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Climate change is a global pressing issue. It affects everyone, irrespective of their religious beliefs. In this film, viewpoints on the climate crisis are explored and we hear about how different faith communities are coming together and focusing on what binds them together to help combat some of the problems the world is facing. The film features representatives from Faith for the Climate, Islamic Relief and Christian Aid.

Check out our other Climate Change films from the series:

https://www.truetube.co.uk/resource/climate-anxiety

https://www.truetube.co.uk/resource/climate-change-buddhism

Climate Change: Multi-Faith Views

 

Shanon:  Today we have set up an interfaith stall in lower marsh in London in front of the offices of Islamic Relief UK and Christian Aid, who are both members of Faith for the Climate. They are part of the network with the support of our other members as well, from Buddhist, Hindu and Sikh and other Christian backgrounds and Muslim backgrounds. And we're trying to get people to understand that rich governments and big polluters in the world need to do more to support the communities in the worlds that are suffering from the worst impacts of climate change, especially since they've done the least to cause it. So this campaign is called Make Polluters Pay, and it's about paying up for the loss and damage that's suffered in these other communities in the world. And so often in the news headlines, we see how faith can become a divisive force in the world. But what we know is a network that's doing work on the climate emergency is that there are people of every single faith who want to come together for purposes like this to save the planet for environmental justice. And they come based on different teachings in their faith traditions. So the Buddhists in our network talk about their belief in the interconnectedness of all life. The Hindu based traditions talk about non-violence. The Muslims will talk about the need to respect balance or misran in creation or the trusteeship of God's creation. The Christians will talk about good stewardship. The Jews will talk about tikkun olam or the need to repair the world. And lots of pagans in our network will basically worship nature. When everyone comes together and shares these different teachings, they realize that even though we come from quite different backgrounds, we do have a common purpose. I actually used to work with an oil and gas company in Malaysia, and this is how I saw firsthand how the fossil fuel industry causes environmental damage and then tries to wash its hands off it. There is a concept in Islam that's really important for me personally, which is torba repentance, and there's always hope if you repent. So actually doing climate justice and human rights work, for me, it's now a kind of repentance from having been part of the fossil fuel industry. There is a tradition about the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him in Islam, and it's when a companion of his comes to him a little bit distress and asks him, Please help me to think about sin and righteousness. I want to know the difference. And the prophet jabs him in the heart three times and says, Ask yourself, ask your heart three times. The prophet says that he explains, Sin is that which disturbs your heart. Even though other people say something might be lawful and righteousness is you acting on that, even though other people tell you you don't need to act on it. And this is known as the fatwa or the ruling of the heart. And that is something I hold very close to me. If my heart tells me something is wrong, I know that the prophet says I should listen to it. How could you possibly love God if you don't love your fellow human beings? It's as simple as that. And what does love mean? Love means helping people when they need your help. In the Abrahamic faiths, it's about caring for the stranger, the visitor, the poor person, the orphan, the person in need. That's love. How can you love God if you don't do that? And if we think about what the climate crisis does, it actually makes people lose their homes, lose their jobs, lose their families, lose their health. If you think about how they have to deal with extreme heat and drought and floods and the illness that comes with that, if they're facing that, how could we possibly love God if we don't love them and help them? So one quote that I've come across in my line of work really inspires me. It's from Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who was an American rabbi who actually supported the civil rights movement there. He marched alongside Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. So this was in itself is a beautiful example of interfaith friendship. But what Rabbi Heschel said and he was talking in the context of racism and the Holocaust was few are guilty, but all are responsible. And I think that is the way we need to think of what we can do in the climate crisis as well. We all have a role to play. If you know that you are in a position where you have more power and privilege, how can you use more of that power and more of that privilege for climate justice, especially to help people who have less power and less privilege and are suffering more from the climate crisis than you are? So this is why whatever we do, whatever choices we make, won't just affect people on the other side of the world. In the global South, we will be affected to all of us together. If not today, then at some point in the very near future. And this is why it's important for all of us to take action together.

 

Alaa:       As a muslim or those who follow the Muslim faith. We strongly believe in environmentalism. We believe that it's rooted in our tradition. It's rooted in scripture. We looked at the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him as a guiding source for for us in terms of emulating his characters and his attitude to things. And he really valued the environment. And so it's very important for us as Muslims to act on that. We believe that God places on his earth as stewards to look after his green planet. And so that is what inspires me in this role. As I work for Islamic Relief, it inspires me as a muslim and as a worker to do more in this space, because I believe that is something that it serves my religion but also the greater good for the planet.

 

Lydia:     So I think it's important as a Christian to look after the planet because God gave it to us as part of a creation and gave us a role to be a steward over this. It's part about also about showing love to each other and to all elements of nature. And that's part of our faith. We are called Jesus showed us that example to show love to everyone, every neighbor, every individual, everything in the world, every living creature. I think it's everyone's responsibility to look after the planet. And we each can do it in our own individual lives and our own actions. But also it's really important to recognize that governments and companies which have larger power have a larger responsibility. They're global and international. They're big organizations with lots of power, and they can change the structures of our whole world.

 

Alaa:       I think working with other faiths is a fantastic way of bringing people together in a neutral space. For many people, we come from all walks of life. We may believe different things. We might we may feel, you know, follow different deities. But actually, at the heart of it, we believe in some very fundamental principles. It's wonderful to be here today on the sunny, really bright day, working with colleagues across faiths to come together around a combined message. It's great to feel that we're doing something to combat the climate crisis in our own way, as well as just come together around positive action.

