Multi-faith centre plans approved

Proposals for a purpose-built multi-faith centre have been approved, the University of Surrey has said.
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The £6m facility is being built on the Guildford campus to house six world faiths in a single building, providing a base for the university chaplaincy.

It will help to develop inter-faith programmes and be open to all students and staff, a statement said.

A fundraising appeal has been launched to raise the money and the project is expected to be finished by 2010.

Alex Goldberg, the university's Jewish chaplain, said the project would be seen as "leading the way" in solving issues of community relations, cohesion and integration.

Dr Abdul Mateen Sansom, the Muslim chaplain, added that it was a "sorely-needed practical solution to student needs".
The centre will contain dedicated space for Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh communities, together with open space for the practices of Buddhist and Hindu traditions.


Fear over Chaplaincy Cuts in NHS

logo Community professionals have expressed deep concern over the impact that reported cuts to chaplaincy provision in NHS hospitals will have on Jewish patients. A survey released this week by public theology thinktank Theos showed that chaplaincy care has been reduced by 54,127 hours a year since 2005. Sue Soloway, administrator of the United Synagogue’s visitation committee, told the JC: “Although the cuts have not impinged on us yet, if they did it would be a very wrong move on the part of the NHS. “People across the board appreciate chaplain visits and if these services are further reduced, it will be a great loss for all faiths.” Senior hospital chaplain and the minister of Bushey and District Synagogue, Rabbi Meir Salasnik, said: “The cuts are worrying but what is more worrying is the issues of data protection. In many hospitals, the chaplains are not able to find out what religion patients are unless specifically asked for by the patients.” Alex Goldberg, community issues director at the Board of Deputies, is a liaison officer at the Royal Surrey County Hospital. He said: “In my experience, there are Jewish people who have not associated with the Jewish community for more than 50 years, but value the support of a chaplain from their faith at times of illness. “It is a real shame that chaplaincy funding is being cut as it forms part of the care provision.” He added: “Even in hospitals where there is not an assigned Jewish chaplain, the chaplaincy staff will provide services for Jewish patients, so cutting the budget will mean our community professionals will have to work harder to reach Jewish patient. It is a sad reflection.” According to the United Synagogue Visitations Committee, there are 50 Jewish chaplains working for the NHS in England and Wales, in addition to 40 voluntary hospital visitors.

Jewish group seeks Muslim adviser

Jewish group seeks Muslim adviser

A body which represents Jewish people in Britain is looking to appoint a Muslim adviser for one of its schemes.
The aim of the Shared Futures Project - run by the Board of Deputies of British Jews - is to link Jewish and other faith schools.

Alex Goldberg, of the Board, said he hoped the project would bring together Britain's different communities and allow the different pupils to interact.

"This is an exciting opportunity for faith schools," he said.

Good citizens

The scheme coincides with government aims, announced last September, to promote community cohesion within schools.
The project will include creating links between Jewish, Roman Catholic, Sikh and Hindu schools.

Mr Goldberg explained that the Board had chosen to look for a Muslim adviser because "these faith schools are greater in number than Sikh and Hindu institutions".
The Board hopes children from different schools will work together side-by-side on a wide variety of projects such as environmental, arts, sports and business schemes.
Mr Goldberg said the initiative would "promote diversity and improve understanding" between Britain's different faith communities.
"This is vitally important. We believe single faith schools provide good citizens with good academic results and we want these pupils to go out into the world equipped for a diverse community," he said.

Matching schools

Mr Goldberg said Shared Futures was looking to work with a variety of organisations such as Kick It Out, the organisation aiming to eliminate racism from football.
He explained there was a need to be sensitive to the needs of different schools: "One size doesn't fit all and we want to create a menu of programmes so that schools are equally matched, for instance, liberal schools are matched to other liberal schools."
Work has already begun on pilot schemes for the summer with the long-term aim of matching 20 to 30 faith schools during the first year, and at least 60 by 2010.