Sacred Places

EPR students visit places of worship

In EPR Year 8 students have been studying ‘Identity and Belonging’, in which they have been considering what these terms mean and how important they are in our lives. As part of this they have considered religious identity and having a sense of belonging at a sacred place. They have learnt about features of sacred places and how these help believers to worship and feel a part of a community.

On Thursday, students were able to visit three of the sacred places that they have been studying: a Mosque, a Cathedral, and a Hindu Temple. At each place they were greeted by members of that faith, to tell them about their worship in their own words.

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First stop was Blackburn Central Mosque, where students met Salem, who took the students on the journey of a believer from when they arrive at the Mosque and take off their shoes, to the ritual washing (wood) room, and finally the prayer hall. The beauty of the decorations in the building stood out and students asked interesting and topical questions about the role of women in Islam.

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Then we visited Blackburn Cathedral, a place that is familiar to many. Despite this, Dr Riley encouraged students to look at this sacred place with fresh eyes – to imagine the excitement of pilgrims who travelled far to visit this awe-inspiring place. After this introduction, students were very fortunate to have Mrs Robson guide them on a walk around the Labyrinth, where they reflected on their lives and finding peace.

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The final stop of the day was the Veda Mandir in Bolton, where they greeted by Chan and Hiran, from Bolton Interfaith Council. Students were amazed by the beautifully decorated shrine room and were lucky to visit on the day before a major festival and witness the preparations taking place. Students had many questions about the many images of the Hindu gods and shared the items they have included in three Hindu shrines, which each student has created for homework. Hiran and Chan even showed the students an important part of worship, called arti, and Amy Tinniswood was chosen to ring the bell needed as a rhythm for the prayer.

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It was an incredibly rewarding day as students were able to experience different faiths in actions and appreciate the diversity in the community that we live in!