 

 

Shanon:  And I wake up in the morning and I come across news about some climate disaster in the world or another, you know, the damage that private jets are causing or the Arctic sea ice melting or wildfires somewhere and people dying. I get really hopeless and terrified and helpless. But when I come out and do things like this and I realize that there are people around me, even people of different faith traditions, but we connect so well because we are so passionate about this issue. I feel inspired and I feel energized. I feel like it's going to be a challenge, but we can do this if we do this together. If you are anxious about climate change, talk about it. There is actually value in making your feelings known and talking to people who feel the same way that you do and finding support with them. And then you realize that it doesn't stop there. You can do things together. You can talk about this with more people and then you can start talking to anyone your local MP, local councillors, local faith leaders, schools, businesses. There are so many charities like Friends of the Earth or Christian Aid or Cafod that have local chapters as well that you could get involved in. And then we realise that when we get together we can do things from very small local actions to the really big stuff that's about changing the system at large and we can do it together.

 

Climate Change: Multi-Faith Views

Video length - 08.13
Published date - Sep 2023
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4
Downloadable resources

Holy Cribs: The Mandir

Pranathi gives TrueTube a tour of The Shree Ghanapathy Mandir in South London, explaining its most important features and her beliefs as a Hindu.

Component 1: The study of religions: beliefs, teaching and practices: Hinduism - Different forms of worship: puja and arati - The rituals of puja and arati and their significance for Hindus.

Area of Study 2 – Hinduism - Section 3: Living the Hindu Life - The nature and purpose of prayer in the temple and the home: the nature, features of use and purpose of the different forms of worship, including meditation, puja, havan, darshan, arti, bhajan, kirtan and japa, with reference to interpretations of Bhagavad Gita 6.44–47; divergent understandings of the benefits for Hindus of having different forms of worship.

Component Group 1 - Beliefs and teachings & Practices - Hinduism - Approaching deity •Different Hindu understandings of the role,forms and importance of the following types of worship: •• Havan or homa •• Puja •• Meditation •• Japa •• Bhajan or kirtan •• Darshan • The nature and importance of sacred places and spaces for Hindu worship: •• Temples •• Shrines •• Sites of pilgrimage •• Outdoors •• Hills and rivers

2.1 Unit 1 PART A - Hinduism - Core beliefs, teachings and practices - Practices Worship  Features and importance of daily puja in the home: (Bhagavad Gita 3:19, 4:38)  Features and importance of congregational puja in the mandir (including devotions to the murti, arti and havan)  Diversity in Vaishnavite and Shaivite worship  Significance of bhakti  Role, importance and features of pilgrimage to Varanasi

2.3 Component 3 (Route A) - Option 2: Hinduism - Places of worship in Britain and elsewhere ➢ Features and importance of daily puja in the home ➢ Features and importance of congregational puja in the mandir ➢ Diversity of views and practices: Vaishnava and Shaiva bhakti ➢ Hindu mandirs in Britain compared to those in India ➢ Features and importance of worship at outdoor shrines Worship/meditation ➢ The significance of different forms of worship/meditation; havan, puja, arati, darshan Bhagavad Gita 9.26, bhajan/kirtan, japa: Bhagavad Gita 3.19, 4.38, 6.11–12 ➢ The importance of focuses of worship and representations of the divine; one god, other deities, holy land, plants and animals: Bhagavad Gita 16.24 ➢ Honouring Gurus and elders

Holy Cribs: The Mandir

Pranathi: Welcome to the Shree Ghanapathy Temple. My name is Pranathi and I'm a Hindu. This is a temple or mandir and my dad is one of the priests here, so it's like a second home to me. We come here to worship Brahman, the one supreme spirit which we believe lives in all things. We worship many forms of Brahman, but this temple is especially dedicated to Lord Ganesha. Traditional mandirs usually have a gateway or a tower called a gopuram, which lets you know you're entering a special place. You may also find a statue of an animal or god outside. This is Ganesha, the elephant headed god of wisdom. This is the normal entrance for the mandir. The word mandir comes from the word 'house' in the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit. We think of the temple as a home for the deities, what we call the gods and goddesses that are inside. When we come into the temple, we respect it like you would when entering the home of a very important person. The entrance area of the mandir is called an ardhamandapa. It's where we take off our shoes and leave them in these racks. This is so we can keep the inside of the building as clean as possible, as another sign of respect. Also, some girls and women like to cover their heads when they come into the mandir. As people enter, they will often ring a bell to announce their arrival, just like you would ring on someone's doorbell.

On special occasions, we will open the main doors of the temple and you'll often see people bending down to touch the steps before they enter. In India, it's tradition that we touch the feet of those we respect, and the step represents the feet of the deities. By the door, this is Bhairavar. He is the protector or guardian of our temple. This is the mandapa, the main prayer hall of the mandir. All around the mandapa, there are deities. Each one has a shrine or vimana, which is a small area of worship. A statue of a deity is called a murti. We treat them as honoured guests, and so they are washed, decorated and given offerings of food every day, as signs of respect to the gods or goddesses they represent. I said outside that we worship one supreme spirit called Brahman who was a part of all things. So each one of the deities is Brahman in human or animal form. They show us many different ways to understand Brahman.

 

This mandir is dedicated to Ganesha, but most mandirs will have a murti of Ganesha near the door. He is a very popular deity because he removes obstacles or problems in people's lives. This is Shiva with his wife, Parvati. We also have murtis of Vishnu and we believe he has come to Earth in different forms. So here he is, as Krishna with Radha. And as Rama with Sita. Puja is the Hindu name for worship or prayer.

