Speech Contest

speech contest 2016
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Women’s Federation Christmas Celebration
Written by David Schroder   
Saturday, 24 December 2016 04:12

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 South London, 17th December 2016

The event, held in Haslemere Hall in Thornton Heath, and MCed by Tina Coombs was a mixture of poems: ‘Hope’ and ‘Peace’ by Eileen Walkin and ‘Word Party’ by Richard Edwards recited by Garima Singh, mixed in with beautiful carols: ‘Oh Holy Night’ sung by Mia Gardiner and ‘Silent Night’ sung by Amy Brown.

There was a pretty and gentle piano piece by Friedrich Burgmuller called ‘Morning Bells played by Amelia Warren and a popular quiz by Nigel Barrett.

The main message was given by Mitty Tohma, Vice President WFWP Europe and President of the UK WFWP was on the theme ‘A message of hope’ pointing out that true peace can only come about when families are truly connected with God.

The event’s aim was to raise funds for the Destiny School in Uganda and so there was a slideshow about the recent work there to create pit latrines and a kitchen for over 100 children.

This was followed by a raffle and a tasty seasonal buffet for the 50+ participants.

In total £130 was raised for the school.

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National Interfaith Week in Birmingham
Written by David Schroder   
Thursday, 15 December 2016 10:49

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Event: 'The Spiritual and Secular - Challenges we face in contemporary society as people of faith.'

Venue: Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

Sponsored by: Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery; Women's Federation for World Peace; Community Perspectives; Centre for Science, Knowledge and Belief (Newman University).



Just over 70 women, from a wide variety of religious, racial and cultural backgrounds, reflecting Birmingham's wonderful diversity enjoyed the unique setting and hospitality of the Museum and Art Gallery for a discussion about contemporary challenges we face in society regarding 'the secular and the sacred', hearing from four distinguished women speakers who shared their religious and scientific perspectives. Birmingham is one of the most culturally diverse cities in Europe. Over 70% of the population follow a religion, which is a higher percentage than most other cities in the UK. They include the Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Jewish faiths.

The event had been organised by Patricia Earle (WFWP) and Anita Shervington (Community Perspectives) with the support of the Museum and Art Gallery, and Newman University's Centre for Science and Knowledge.

The meeting was preceded by refreshments (kindly provided by Newman University), networking, and then an excellent guided tour of the recently-opened 'Faith in Birmingham' gallery by Adam Jaffer, Curator of World Cultures who worked to develop the Faith Gallery programme. We then moved into an adjacent gallery for the presentations and discussion.

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Our first speaker was Dr Carola Leicht, Research Associate to the Head of Psychology at the University of Kent. Carola helped us to understand the role of women within the science-religion relationship, explaining how social roles and identities shape our stereotypes towards science, religion and gender. She drew on social psychological theory, research and data to provide a deeper understanding of how stereotypes in general are formed, how they affect our behaviour, and contribute to the science-religion relationship.

Next was Dr Dulcie Dixon-McKenzie, a Tutor of Black Theology, Ministries and Leadership at Queen's Theological College in Birmingham. Dulcie used history as her area of interest to reflect on how people of faith might face challenges in present day society. She encouraged us to 'embrace great leaders and activists of the past', citing Rosa Parks and Rev Dr Martin Luther King as examples of faithful people, concluding with an extract from Dr King's 'I have a dream' speech to evoke ideas of liberation theology for people of faith in contemporary society.

Our third speaker, Rev Maureen Foxall, a Methodist local preacher and Chaplain at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, suggested that people of faith are not just those who sign up to a religious belief system and, while Christian church membership has declined drastically in recent times, research has shown that interest in spirituality has grown over the same period. Maureen said that the challenges people of faith face in today's society are not so different to those which everyone faces. However, our religious faith traditions have enormous depths of wisdom to which we can turn to find some solutions.

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Finally Dr Amra Bone, who works as a Consultant on Islam, Education and Chaplaincy, spoke about the love of material things seemingly overshadowing the spiritual in our modern world. She quoted physicist and mathematician Janes Clerk Maxwell as having said 'Science is incompetent to reason upon the creation of matter (itself) out of 'nothing'. We have reached the utmost limit of our thinking faculties when we have admitted that because matter cannot be eternal and self-existent, it must have been created'. We all face daily challenges within our lives, whether through greed, and the desire for material things, or otherwise. God's revelations to us throughout history, from the realm of the spiritual, enable us to go beyond the material, live with honesty and humility, honour our fellow human beings, and be kind to all creatures without any expectation of reward in this world.

