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Love and Light

Region 1 - October Centre Events

On the bright sunny morning of 3 July 2011, the SSE children, parents and teachers from Brixton Sai Centre travelled to St Bartholomew’s Catholic Church, Norbury as part of the children’s study about other faiths and their practices. The children attended the 10am Mass Service which was attended by an approximately100 strong congregation. The children participated in the beautiful hymns sung from the hymn books provided, and watched the ceremony of communion as adults and children filed to the altar to receive the bread and wine representing the body and blood of Christ. The Vicar kindly received the SSE children who also approached the altar to seek the Lord’s blessings. As part of the service, the SSE children were privileged to see the children in the congregation, ascend the altar with offerings of pictures they had drawn and display these for all to see. The pictures depicted scenes of peace and happiness. Thereafter, the children were able to visit the numerous statues of the Holy Mother Mary and Christ and discuss the various scenes depicted on the walls of the key events in Christ’s life. It was a memorable day which the SSE children, teachers and parents thoroughly enjoyed.

On Saturday 16 July 2011, Brixton Centre hosted its annual Fun Day at Truscott House in Croydon. Truscott House is a care home for the elderly where Brixton Centre holds a monthly Bingo session and hosts its annual Christmas Carol concert. The event in July was well attended and the residents enjoyed playing ‘Pass the Parcel’ and ‘Play Your Cards Right’, participating in a quiz, singing along to popular tracks such as “Lord of the Dance” and “Daisy Bell” and enjoying a tasty lunch made by the devotees. The highlight for many of the residents was the SSE children’s drama entitled ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’; this was about two little boys who did not realise the impact of their littering and the disrespect shown to the environment and the creatures around them. One day, after falling asleep under a tree in the forest, the animals gathered around to tell the boys of their plight.The SSE children dressed as rabbits, bumblebees, fish, a bird and a flower each explained to the boys the important contribution that they make to the environment, helping the boys to realise the sacredness of nature. The children performed to a near silent audience who were captivated by their innocence and heartfelt acting. At the end of the performance, the residents filled the room with rapturous applause and praise for the children and their moral tale. It was a wonderful day of service enjoyed by the residents, SSE children and devotees alike and we are grateful to Swami for providing the opportunity to undertake this valuable service.

Wimbledon Sai Centre Family Fun Day

Every year at Wimbledon Sai Centre, the SSE students (and teachers/helpers) look forward to a Sunday filled with games, fun and laughter, entwined with some Sai-orientated competitiveness. This year was no different. The long awaited anticipation was built up over the summer holidays for the big date of 18th September 2011. The youth were asked to organize the activities for the family fun day, whilst the adults organized the food. However as we live under the beautiful grey sky of England, Swami had us thinking on our toes up to the day itself. All weather forecasts were reporting rain on that Sunday. In line with the ideal Sai pathway, we were preparing ourselves for any situation including the unfortunate event of rainfall. But as the day approached, we started with our regular Sunday morning bhajans. Our prayers were answered the skies opened up and the sun shined through for the rest of the day.
We started the family fun day with three Aums and then gathered all the SSE kids and separating them into three girl teams and three boy teams, of mixed age. Once all the groups had been allocated, we asked the kids to choose a team leader and a team name. The younger kids were then separated from the older kids, and the games began. The younger kids started off with an activity to get their hearts pumping with Sai love, we had a parachute which all the kids held around the side, and when their team name was called they had to run under the parachute and get to the other side before the other competitor. While this activity was going on, the older kids were engrossed in an obstacle race. After this there were various sprints, relays and other races. Once everyone was tired out by all the activities, we had a special obstacle course that was built in the playground at which we were hosting the event. We got each team to choose the person in they thought would be the fastest to get around the challenging course. Each team went around the course with their team screaming motivational help from all around them. We then stopped for some deliciously prepared food, which gave a break to the kids and energized them for the final activity of the day. We ended the day with the boys playing football, and the girls playing a game of rounders.

The eventful day finished with one Aum and three Shanthis which then led us onto cleaning of the premises and leaving everyone eagerly waiting for next year’s family fun day!

On Thursday 1st September 2011, the Sri Sathya Sai Centre of Lewisham celebrated a series of festivals which were Ganesh Chaturthi, Krishana Janmashtami and Eid Ul-Fitr. The programme commenced with 3 Aumkar, Ganesh Prathana followed by various prayers and the 108 Ashtotra Namavali of our Beloved Bhagawan. Subsequently to mark these auspicious celebrations the centre conducted Bhajans led by the Youth, Adults and SSE children who sang an array of uplifting Bhajans which made everyone feel our Dearest Lord’s Omnipresence.
The Centre was very fortunate to have two members from Region 1- : Brother Yoges Yogendran (current Regional Chair) Brother Raj Rajasingam (previous Regional Chair) visiting on the holy day of Ganesh Chaturthi. Brother Raj gave a few short words to all the devotees who attended reaffirming everyone’s faith that even though our Bhagawan’s physical body has departed from Earth, that He was is very much still amongst us in the our hearts and the various Sai Centres across the globe. Brother even shared that he could feel the presence of our Swami in the centre and he emphasised the importance of why we need to maintain and practise Swami’s teachings and values in our ever changing society. The programme concluded with Arati, thought for the day and Maha Prasad was served to everyone.

The following Thursday, 8th September 2011, was also a special occasion as Lewisham Sai Centre was celebrating its 14th anniversary. With Bhajans being led by the SSE students, the evening brought a tremendous amount of vibration to the centre and everyone left feeling incredibly energised. We also had two members of the centre that have been attending bhajan at Lewisham Sai Centre since the day it was formed who gave short speeches. One of these was Thanam aunty who spoke about some of the other founding members and a few of her experiences throughout the time she has been part of the centre. Thanam aunty spoke proudly of some of the current youth and how they first began as little children who sat at the front and sang bhajans and are now active members of the youth wing leading the centre to the heights it finds itself today. The second person to speak was a well respected elder of the centre, Jaya aunty, who was the first chairperson of the centre. Jaya aunty urged the members of the centre to continue to work hard and to help the centre progress further. Her speech was emotional for all of us. After the speakers Bhajans was brought to an end and Arthi offered, after this thought for the day and Maha Prasad was served and we all basked in a truly joyous occasion.

Regrettably however, the day was also dedicated in remembrance of the late Sri Victor Kanu. Hailing from South Africa, Sri Victor Kanu was an ardent devotee of Swami who, served Him for several years, but on 3rd September 2011 he passed away. One of our Sai family member, Roger Digbo who had close association to brother Victor shared a few words praising the work of Sri Victor Kanu and the life he lead. Brother Kanu will be sadly missed by all of us.