A tray is often laid out with various objects to help Hindus in their worship. Fruit, rice, flowers, water, a lamp, holy ash and kumkum powder, incense, a bell. There will be items to touch, taste, smell, hear and look at. All five senses are involved as a symbol that the whole person is devoted to the deity. Prasad is food like fruit, nuts or sweets that is offered to the murtis and then shared out after the puja. We believe that the deities bless the food during the puja. And so if we eat the prasad we will be blessed too. Take a sniff. Incense is burned in mandirs to purify the air, hiding any nasty smells. It also creates an atmosphere that always makes me think of puja. So it helps me to get in the right frame of mind to pray. The main shrine at the front of the mandapa is called a garbha griha, which means womb house. It symbolises the womb or heart of the body because we believe it gives life to the whole mandir. Inside the garbha griha will be a murti of the main deity that the mandir is dedicated to; the deity that most people come to this mandir to worship, which in our case is Ganesha. There is a space or corridor around the garbha griha called the pradakshina. This is so people can walk clockwise all around it. It shows that just like the shrine is at the centre of the circle I'm making as I walk around it, Ganesha is at the centre of my life. Directly above the garbha griha, some mandirs have a spire on the roof called a shikara, or they might even have several shikaras above all the different shrines. They symbolise the Himalayas, the mountains in India, where the deities were believed to live. In fact, shikara means 'mountain peak'. Some mandirs have flags, and the colour of the flags show which deity the mandir is dedicated to. So orange for Shiva and his family, which includes his son Ganesha; and red and white stripes for Swaminarayan.

 

Our priests traditionally come from the Brahmin varna, the top varna or caste in the Indian class system. He's called a pujari, someone who leads puja. This is the arti ceremony. The pujari uses a lamp with five wicks to symbolise the five traditional elements of earth, air, fire, water and space. He waves it in front of the murtis while chanting a prayer. And people ring bells and blow a shankha. A shankha or conch is a huge seashell. And if you blow into it properly, it makes... That sound. The lamp is blessed by the deities during the arti prayer, and then it's taken round the mandapa for us to pass our hands over the flames and then touch our heads to show that we are accepting the deity's blessing.

Mandirs are usually full of decorations and symbols. This one is called the Om, which represents Brahman, the one unseen spirit. The lotus flower grows out of a muddy riverbed to float on the surface, looking all beautiful. So it symbolises that we should try to be pure, even when the world around us is often polluted. And the swastika which represents the sun and God's blessings. Although this one is often misunderstood because it was used by the Nazis in the Second World War, it's a shame because the symbol of blessing was turned into a symbol of hate. But that's not what it means to me. Many mandirs have a hall or other rooms attached that can be used for meetings, education, festivals and lots of other events. And that's it. Thanks for coming to the Shree Ghanapathy Temple. Don't forget your shoes. Thanks for coming, guys. Bye.

 

Holy Cribs: The Mandir

Video length - 08.24
Published date - May 2023
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4
Downloadable resources
Holy Cribs: The Vihara
A young Buddhist called Hivin welcomes TrueTube to his Vihara in West London. We’re given the full tour while learning about Buddhist beliefs and worship, and even get to see the monks who live there.

Component 1: The study of religions - beliefs, teaching and practices: Buddhism - The nature, use and importance of Buddhist places of worship - Temples, shrines, monasteries (viharas), halls for meditation or learning (gompas) and their key features including Buddha rupa, artefacts and offerings.

Area of Study 3 – Buddhism - Section 3: Living the Buddhist Life - Features of Buddhist places of worship: the divergent nature, history and design of Buddhist places of worship, including temples, gompas, viharas, shrines in Theravada, Mahayana and Triratna Buddhism; how and why the places of worship are used, including reference to the shrine room, shrine facing east, and the library, showing the importance learning, including reference to the Kimsila Sutta. Puja: The nature and purpose of puja in the vihara and the home, including reference to Mangala Sutta; examples of the different types; when each type might be used and why; the importance of having different types of worship and their use in different Buddhist contexts.

Component Group 1–Beliefs and teachings & Practices - Buddhism-Practices - Sacred and significant places and spaces for Buddhists •The importance ,features and functions of: •• Temples •• Gompas and viharas •• Shrines •• Sites of pilgrimage •• Artefacts and offerings •• Retreats •The events that take place in different significant places, including Bodh Gayaand the Deer Park at Sarnath •The meaning and significance of key artefacts and offerings made at different significant places,includingthedifferentimages of the Buddha and his hand positions( mudras) • The purpose and form of retreats • The importance of undertaking pilgrimages • Common and divergent emphases placed on significant places and spaces by different Buddhist groups, including the role and importance of retreats •Different interpretations and emphases given to sources of wisdom and authority by different Buddhist groups

2.1 Unit 1 PART A - Part A - Buddhism - Core beliefs, teachings and practices - Practices Places of 'Worship' and Puja  The importance of features and functions of a vihara/home shrine  Diversity of practices in Theravada and Mahayana puja (Buddha, buddhas, bodhisattvas, mudras, mantras, mandalas)  Dana (giving) – opportunity to make offerings of food to monks.  Examples of the work of sanghas in Wales (Swansea, Cardiff, Raglan)

2.3 Component 3 (Route A) - Option 1: Buddhism - Practices - Buddhist places of worship in Britain and elsewhere ➢ The importance of features and functions of temples and viharas; statues, shrines, stupa and meditation area. Mahayana and Theravada Buddhist temples in Britain compared to those in countries where Buddhism is widely practised. ➢ Offerings: food, light, flowers, incense, offerings of food to monks (dana)

Holy Cribs: The Vihara

 

