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Region 3 - May 2012 Update

Ilford Sai Centre Ram Navmi, Hanuman Jayanti and Easter celebration 7th April 2012 and Easter and Remembrance day at Greenford Centre

An exciting evening started with centre devotees arriving early and eager to take part in a triple celebration. The altar was brightly illuminated with gold and blue lights and wonderful shades of lilac, gold and white draped the beautiful huge photo of our Lord Baba. Our Lord Jesus Christ , Lord Rama and Lord Hanuman also adorned the altar. Garlands and flowers seemed to be full of life as everyone settled down for the start of the programme.

The evening started with Omkars, Gayatri mantras, Vedam chanting and multi-faith prayers.
Baba says ‘Bhajan is a disciplinary process by which ‘Kama’ and ‘Krodha’ can be kept away. In this busy age of fear and anxiety the remembrance of God and repetition of his name is the one means of liberation that is accessible to all’. Group devotional singing commenced with Ganesh and Guru bhajan followed by sweet loving voices of the young ones who provided a glorious musical which created enormous vibrations in our lovely temple. The bhajans included Rama bhajans, Hanuman bhajans and hymns which became very vibrant and energised everyone present.
Readings were researched and presented by SSE group 3 and youths emphasising the meaning of Ram Navmi, the true devotion of Lord Hanuman and the total essence of Easter and our Lord Jesus Christ. The beautiful prayers concluded with the message of love and compassion, for which our Lord Jesus Christ sacrificed his life. ‘Heavenly father, through your holy spirit, remind us how much you love us now, we praise you for your love, thank you for loving us, fill us with love so that we might be your mission-partner today! Amen.

Easter and Remembrance day Ilford centre and Greenford centre on 8th April 2012

On the next day, 8th April Easter Sunday Ilford Sai Centre were kindly invited by brother Deepak Khazanchi from Greenford Sai centre to remember our Lord Baba's physical departure on the 24th April 2011,which caused us all deep anguish and grief and irreparable sense of physical loss. However 8th April reminded us that Baba lives with us and will always be in us, around us in his love form.

The programme consisted of uplifting and beautiful devotional songs by both centres. The musicians and Choir group from Ilford Sai Centre made a musical offering after endless practices which were truly inspirational.

The morning ended with Greenford Sai Centre giving an inspiring talk on Easter and also arranging one of the youth Andrew Ring from Ilford centre to do a reading on Easter.
Aarti and food prayer was followed by a delicious Mahaprasadam which left everyone mesmerised by a wonderful experience. This was a truly moving day which touched hearts and souls of everyone present and left a loving smile on everyone’s face. Sai centres working together as one, shows great unity and total success in performing Swami’s teachings.

Sheila Ring
Spiritual Convenor, Ilford Sai Centre

Easter – At Manor park Sai Centre

Swami has said "Let the different faiths exist, let them flourish, let the glory of God be sung in all languages and Respect the differences between the faiths and recognise them as a flame of Unity". Therefore bearing in mind his teaching with respect of Unity of faith, Manor Park Sai Centre once again celebrated Easter on the 14th of April with serenity and joy. The Gandhi hall in the Froud Centre was transformed from a simple hall to a beautiful Multi faith altar with Green and Yellow decorations. Accompanying the altar, a Gold cross gleamed out in the centre. Fresh daffodils, Easter egg candles, a handful of Easter eggs and chicks were what made out altar complete and traditional. The soft and uplifting Christian chant music settled the ambience and set the atmosphere for the evening.

The programme consisted of devotional singing, a short play performed by SSE children, several inspiring video clips including one of Swami’s discourses on the message behind Easter and to conclude with a very well known and prominent guest speaker, Mr Patrick Handley. Mr Patrick spoke to us that evening about the true meaning of Easter. He recalled many stories about Jesus and pinpointed out the many harsh and vicious events which Jesus endured. Not only did he talk about Jesus but he also related the Jesus’ teachings to those of Swami’s. Many of us were inspired whilst some were touched by the story of Jesus Christ. To lighten up the mood, Mr Patrick remarked the morning of Easter Sunday when Jesus had resurrected. This day signifies and represents new life and hence chicks are a common symbol for this event. It is a day where we can reflect on the good and bad we have done and then learn from our actions, entering a new way to life. When Christ rose up from the dead, it was a sign of a new beginning with love and peace.

To bring an end to the evening and add warmth to the festival, we were served with delicious hot cross buns. Whilst eating, we also remembered the significance behind those tasty soft buns. They were not there just to satisfy our tummies but to remind us of the cross on which Jesus was crucified. The cross is extremely significant and vital for all Christians. I believe many of us from Manor Park Sai Centre can all agree that we have learnt many things about the celebration of Easter and that it is a day that we cannot forget!

"Jesus renounced everything to become fit for service to Mankind." ~ Baba

Abbiramy Rajan
Manor Park Sai Centre

Ladies Seva Activity: Monthly Craft Workshops - Region 3

Our ladies continue to meet monthly at the Lady of Lourdes Church in Wanstead, Essex, joining forces with the local church community and various charitable groups to sew and knit garments for both children and the elderly from less privileged backgrounds both here in the UK, as well as overseas.

We have recently witnessed a great deal of enthusiasm as "new recruits" join the group each month, armed with their sewing machines (often retrieved from attic or garage), ready to learn new skills - or at least brush up on old dress-making techniques, long forgotten. The dedication of the participants and their eagerness to please Swami with their "seva" has been very touching, not to mention the tireless efforts of our workshop facilitator who has been very exacting in Swami's high standards in terms of the finished product!

On the knitting front, stalwarts from the local church community appeared at last week's session - much to the delight of our ladies - and made their contribution by completing some woollen garments for the elderly. In fact, they so enjoyed themselves that they have promised to put in a regular appearance, having scribbled down the dates of future workshop meetings in their diaries.

Also the request for second hand, clean clothes must have filtered through successfully as several large bags of clothes turned up at the workshop and were taken away by one of our Sai sisters who had recently received a request for warm woollens from a Sai centre overseas.

Finally, some of our ladies were shown how to make beautiful, hand-made cards for Swami as a special offering due to it being Remembrance weekend.

But the highlight for everyone came at the end of the session, when all gathered before the small altar of our Beloved Swami and sang His Aarti song, with each participant offering Aarti to Him - turn by turn. It was a meaningful end to a productive session as everyone focussed on HE who had brought them together, surpassing all differences of race, creed, religion or colour.

With Swami's Grace, we sincerely hope that others will join this service activity. If anyone is interested in knowing more, please do get in touch.

Om Sri Sai Ram
Sutopa Sen
R3 Ladies Co-ordinator