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The unity of the human race is the central teaching of Baha'u'llah, the prophet founder of the Bahá’í Faith. A growing number of people are becoming aware of the revelation of Baha'u'llah and His spiritual and social teachings. These include the imperative necessity of international peace and security, the resolution of racial and ethnic conflicts, the promotion of equality between men and women, the need for economic justice, and access to education for all. The Bahá’í Faith is now a way of life for more than six million people in some 236 nations and territories. Positive social change is, from a Bahá’í perspective, a challenge that requires the world's disparate peoples to regard each other as one human family, and to be genuinely concerned for the prosperity and well-being of every member of that family.
The Bahá’í community of York although small in numbers, is diverse, vibrant and very much involved in various kinds of services to the general population of York. The community not only consists of British born Bahá’ís, but also has members from other countries that come together in the spirit of unity, love and fellowship. The community activities include children's classes, study circles, devotional meetings, and public events. The Bahá’í Faith is a religion without priesthood and therefore an elected body called ‘Local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of York' guides the Bahá’í activities.
The Hindu community in York is multilingual, and represents both North Indian and South Indian traditions of worship. Apart from a few business families, the majority of the Hindus are professionals. Hindus in York face the disadvantage of not having a place of worship where they can congregate and celebrate their festivals or offer weekly prayers. They have to travel to Leeds, Bradford or Leicester on such occasions. On any auspicious or special event e.g. weddings, engagements, births or deaths, when they need a priest to perform certain rites, they have to hire one from temples outside York.
Judaism is a monotheistic religion. Jews believe there is one God who created and rules the world. This God is omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing) and omnipresent (in all places at all times). God is also just and merciful. It is believed that each person is created in the image of one God. Therefore, all people are created equal. Furthermore, our likeness to God is in our intellectual ability to understand. Judaism believes that people have freewill and are responsible for the choices they make. When the Israelites accepted the Law from God at Mount Sinai, they committed themselves to following a way of living which regulates both how they worship God and how they treat other people. The Torah, which means ‘teaching' is the primary text of Judaism and is God's revealed instructions to the Jewish People.
The history of Jews in York is dominated by the massacre in 1190 when about 150 Jews died at Clifford's Tower, many at their own hands rather than convert to Christianity. Following the readmission into England in 1655, few Jews settled in York until late in the nineteenth century. Anti-Semitism in Russia and Eastern Europe resulted in many Jews arriving at eastern seaboard ports like Hull and Grimsby. A few settled in York, forming a synagogue (on Aldwark) in 1892 and a Poor Relief Society (on Gillygate). Although the synagogue closed in 1975, according to the 2001 census about 200 Jews now live in York. An Anglo-Israel Friendship Society, which was founded with the support of Archbishop Stuart Blanch, currently exists.
Buddhist Meditation & Retreat Centre. Madhyamaka Kadampa Meditation Centre is home to a Mahayana Buddhist community of lay and ordained practitioners. The centre, only fifteen miles from the ancient city of York, nestles beneath the beautiful Yorkshire Wolds close to the market town of Pocklington.
The centre is an ideal place to visit if you would like to learn about meditation. We offer evening meditation classes as well as introductory day courses, relaxing Weekend Meditation Retreats and longer in-depth courses / retreats, all of which offer insights into how to develop a meditation practice.
Islam is a monotheistic faith, one of the Abrahamic religions, and the world's second-largest religion. Muslims believe that God revealed his divine word directly to mankind through many prophets and that Muhammad was the final prophet of Islam. Muslims believe that God (or, in Arabic, Allāh; also in Aramaic, Alaha) revealed his direct word for mankind to Muhammad and other prophets. Muslims believe that Muhammad is the last or the seal of the prophets. Thus, his preaching's for humankind will last until Qiyamah (The Day of the Resurrection). Muslims assert that the main written record of revelation to humankind is the Qur'an which they believe to be flawless, immutable, and the final revelation of God to humanity.
There are now over 1500 Muslims living in York from many different backgrounds and nationalities. A significant number are British with relatives coming from Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Arab countries, Turkey and Afghanistan. There are also a considerable number of international Muslim students studying in the city. The main mosque in York is on Bull Lane. Prayers take place here five times every day as well as the Friday prayers for which the mosque is usually full to overflowing. Children's teaching, a women's circle, mothers and toddlers and a men's study circle also take place at the mosque. Muslims in York work and study in many sectors and are also involved in fund raising, social action and charity work. Recently dinners have been held to raise money for the survivors of the earthquake in Pakistan and Kashmir and two mosque open days have taken place which have been widely attended by the citizens of York.
The principles of Sikhism are based on the teachings of the Ten Sikh Gurus (1469 AD-1708 AD). Guru Nanak Devji, the first Guru laid down the fundamentals of a Universal God and Brotherhood of man. Guru Nanak emphasised the need for man's devotion to the Timeless Almighty. The Guru also gave his followers the concept of a free kitchen (Langar) to break the caste system. Each of the succeeding nine Gurus added something definitive or dynamic to enable it to meet the needs of changing times and new problems. The word ‘Sikh' means a Seeker of Truth and a learner of disciple. A Sikh is any person who believes in one God, The Ten Sikh Gurus and the Sikh Scripture, The Guru Granth Sahib. Sikhism believes in a casteless egalitarian society which gives equal rights to men and women. It believes in universal love and peace and leads one to the path of God's realisation. Sikh ethics are: earning an honest living, leading a disciplined life, sharing with others and meditating on God's name.
There are several Sikh families living in York and most of the Sikh community activities have taken place at York St John. In addition, families meet together in their homes to celebrate festivals and to observe Sikh customs and practice. It has recently been agreed that regular prayer (Darbar) will happen once a month at York St John. Other events that have taken place include: Gurdwara day celebrations where staff and students at YSJ were given the flavour of readings from the holy book, and an open forum was held on Sikhism; Diwali celebrations where 200 people from the local community gathered for story telling of Diwali, prayers, hymn singing, dancing and fireworks followed by a meal; and lectures and exhibitions on Sikhism and its holy book have also been held on the campus.