Hivin:     Hello and welcome to the London Buddhist Vihara. My name is Hivin and I'm a Buddhist. My religion is called Buddhism and our holy building is often called a temple, but the proper name for it is a vihara. And I'm going to show you around. Come on in. The first thing we do is take off our shoes and leave them on this rack. We do this to keep the inside of the building as clean as possible, as a symbol of purity. A vihara is a Buddhist monastery, a place where Buddhist monks live and we do have monks living here. The proper name for a monk is a bhikkhu. Bhikkhus are people who have decided to devote themselves into a spiritual life of simplicity and meditation. Come with me. This is a shrine room. It's the most important part of a vihara or any Buddhist temple. We come here to do puja, which means worship, and to meditate in front of a shrine which contains a statue of the Buddha. The Buddha is not a god. He was a man named Siddhartha Gautama, a royal prince who lived in Nepal about 2500 years ago. The title Buddha means enlightened one or awakened one because we believe that he discovered the truth about the world, how to live a happier and better life. We follow the Buddhist teachings, what we call the dhamma, and we give offerings of flowers, candles, incense, fruit and rice to a statue to show our respect for him. During puja, everyone sits on the floor as a sign of humility and equality. There might be clean sheets spread out on the floor or mats or cushions for people to sit on, so we are comfortable and ready to begin. We often chant words or phrases called sutras, which come from our holy books. This helps us to get into the right frame of mind for meditation, which is a very important part of Buddhism.

 

Meditation is concentrating or thinking deeply, and there are lots of different ways to do it. Meditation helps us to learn how our minds work so we can be like the Buddha and see the world for what it is and how to be happier. I can't control what goes on out there, but I can learn to control what goes on in here. We use bells to start or end a meditation and they can come in lots of different shapes and sizes. Like this bowl shaped one here. These are used because if I hit it. The sound goes on for ages, getting quieter and quieter, and I love it. It really helps me calm down and concentrate on my meditation. Buddhism has a lot of symbols to help us remember the dhamma, the Buddhist teachings, and to help us meditate. The eight spoked wheel is probably the most important and the best known. It's called the Dhamma Wheel, and it represents the noble Eightfold Path; eight principles that the Buddha taught us to live by: Right Understanding; Right Thought; Right Speech; Right Action; Right Livelihood; Right Effort; Right Mindfulness; and Right Concentration. This is a stupa. Really big ones are put up in places that are special to Buddhists, like where the Buddha was born or died or visited. Sometimes there are holy books or holy objects inside. For instance, things that used to belong to the Buddha, like clippings of his hair. Little stupas like this may also have something inside, but the shape itself has lots of different meanings. The eight rings around the top are another reminder of the Eightfold Path, which points towards the sky to symbolise the journey towards enlightenment. Which is when you know the truth about the world like the Buddha did. Some

 

Buddhists use a prayer wheel. It has sutras, words from a holy books, written around the outside and you hold the handle and spin it around. As it turns, the words are spread out into the air to bless everyone around. You sometimes get big ones to touch the walls or even turned by windmills or water wheels. Sutras are also written or printed onto flags which are hung up outside so that the wind can carry the blessings away to everyone. And we also have the stripey flag. The colours all have a meaning. Blue stands for peace and compassion. Yellow for the dhamma. Red for blessing. White for purity. Orange for wisdom. And all five together stand for unity. Mandala means circle or centre. Some Buddhists use these patterns to help them meditate. They are full of symbols with lots of different meanings. You see lotus flowers a lot in Buddhist art. Lotus flowers symbolise purity because they grow out of the mud at the bottom of lakes and rivers and float above it all, looking beautiful. It reminds us to be pure in an impure world. Welcome to our library. We have lots of holy books and books about the holy books. The most important are called the Tripitaka because that's where we find the teachings of the Buddha. My favourite is called the Dhammapada. These books were originally written in Pali, which was a language that used to be spoken during Buddha's time. And traditionally they were written on palm leaves. So we get these old odd shaped books with long, thin pages. And this is our meeting hall. We have lots of events here, like festivals and fundraisers for charity. Everything we do in the vihara is to help the Sangha, the community, and to support the bhikkhus who teach us and help us to become better Buddhists. Thanks for coming. You're welcome anytime. Bye.

 

Holy Cribs: The Vihara

Video length - 06.38
Published date - May 2023
Keystage(s) - 2, 3 and 4
Downloadable resources

Zack welcomes TrueTube to a North London Reform Synagogue for a tour of all its main features. Taking us from the door to the Ark, he talks about his beliefs and what happens during a service at the synagogue. 

