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Grand Open House, Interfaith Peace event marks SRMD UK’s festive community celebration

Grand Open House, Interfaith Peace event marks SRMD UK’s festive community celebration

The Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur (SRMD) UK London Spiritual Centre celebrated Diwali with a Grand Open House event and Interfaith Peace Programme recently, bringing together a diverse community of over 350 attendees in a joyous celebration of lights, festivity and unity.

The event helped to foster connections among people of various backgrounds and transcend cultural and religious boundaries. Attendees engaged in enriching conversations, promoting understanding and strengthening the spirit of unity.

Commenting on the success of the event, Councillor Chris Myers, Mayor of Hertsmere shared, “I am absolutely blown away on how amazing it has been, it has got a wonderful family feel about it, everyone is so welcoming, it’s exactly what a community event should be about; this is social cohesion at its absolute best.”

The Diwali Open House showcased a variety of vibrant family friendly activities reflecting the diverse and rich traditions that make Diwali special. Guests were captivated by the architectural beauty of the SRMD London Spiritual Centre where guided tours provided insights into profound teachings and principles followed by SMRD UK. Families, children and members of the local community crafted heartfelt messages of love and unity through Diwali card-making activities, made traditional sweets and created vibrant rangoli designs, adding a splash of colour to the festivities. Innovative activities such as an Indian Clothes Draping workshop provided an opportunity for participants to immerse themselves in the rich cultural heritage of India through the art of draping sarees. The Diwali Open House also held a Bollywood Dance Workshop where the energy and lively music created an atmosphere of celebration, bringing smiles to the faces of all who participated.

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"We were thrilled to see the enthusiasm and diverse participation in our Diwali Open House," said Mayur Mehta, President at SRMD UK. "The Special Interfaith Event allowed us to bridge gaps and build connections, fostering a sense of community that resonates with the essence of Diwali."

The event not only provided a platform for cultural exchange but also emphasised the importance of community and togetherness. Gracing the festive event were various representatives from the interfaith community and dignitaries including Samani Malay Pragya, Samani Neeti Pragya, Reverend Patrick Moriarty DL, Hertfordshire Lieutenancy, Cllr Chris Myers, Mayor of Hertsmere, Cllr Alpha Collins, Deputy Mayor of Elstree and Borehamwood, Father Andrew Burton, Church of St Peter, Bushey Heath, Barry Shooter, Chair Bushey Interfaith Forum, Yogesh Joshi, Vice Chair of Watford Interfaith Association and Nemubhai Chandaria OBE, Chairman, OneJain.

Recognising the importance of all communities in creating a better world, Patrick Moriarty DL, Hertfordshire Lieutenancy shared, “Any event that opens up with open-hearted hospitality and brings us into each other's sacred and communal spaces always has an impact. It builds friendships and when we hit difficult times, it's those personal connections, more than the abstract statements, that keep people bonded together and take us through those difficult times.”

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SMRD believes that acts of charity and selfless service are intrinsic to all faiths and Diwali amplifies this tradition as it emphasises the importance of caring for others and helping those who are suffering. The Diwali celebrations shed light on the various volunteering activities taking place at the SRMD London Spiritual Centre, through Shrimad Rajchandra Love and Care (SRLC) initiative. Regular projects include a community kitchen cooking hot meals for the homeless, a Winter Essentials Drive providing warm clothing to support those in Hertsmere and central London, ‘Cuppa & Catch up’ fortnightly coffee sessions to combat loneliness, improve mental well-being and provide a warm space during the cost-of-living crisis as well as various initiatives to support refugees and helping to protect those displaced during times of crisis.

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