The General Religious Studies programme this term has been a hive of activity. The term began with an introduction to Hinduism. The topic was really enhanced by the visit of Nabhi Nandan Das from Shree Shree Radha Krishna Cultural Centre in South Norwood, who introduced us to prayerful chants and meditative music. Nabhi’s gentle manner and sense of humour were both engaging and entertaining as he talked about his faith, beliefs and practices.
Considering what it means to live a committed religious life in today’s world brought us to the visit of Sr. Mary Catherine and Sr Mary Benedicta from The Dominican Sisters of St Joseph, based in Lymington, near Southampton. Although their visit was quite short in the end, they regaled the Year 12 with a real insight into their life, commitment and challenges faced in today’s society. In particular they spoke very movingly about their early life and how they were called to commit to the religious life.
Our programme swiftly moved on to studying Islam, which we were very privileged to hear about from four Year 12 students. They provided a wealth of information about their faith, beliefs and practices, as well as fielding questions from the floor.
This was followed by Mr Adeel Khan, lecturer at The School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS) who involved the whole of the year group in discussions about the challenge of interpreting ancient sacred texts in the context of contemporary society, especially those regarding relationships in the home, homosexuality and relations between Muslim and non-Muslim societies.
This part of the programme concluded with a visit by Hajira Khatun, a former student who returned to speak about women in Islam, speaking passionately about wearing the hijab, women in politics, the education of girls and the challenge of being a committed Muslim in post-modern society.
Every visitor provoked plenty of debate, questions and discussions, as well as much food for thought.
Mrs P Horsman