Holy Cribs: The Synagogue

Zack:      Welcome to Alias Reformed Synagogue. My name is Zack. I'm Jewish, and my religion is called Judaism. This is where I come to worship. And it's often called a synagogue, which is a Greek word, meaning assembly, because this is where we all get together on the Shabbat, our holy day, which is on a Saturday. But Jewish people are more likely to call it a shul, which is a Yiddish word for school, or a Beit Knesset, which is Hebrew for House of gathering or Beit to Phila, which means House of Prayer or Beit Midrash, which means House of Learning. We have lots of different names for this building because it's used for lots of different things by the local community. In most schools, men are asked to cover their heads as a sign of respect for God. They usually wear a skullcap like this called a yarmuk or. Some shawls ask women to cover their heads as well. And in synagogues that would call themselves orthodox or conservative, married women cover their heads whenever they are outside the house with a hat, scarf or wig. Unmarried women often choose to cover their heads as well. This is the main room called the Sanctuary, where we have our services on the Shabbat. All synagogues are built to face the city of Jerusalem, where there used to be a huge temple. It was the center of Jewish life and people used to travel hundreds of miles to worship and celebrate festivals there. It was destroyed by the Romans nearly 2000 years ago, and only the Western Wall remains. So our synagogues are full of symbols and reminders of the temple we've lost. Orthodox and conservative Jews will separate men and women during services so that they are concentrating on worship rather than on each other. Women often sit upstairs in a gallery or balcony or downstairs in an area separated from the men by a barrier or screen called America. In a reformed synagogue like this, men and women sit together. Some Jews like to wear a special shawl called a tallit to pray. It can be quite difficult to get on because I've got to get this bit at the back has these fringes called Sits It, which represent the 613 Commandments in our holy book, which is called the Torah. And the Torah is kept in here. This is the Ark or our on Kadesh. It's the most important part of any synagogue because the Torah scrolls are kept in here when they're not being used in this jewel on the wall above the ark. We have some words from the Book of Psalms in Hebrew. Other schools will often have two plaques. These symbolize the original Ten Commandments, which were carved onto two stone tablets. According to the Torah. Moses brought them down from the top of Mount Sinai, where he was given the commandments by God. Here we have the first ten letters of the Hebrew alphabet to represent the Ten Commandments. There's also a lamp called the Tam ed, which means eternal light. And it's always lit to symbolize God's presence. Back in the day, it would have been an oil lamp. But these days it's usually electric. And the lamp in the temple would have looked like this, only much bigger. An oil lamp would seven branches called a menorah, and many shawls will have one. It's often used as a symbol for Judaism, but the star of David is probably the most common Jewish symbol. It's named after King David, the most famous Jewish king who killed a giant called Goliath when he was just a boy. We use these symbols to decorate our shores, and we might also use pictures or patterns of plants or trees. But you won't often find any pictures of people or animals. This is because we worship one God who cannot be seen, and so we won't usually have any pictures of God or anything that could be mistaken for God. During a service, the doors of the ark will be opened so that everyone can see the scrolls inside. In some shawls, there might be a curtain called a prophet over the doors. So that will be drawn back as well. The scrolls are treated with maximum respect like they're important people and are dressed when they're not being used. They're wrapped in a cloth cover called a mantle. A metal breastplate might be hung on the front to represent the breastplate that was worn by the temple priests in Jerusalem. And the walls are topped with decorations called nym, which means pomegranates because they're often made to look like pomegranates. People used to believe that there were 613 seeds in each pomegranate, one for each of the commandments in the Torah. During the service, one of the scrolls is chosen, undressed and carried over to a big reading desk on a raised area called a Bimmer. It's always at the front or the middle of the room so that everyone can hear the words of the Torah when they're being read out loud. Two scrolls are in Hebrew. They are written out by hand and made of natural materials. The scroll itself is made of animal skins, the ink from oil and charcoal and the rollers from wood. When we read the Torah, we follow the words with a pointer like this called a yard that so we don't damage the scroll with sweaty or greasy fingers. The word Yad means hand because the tip is often shaped to look like a hand with a pointy finger. Hebrew is read from right to left, the opposite direction to English. The rabbi will then give a sermon or talk about the reading. The word rabbi means teacher because that's their job to teach us about the Torah and how to live as Jews. The rabbi will often run midweek classes at the show and also spends a lot of time giving help and advice to the community. In Orthodox synagogues, the rabbi doesn't usually organize the service that's done by someone called a Hazan, which means singer because they lead the prayers and hymns in orthodox and conservative schools. The Rabbi and Hazan will always be men in reform schools. Both the Rabbi and Hazan can lead and organize the service in these synagogues. They can be men or women. At the end of the service, the scroll is wrapped up again and put back in the ark. There are lots of other rooms in the show that are used for all kinds of things during the week. Many people come here to ask for the rabbi's advice on things. There's a nursery of youth club and I come here to learn how to read Hebrew. Thanks for coming by.

 

Holy Cribs: The Synagogue

Zack:      Welcome to Alias Reformed Synagogue. My name is Zack. I'm Jewish, and my religion is called Judaism. This is where I come to worship. And it's often called a synagogue, which is a Greek word, meaning assembly, because this is where we all get together on the Shabbat, our holy day, which is on a Saturday. But Jewish people are more likely to call it a shul, which is a Yiddish word for school, or a Beit Knesset, which is Hebrew for House of gathering or Beit to Phila, which means House of Prayer or Beit Midrash, which means House of Learning. We have lots of different names for this building because it's used for lots of different things by the local community. In most schools, men are asked to cover their heads as a sign of respect for God. They usually wear a skullcap like this called a yarmuk or. Some shawls ask women to cover their heads as well. And in synagogues that would call themselves orthodox or conservative, married women cover their heads whenever they are outside the house with a hat, scarf or wig. Unmarried women often choose to cover their heads as well. This is the main room called the Sanctuary, where we have our services on the Shabbat. All synagogues are built to face the city of Jerusalem, where there used to be a huge temple. It was the center of Jewish life and people used to travel hundreds of miles to worship and celebrate festivals there. It was destroyed by the Romans nearly 2000 years ago, and only the Western Wall remains.

So our synagogues are full of symbols and reminders of the temple we've lost. Orthodox and conservative Jews will separate men and women during services so that they are concentrating on worship rather than on each other. Women often sit upstairs in a gallery or balcony or downstairs in an area separated from the men by a barrier or screen called America. In a reformed synagogue like this, men and women sit together. Some Jews like to wear a special shawl called a tallit to pray. It can be quite difficult to get on because I've got to get this bit at the back has these fringes called Sits It, which represent the 613 Commandments in our holy book, which is called the Torah. And the Torah is kept in here. This is the Ark or our on Kadesh. It's the most important part of any synagogue because the Torah scrolls are kept in here when they're not being used in this jewel on the wall above the ark. We have some words from the Book of Psalms in Hebrew. Other schools will often have two plaques. These symbolize the original Ten Commandments, which were carved onto two stone tablets. According to the Torah. Moses brought them down from the top of Mount Sinai, where he was given the commandments by God.

