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One of the first people to practice as a Buddhist in Cornwall was Bill Picard. Bill was a Zen Buddhist who arrived in Penwith in the ‘70’s and lived in a tent on the cliffs for two years before settling in Mousehole where a community of practitioners gathered around him from far and near. Also during the 1970’s, Tibetan Lamas Trungpa Rinpoche and Lama Chime Rinpoche visited, seeking a site to be a centre, which in time became founded at Samye-Ling in Scotland. Today, increasingly, people practice meditation both as Buddhists and non-buddhists all over the county and Teachers visit from all lineages and traditions.
The Baha’i community in Cornwall does not have any holy places as such, but does have a long and vibrant history in the county dating circa 1910. Over the last 100 years Baha’is have lived and worked in every district of the County and there are notable places of historical interest, such as the birth place of Daniel Jenkyn, the first Cornish Baha’i, in Bowling Green Terrace, St Ives, and the many places associated with Bernard Leach, the potter, who was an active Baha’i from the 1930′s up until his passing. Although there will one day be Baha’i centres, Baha’is currently meet in suitable venues in their localities.
The many and various Saints to whom the Churches are dedicated in this Celtic land, speak of the centuries where Christians have brought the Good News of Jesus to the people who live in this peninsula, where the sea constantly reminds us of a God who created the world.
Christianity can be experienced in many traditions and the delight of our faith is found by the sharing of the inner desire to worship with each other, in the old and not so old buildings which serve communities as their ‘House of God’.
Judaism as a religious tradition goes back to the times of Abraham over 5,000 years ago but has changed dynamically ever since then. About three and a half thousand years go there was a major change in that, according to tradition, Moses our Teacher received the Torah from G-d. Ever since that Torah has been at the heart of the Jewish people and remains so today – even if you don’t believe in G-d.
Judaism has been much more about what you do as opposed to what you believe and to be Jewish for most people is to belong to a family, whether nuclear or extended. At the heart of Jewish life is human interaction and some find Judaism much less about the “spiritual” and more about the ‘material’. As a famous Rebbe said: do not look after your own body and another man’s soul.
As Jews we don’t believe you have to be happy to be Jewish but if you are Jewish then that is your way to happiness and fulfilment. The Cornish Jewish community is a proud inheritor and bearer of this ancient religious tradition in the galut.
The Cornwall Islamic Community Centre is run by the Cornwall Islamic Trust. After 15 years the trust has purchased Quenchwell Chapel at Carnon Downs near Truro and is converting it for purpose use.
The Cornwall Islamic Centre hold`s a number of weekly and annual events including weekly prayers, Sunday school, women’s groups and the annual Eid celebrations. The centre is also responsible for the cultural needs of Muslim marriages and deaths.
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. Muslims often refer to the mosque by its Arabic name, Masjid. The word “mosque” in English refers to all types of buildings dedicated for Islamic worship, although there is a distinction in Arabic between the smaller, privately owned mosque and the larger, “collective” mosque, which has more community and social amenities.
The mosque serves as a place where Muslims can come together for salat (prayer) as well as a centre for information, education, and dispute settlement. The Imam leads the prayer.
For more information visit the Cornish Asian – Islamic Community Centre
Photo by Alan Simkins / CC BY-SA 2.0
Pagans recognise a divine principle in the natural world, which is seen as sacred, and have commonly held beliefs and ethics which guide them “to live decent, well-balanced and spiritually meaningful lives in tune with the natural world.”1 Paganism is a collection of paths – similar to the way that there are different Christian traditions. In Cornwall many simply regard themselves as Pagans, but there are also those who call themselves Hedge-witches, or Druids, for example. Although there is no central authority, no sacred book and Pagans do not seek converts “… a system of religion calling itself paganism has become one of the fastest growing (if not the fastest growing) in Britain today…”2 In Cornwall Paganism is probably the third largest faith community after Christianity and Buddhism. Pagans in Cornwall, as elsewhere, celebrate the seasons and cycles of the natural world, often at ancient sites, such as Boscawen-un stone circle.3
1. Pete Jennings, “Pagan Paths”, 2002, page 9
2. Professor Ronald Hutton, “The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles”, 1991, page 330.
3. The Cornish Ancient Sites Protection Network began as a Pagan initiative and now co-ordinates regular working parties looking after archaeological sites.