygroves into the Faith living-rooms at the Liverpool Community Spirit offices. Bill was a great guest speaker, talking to Youth Council about his Faith and what it means to him.
Youth council summer barbecue August 2016
Members and friends enjoyed a fun filled day of activities at the event.
Cultivating Community Spirit 27th May 2016
Week 3 of Cultivating Community Spirit with our lovely learners from Making Days. Our theme today was Ethiopia and our first attempt at making Doro Wot (chicken stew) was a resounding success!
Youth Council having fun at Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre - 2nd May 2016
All ready to go on our youth council outing - 2nd May 2016
Decorating plant pots for Spring - 8th April 2016
Learners on the Cultivating Community Spirit gardening course did a great job of decorating terracotta plant pots with spring designs. Next week we will be filling them with compost and planting some lovely herbs and flowers.
March 31st 2016
Youth Council members leading the closing ceremony for The Heartstone Odyssey project at The Liverpool Anglican Cathedral.
Enjoying Thai Curry and Roti at Cultivating Community Spirit - 26th Feb 2016
The group of learners on our CCS course worked really hard today on the designs for their staffs as well as cooking and enjoying a delicious Thai green curry and roti breads.
Celebrating 'Shrove Tuesday' - February 2016
Youth Council member Luke showing us all how its done
Adult Learners- 14th January 2016
The first Taste of Life course of 2016 started today. Ian and Anthony below posing with the corn bread they baked!
Annual Celebration Event - December 2015
It was such a great night! The atmosphere was vibrant, the food delicious and the ceilidh a lot of fun!
The LCS team would like to say a big thank-you to everyone who came along to join in the celebrations at our yearly event.
Jewish Week on the Cultivating Community Spirit Course - 13th November 2015
The learners on our Cultivating Community Spirit enjoyed reading and discussing the book 'The Always Prayer Shawl' as well as learning about some Jewish artefacts and preparing (and eating!) delicious chicken soup and Challot (mini Challah breads).
Youth council participate in broadcasting workshop- 18th August
Training to be radio presenters in preparation for broadcasting their own shows live on Liverpool Community radio
Youth council visit Artist at work- 10th August 2015
Youth council members attended a Skills and Invention presentation by professional artist Richard Meaghan and viewed what goes on behind the scenes at his Art studio in Liverpool.
Cup of Tea with the Dean - 21st July 2015
Some of the adult learners from our most recent Cultivating Community Spirit and Taste of Life courses enjoyed a visit to the Anglican Cathedral where they had a meeting with the Dean and braved the long climb up the tower for breathtaking views of Liverpool!