Here we have the first ten letters of the Hebrew alphabet to represent the Ten Commandments. There's also a lamp called the Tam ed, which means eternal light. And it's always lit to symbolize God's presence. Back in the day, it would have been an oil lamp. But these days it's usually electric. And the lamp in the temple would have looked like this, only much bigger. An oil lamp would seven branches called a menorah, and many shawls will have one. It's often used as a symbol for Judaism, but the star of David is probably the most common Jewish symbol. It's named after King David, the most famous Jewish king who killed a giant called Goliath when he was just a boy. We use these symbols to decorate our shores, and we might also use pictures or patterns of plants or trees. But you won't often find any pictures of people or animals. This is because we worship one God who cannot be seen, and so we won't usually have any pictures of God or anything that could be mistaken for God. During a service, the doors of the ark will be opened so that everyone can see the scrolls inside. In some shawls, there might be a curtain called a prophet over the doors. So that will be drawn back as well. The scrolls are treated with maximum respect like they're important people and are dressed when they're not being used.

They're wrapped in a cloth cover called a mantle. A metal breastplate might be hung on the front to represent the breastplate that was worn by the temple priests in Jerusalem. And the walls are topped with decorations called nym, which means pomegranates because they're often made to look like pomegranates. People used to believe that there were 613 seeds in each pomegranate, one for each of the commandments in the Torah. During the service, one of the scrolls is chosen, undressed and carried over to a big reading desk on a raised area called a Bimmer. It's always at the front or the middle of the room so that everyone can hear the words of the Torah when they're being read out loud. Two scrolls are in Hebrew. They are written out by hand and made of natural materials. The scroll itself is made of animal skins, the ink from oil and charcoal and the rollers from wood. When we read the Torah, we follow the words with a pointer like this called a yard that so we don't damage the scroll with sweaty or greasy fingers. The word Yad means hand because the tip is often shaped to look like a hand with a pointy finger. Hebrew is read from right to left, the opposite direction to English. The rabbi will then give a sermon or talk about the reading. The word rabbi means teacher because that's their job to teach us about the Torah and how to live as Jews. The rabbi will often run midweek classes at the show and also spends a lot of time giving help and advice to the community.

In Orthodox synagogues, the rabbi doesn't usually organize the service that's done by someone called a Hazan, which means singer because they lead the prayers and hymns in orthodox and conservative schools. The Rabbi and Hazan will always be men in reform schools. Both the Rabbi and Hazan can lead and organize the service in these synagogues. They can be men or women. At the end of the service, the scroll is wrapped up again and put back in the ark. There are lots of other rooms in the show that are used for all kinds of things during the week. Many people come here to ask for the rabbi's advice on things. There's a nursery of youth club and I come here to learn how to read Hebrew. Thanks for coming by.

 

Holy Cribs: The Synagogue

Video length - 06.55
Published date - Apr 2023
Keystage(s) - 2, 3 and 4
Downloadable resources

Shanice takes us on a tour around an Anglican Church – pointing out the various features, explaining their meaning, and talking about her faith.

Component 1: The study of religions: beliefs, teaching and practices - Christianity - Worship and festivals - Prayer and its significance, including, set prayers and informal prayer. The role and meaning of the sacraments: •the meaning of sacrament •the sacrament of baptism and its significance for Christians; infant and believers' baptism; •different beliefs about infant baptism.

Area of Study 3 – Christianity - Section 3: Living the Christian Life - The role of the sacraments in Christian life and their practice in two denominations: the role of the sacraments/ordinance as a whole; the nature and importance of the meaning and celebration of baptism and the Eucharist in at least two denominations, including reference to the 39 Articles XXV-XXXVI; divergent Christian attitudes towards the use and number of sacraments in Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant traditions. The nature and purpose of prayer: the nature of and examples of the different types of prayer; set prayers; informal prayer and the Lord’s Prayer, including Matthew 6:5–14; when each type might be used and why; divergent Christian attitudes towards the importance of each type of prayer for Christians today.

Component Group 1 - Christianity - Practices - Sacraments• The meaning of the word sacrament • The role and meaning of the sacraments •The role of Baptism and Eucharist in the life of a Christian •Common and divergent attitudes towards the practice and meaning of Baptism by different Christian denominations •Common and divergent attitudes towards the practice and meaning of the Eucharist by different Christian denominations •Common and divergent attitudes towards the Sacraments,including which practices are considered by different Christian denominations to be a sacrament •Different interpretations and emphases given to sources of wisdom and authority by different Christian denominations

2.2 Unit 2 - PART A - Christianity - Core beliefs, teachings and practices -- Practices Life’s Journey: Sacraments and key acts of worship:  Baptisms (Mark 1:9-11); Infant and Believers' Baptism; reasons and rituals  Eucharist/Communion (1 Corinthians 11:23-26): diverse Christian interpretations and associated practices  Confirmation - preparation and ceremony (Acts 2: 1-13)  Significance of a religious wedding (Mark 10:7-9): matrimonial symbols and vows 2.1 Unit 1 PART A - Christianity - Core beliefs, teachings and practices - Practices - Church - Importance of prayer, communal and private - Matthew 6:5-13, Matthew 18:20

Component 2 (Route A) Study of Christianity: Practices: Sacraments ➢ Diverse beliefs regarding Sacraments ➢ The role, meaning and celebration of Baptism and Eucharist: John 3:3-6 ➢ Diverse interpretations of Baptism and Eucharist with reference to the beliefs of the Catholic and Protestant Churches Forms: Component 2 (Route B) Applied Catholic Theology : Theme 3: Life and Death: Artefacts: How Christian beliefs in the resurrection are expressed by the paschal candle as it is used in the Easter Vigil and during Catholic Baptism

