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Love and Light

Region 6 - Ellens Green Satsang

What a lovely day we had at the annual Ellen’s Green satsang! The event was organised by Margaret Bull (Horsham), with a little help from devotees around region 6.

Margaret is passionate about this satsang, which has welcome devotees for the past 30 years at the same venue, a small village hall in the countryside near Horsham. It is a gathering that many of us look forward to, and an opportunity to be together with dear friends in an informal, warm and loving atmosphere. We love to meet up with devotees from across the region, especially the elderly, and share news about those who have not been able to come along. We shared a prayer for June Auton, who passed away on 28th March.

There were inspiring speakers throughout the day, devotional songs with a good variety of English and Sanskrit items, there was time for tea and chat, a chance to catch up with each other, food to share, and also an opportunity to visit the Sai bookshop. Andrew Smith had brought his violin and played some beautiful tunes for us too.

Many devotees had brought huge bags of donated items for Tony’s charity, British Humanitarian Aid. He had come prepared in his van (see report below, and photo). There was joy and laughter, and we could all feel Swami’s presence very strongly, always so tangible at this satsang. Two devotees were so blessed to see Him standing near His chair… After a whole day spent together in the name of Sai, we were sad to leave, but we felt recharged with Love and Joy, and so grateful to Swami for bringing us all together again. What a wonderful day we had indeed, and what a wonderful way to spend a Spring Bank Holiday! We’ll be back for more…

A very big Thank You to Margaret and all who helped to make it happen!

Here is a snapshot of the talks of the day:

Rosemary Dewan gave us an update on the work of the Human Values Foundation charity, set up by June Auton in 1995. The foundation supplies 2 fully resourced, non-denominational, highly engaging Values Education programmes:

(1) Education in Human Values, suitable for ages 4 to 12, and (2) Social and Emotional Education, suitable for ages 12 to 14 and over, sometimes also used to help teenagers get their lives ’back on track’.

Each inclusive programme comprises over 30 learning modules to integrate children’s intellectual, emotional, social, physical and spiritual development.

The next speaker was Jean Francis, who told us about the Philippine Community Fund (visit their website for more information: www.p-c-f.org), a charity that helps support children and their families, living on dumpsites and in cemeteries, and scavenging through toxic waste on the dumpsites.

Jean had set up a display of various items such as jewellery and hand bags made from recycled materials.

Dr Mahesh Narayan, our regional chair, related several incidents from his personal life, and stressed the importance of seeking direct communication with Swami (there is no need for any intermediaries), and about the importance of remembering Him at all times.

Mercini Sherratt spoke very lovingly about animals, and told us stories of animals helping human beings, rescuing children and adults. She reminded us that it was our responsibility to look after them. We should not abuse them or hurt them. Swami says “Love all My creation”. She cited several quotes from Swami:
On Seva for the Animal Kingdom:

The last speaker of the day was Tony Budell, founder of the British Humanitarian Aid charity; he spoke very movingly and humbly about his life, and told us how, after a personal crisis, he gave up his job as a truck driver and started working with people and helping them, mostly in disadvantaged areas of Eastern Europe. He came to know about Swami when a book fell on his head in a shop (it was Peggy Mason’s “Embodiment of Love”) He told us how he met Mother Teresa in an orphanage in Eastern Europe, while she was there on a visit: she kissed him and told him that “None of us can do great things, only small things with great love”... .What a powerful and humbling message. Tony spoke with much warmth and humour, and it was a perfect end to the day.

British Humanitarian Aid started their work in Ukraine in 1995, alongside the convoys of humanitarian aid that they were running to Romania and The Balkans. Since 2000, all BHA’s efforts have been directed towards alleviating some of the hardship, for the poor and handicapped, in the Chernihiv Region of Ukraine.

Among others, a children’s hospital at Nizhin, two foster homes in Chernihiv and Nizhin, and two homes for very young children at Priluki are also supported, along with homes for the elderly, several hospitals, a couple of prisons and two rehabilitation centres. Where they can, they also support some state schools, especially those that distribute aid to nearby villages. Another recycling opportunity!

BHA recycles unwanted goods from the UK to Ukraine. Please visit their website for a list of items needed: www.britishhumanitarianaid.co.uk Compiled by Pierrette Poirot, R6 spiritual coordinator