Following the four speakers, there was time for a few questions and some discussion and, after the official close of the meeting, many ladies lingered to chat informally, network and spend a few more moments enjoying the riches of the Faith Gallery. Quite a number expressed the desire to return to the Museum, and Gallery, and to bring friends along with them.

We would like to thank Rosie (in particular), Jess, and all the members of the Museum's Community Engagement Team for providing us with such a pleasurable evening, and also the supporting organisations who made the evening possible.

Patricia Earle and Anita Shervington

Link to photographs from the evening:









Bridge Of Peace Event hosted by The Glasgow Peace Federation and the WFWP
Written by David Schroder   
Thursday, 24 November 2016 15:14

 Theme of the event: `Empowering Women through Leadership in The Outdoors`


This year’s Bridge Of Peace Ceremony took place on a winter’s afternoon in the warm atmosphere generated by the participants in the local town hall of Partick in Glasgow.

Shubha Iyer was the MC for the day and opened proceedings by introducing the aims of the Glasgow Peace Federation to facilitate a platform for exchange and cooperation for people from diverse cultural and religious or non-religious backgrounds.

Get to know each other

Dr Sujata Sriram, a specialist based in Queen Elizabeth Hospital and a facilitator for ART OF LIVING SCOTLAND was invited to begin the programme with a set of breathing exercises designed to relax and invigorate the audience.

Afterwards, a talented young singer Ika Liu, born in Hong Kong; Ika has been performed in many mini shows to singing contests. Ika was invited to perform a song; she chose ‘We Are the World’ and had everyone joining in. The young lady received a loud applause after her excellent solo.

Shubha then quoted famous wise words on the Peace theme before introducing the main speaker, Pammy Johal, founder of Backbone Outdoor. Pammy explained the history and background of Backbone which was founded in 1995. Pammy’s journey started when she was a young girl and took a trip to the mountain and experienced a profound bond with the natural world. From this bond grew a vision and dream which has become an influential charity empowering and revealing the potential of people of all ages and backgrounds especially those marginalised in the community. Loving and respecting nature is a core value and integral part of our lives. Bringing this to people who have not yet had this experience is truly a transforming event in life. Pammy explained how the natural world brings us together as equals stripping us down to our core of our being. She invited five participants from the training programme to give brief testimonies of how their lives were transformed.

Each participant expressed how they were transformed from having no confidence to growing into leaders in their communities taking groups on nature and survival hikes, cycling training and taking groups with learning disabilities into nature. All this talent was released in each participant by doing the training with backbone out in nature where limitations were met and overcome to transform each person. Some of those were women who traditionally only ever stayed at home due to cultural habit and never imagined themselves cycling or hill walking.

After these talks the Ambassador For Peace Award from Women Federation for World Peace, Scotland was presented to Pammy by Keiko Fraser Harris, the chair of WFWP Scotland, for all her great work in the community. She accepted the award and told the audience it belonged to all the programme graduates who had gone back to their communities as Environmental Ambassadors to lead successful projects.

Shubha then introduced the final Speaker Councillor Martha Wardrop from the Glasgow City Council who described the various projects run by the Council to support those with little means in the Community to go on retreats and trips to experience nature. The Council also supports clean up campaigns in the Community and gardening projects. She also told the audience about initiatives to m

Ika Liu 2ake the streets safer for women going out alone. The work of Backbone and its valuable contribution to the Community was also given due praise and recognition.

A short video of previous Bridge of Peace Ceremonies was then presented and the Bridge of Peace Ceremony then took place. The new sisters exchanged origami crane birds symbolising peace as they passed over the Bridge.

The participants were all moved by this bridge building and the symbolism of passing over the Bridge of Peace moved hearts. Afterwards, everyone gathered to enjoy an international buffet and share their experiences in a happy atmosphere.


People's opinion of the event: 

Linda Beecroft: This is the first time I have been to such an event and it was wonderfully inspiring and I would gladly attend future meetings. Thank you.

Christine Pert: Welcoming as always! Well presented! Excellent speakers! Singing stunning! Backbone presentation superb! Breathing excises just what the doc ordered! Very well organised! Lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon! Well done Ann & Co, Keep it up!

Mafalda Reis: I attended your event last Saturday, which was so amazing that I joined you.

Ika Liu: Thank you for letting me participates! It’s such a great opportunity to meet amazing people and learn their life stories. 


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