Holy Cribs Anglican Church

Shanice:  Welcome to Saint Anne's Church! My name is Shanice and I'm a Christian. The church is where I come every Sunday to worship God, but there aren't any services going on at the moment, so I can show you around. Come in! Isn't it beautiful? The word 'church' can mean the building or the community of people who come here. So, the Church worships at the church. This is the main part of the building called the 'nave' - and in traditional churches like this one, it always faces east. If you could look at the church from above, you'd see that it's in the shape of a cross, the Christian symbol. Everyone sits in the nave looking east, so the main entrance to the church is usually at this end and it's called the West Door. The arms of the cross are called 'transepts'. So there's a north transept and a south transept. And the front of the church - the top of the cross - is called the 'chancel', and that's where the priest usually stands to lead a service. We have lots of names for a priest, but in the Church of England or the Anglican Church, we usually call the priest a 'vicar'. By the West Door, you'll often find one of these: a 'font'. It's a big stone basin which can be filled with water to baptize people at a special service. It happens when a baby is born and welcomed into the Church or when an older person becomes a Christian.

 

The vicar blesses the water and sprinkles it on the person's head. The font is near the door to symbolise that a person must be baptized before they can become a full member of the Church. When you come into the church, you walk down the aisle to find a seat. These long benches are called 'pews', although lots of churches just have ordinary chairs. In front of the pews you'll find these cushions called 'hassocks', which people kneel on when they pray. There's also these handy shelves, which people put their Bibles and hymn books on. So this is the centre of the cross shape. You have the north transept up there, and the south transept down there - and this is the 'chancel', the front of the church! During the service, someone will read to everyone from the Bible and this is done from a big book stand called a 'lectern', and in some churches it's in the shape of an eagle, and there are lots of stories to explain why. My favourite is that people used to think that the eagle was the bird that could fly the furthest and the highest in the sky, so it's a symbol that Christians believe that the words of God should be heard all over the world.

 

This little platform with stairs going up is called the 'pulpit'. The vicar or another member of the church gives a talk to everyone called a sermon, but now that we've got microphones, being up here isn't quite so important, so lots of people choose to speak from the front of the chancel here. This front part of the chancel is called the 'choir' because it's where the choir sits - or used to sit. Most churches had a choir to lead the singing of religious songs called hymns, but now we've got microphones this can be done by 1 or 2 people. In some churches, the hymns are sung along to the tunes played by a huge instrument called an 'organ'. It has keyboards like a piano, and it's noise is made from huge pipes and it can sound like a whole orchestra! But organs are very difficult to play... so lots of churches have bands playing guitars and pianos instead. Right at the front is the most important part of the church, and it's called the 'sanctuary' - it's separated from the rest of the church by a rail. And this table is called an 'altar' - you've got candles here, a special cup called a 'chalice' and a plate called a 'paten'. During a special service called Holy Communion, the vicar stands behind the altar, puts some bread onto the paten and pour some wine into the chalice. The vicar blesses them, and then everyone comes to the rail to eat a piece of bread and take a sip of the wine. We do this because Jesus asked us to. We believe that he died and came back to life so that we can all go to heaven. The wine symbolizes his blood, and the bread symbolizes his body. We all share them to remember that we are all part of the same community and will be together in heaven. Traditional churches like this one have stained glass windows to show scenes from the Bible. So that's it - that's my church! It's not just a place where people come to worship... During the week, there are nurseries for toddlers, after school clubs for young people, social clubs for old people and soup kitchens for the homeless. Most churches have a square tower or a pointy spire. They have bells which can be rung to let people know that the service is about to start. But the tower or the spire also shows people where the church is! So it can be, as it always was intended to be, at the centre of the community.

 

Thanks for coming! Bye!

 

Holy Cribs: The Anglican Church

Video length - 06.36
Published date - Mar 2023
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4
Downloadable resources

Shanice demonstrates what happens during Holy Communion and explains why sharing bread and wine in this special ceremony is so important to Christians.

Component 1: The study of religions: beliefs, teaching and practices - Christianity - The sacrament of Holy Communion/ Eucharist and its significance for Christians, including different ways it’s celebrated and different interpretations of its meaning

Area of Study 3 – Christianity - Section 3: Living the Christian Life - The role of the sacraments in Christian life and their practice in two denominations: the role of the sacraments/ordinance as a whole; the Eucharist in at least two denominations.

Component Group 1 - Christianity - Practices - Sacraments• The meaning of the word sacrament • The role and meaning of the sacraments •The role of Baptism and Eucharist in the life of a Christian •Common and divergent attitudes towards the practice and meaning of Baptism by different Christian denominations •Common and divergent attitudes towards the practice and meaning of the Eucharist by different Christian denominations •Common and divergent attitudes towards the Sacraments,including which practices are considered by different Christian denominations to be a sacrament •Different interpretations and emphases given to sources of wisdom and authority by different Christian denominations

2.2 Unit 2 PART A : Christianity - Core beliefs, teachings and practices - Practices Life’s Journey: Sacraments and key acts of worship:  Baptisms (Mark 1:9-11); Infant and Believers' Baptism; reasons and rituals  Eucharist/Communion (1 Corinthians 11:23-26): diverse Christian interpretations and associated practices

2.2 Unit 2 - PART A - Christianity - Core beliefs, teachings and practices -- Practices Life’s Journey: Sacraments and key acts of worship:  Baptisms (Mark 1:9-11); Infant and Believers' Baptism; reasons and rituals  Eucharist/Communion (1 Corinthians 11:23-26): diverse Christian interpretations and associated practices  Confirmation - preparation and ceremony (Acts 2: 1-13)  Significance of a religious wedding (Mark 10:7-9): matrimonial symbols and vows 2.1 Unit 1 PART A - Christianity - Core beliefs, teachings and practices - Practices - Church - Importance of prayer, communal and private - Matthew 6:5-13, Matthew 18:20

