Indian Visitors at the 2018 Summer school
We had three Indian visitors who were there the whole time, brought
direct from India. From Kolkata (the old Calcutta) in West Bengal,
came Anthony Das. He has received groups from Christians Aware for
exposure to this historical city, and is highly involved in social projects
for children, and in health projects across the age spectrum, including a
residential centre. One of those who had visited there recently spoke
movingly about how warmly they had been received, and also going to
Mother Teresa’s Home of Mercy.
Shobha and Michael told us about their life in the vast metropolitan city
of Hyderabad, Muslim, Hindu and Christian, and spoke of their project
work there with young people. Shobha had spent three years in
Leicester earlier under the CMS programme, ‘Every Nation under
Heaven’, when she had completed an MA in Youth and Community
work. These two work very well as a team, which was apparent to us
all, and they were interviewed for the Church Times, which included a
report from the conference.
A colleague of Israel’s, Vincent, is studying at Queen’s College,
Birmingham, and spoke of being pastor of a vast church in
Kanyakumari, where Israel also comes from.
Another overseas visitor was Smitha Prasadam. She was ordained in
Birmingham, and spent many years in parishes there, before going
recently to become the Vicar of Copenhagen, in the Diocese of Europe,
the best attended church in Copenhagen. She spoke about two Indian
saints, Sadhu Sunder Singh, and the less well known Pandita Ramabai.
Both were converts, and church leaders, writers and tireless workers
for their people. Pandita gave much of her energy to caring for widows,
who were normally abandoned in her part of North India. Smitha had
been this year on a pilgrimage in the footsteps of Sadhu Sunder Singh,
the most well known of all Sikh converts. These are both 19th century
pioneers, found in the modern prayer book calendar.
A Christian aid volunteer, Surinder Kaur Sandhu, from Leicester, spoke
beautifully about the essence of Sikhism, a model for how to do this in a
short space of time, that Christians can learn much from. Surinder is the
Assistant Treasurer for Christians Aware.
Ataullah Siddiqui, from the Islamic Foundation at Markfield near
Leicester, challenged us by giving a provocative talk on how Indian
Muslims experience Christianity, mainly historically, and the legacy they
carry with them today.
Israel and Andrew, spoke of the interaction between Hindus and
Christians, historically and in the present, in India and in Britain.
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