Holy Cribs: Holy Communion

Shanice:  The Christian church is divided up into different groups called denominations. There's the Roman Catholic Church, the Methodist Church, the Baptist Church, and the Presbyterian Church, just to name a few. I'm from the Church of England, also called the Anglican Church. All Christians follow the Bible's teachings. But one church might have slightly different understandings of it to another or worship in a different way. But all churches have a regular service when Christians will gather together to share bread and wine. In the Church of England, this is usually known as Holy Communion. But it can also be called the breaking of the bread, The Lord's Supper, Mass or Eucharist. We do this because Jesus told us to. It all goes back to the Last Supper, the last meal that Jesus ate with his disciples before he was crucified. He asked them to share the bread and wine as a way to remember him when he was gone. The bread represented his broken body and the deep red colour of the wine represented the blood he was to shed on the cross. In the Church of England, we use real wine, but other churches might use red grape juice instead. And we use wafers which are small round disks of white rice paper. But some churches use real bread or crackers. The priest will say special prayers over the bread and wine, asking God to bless them. In the Church of England, people usually go up to the front of the church where they stand or kneel at a rail in front of the altar. They are given a wafer or a small piece of bread from a special plate called a paten. Then each person is offered a large cup called a chalice, and they take a sip of wine. In other churches, like the Baptist church, everyone stays in their seats and the bread and wine or grape juice are passed along the rows from person to person. However it's done, the reasons for doing it are the same, to remember the sacrifice that Jesus made of himself on the cross. It's a reminder to Christians that they should be doing their best to live as Jesus would want them to.

Christianity: Holy Communion

Video length - 03.07
Published date - Mar 2023
Keystage(s) - 2, 3 and 4
Downloadable resources

The Only Way is Keeping Up With Esther – The story of Esther and Mordecai is retold – in the style of an OTT reality TV show.

King Ahasuerus has grown tired of Queen Vashti and has her thrown out of the palace. He gives the courtier Haman responsibility for finding him a new wife and Haman quickly identifies Esther as perfect. Esther’s guardian is her cousin, Mordecai, who insists on going to the palace with Esther, while warning her not to reveal their Jewish faith. When Haman discovers their identity he convinces the King to have all Jews in the land killed – and Esther must find a way to save her people.

Suitable for teaching KS1 / KS2.

For teachers’ notes and more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/school-radio/assemblies-ks1-ks2-esther-mordecai-haman-purim/zsfq8hv

This film is from the the assemblies collection on BBC Teach: https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/school-radio/primary-school-assemblies-collective-worship-ks1-ks2/zmsnm39

As this film is embedded you will not be able to download it.

The TrueTube and CTVC team made this film for BBC Teach, so for more resources go to BBC Teach: https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach

The Bible Stories series was commissioned by BBC Teach and produced by CTVC/TrueTube.

A film by Alastair Collinson.

The Only Way is Keeping Up With Esther

Video length - 05.41
Published date - Oct 2021
Keystage(s) - 1 and 2
Downloadable resources

Samson – The Judge – The story of ‘Samson and Delilah’ is re-imagined as a blockbuster superhero movie. Samson’s great strength is a gift from God, but Samson has been ignoring his gift. Then, when his wife is killed by the Philistine oppressors, Samson assumes his alter-ego – The Judge – and goes in search of revenge.

The Philistines send Delilah – their top agent – to trap Samson and are able to capture him after Delilah has learnt that Samson’s hair is the secret of his strength. But Samson has one final judgement to make.

Suitable for teaching KS1 / KS2.

For teachers’ notes and more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/school-radio/assemblies-ks1-ks2-samson-and-delilah-the-judge/z7dstrd

This film is from the the assemblies collection on BBC Teach: https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/school-radio/primary-school-assemblies-collective-worship-ks1-ks2/zmsnm39

As this film is embedded you will not be able to download it.

The TrueTube and CTVC team made this film for BBC Teach, so for more resources go to BBC Teach: https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach

The Bible Stories series was commissioned by BBC Teach and produced by CTVC/TrueTube.

Samson – The Judge

Video length - 06.12
Published date - Oct 2021
Keystage(s) - 1 and 2
Downloadable resources

The Kitchen Miracle-Maker (Jesus Feeds the 5000) – The story of ‘Jesus Feeds the 5000’ is retold – with a twist. Mary and Mark are hosts of something reminiscent of a modern-day cookery programme. Jesus and his disciples take on the challenge to provide food for the 5000 people assembled, but with only two small fish and five loaves available it’s clear that another miracle is called for.

Various attempts are made to create delicious dishes – delicate bite-sized sandwiches, Mediterranean grilled-fish salad, golden fishcakes – but when the time is up the results are far from miraculous. Then Jesus blesses the food and shares it among the crowd. There’s plenty for everyone – and there’s even some left over. It’s a miracle!

Suitable for teaching KS1 / KS2.

For teachers’ notes and more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/school-radio/assemblies-ks1-ks2-jesus-feeds-the-5000-loaves-fishes/zrdstrd

This film is from the the assemblies collection on BBC Teach: https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/school-radio/primary-school-assemblies-collective-worship-ks1-ks2/zmsnm39

As this film is embedded you will not be able to download it.

The TrueTube and CTVC team made this film for BBC Teach, so for more resources go to BBC Teach: https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach

The Bible Stories series was commissioned by BBC Teach and produced by CTVC/TrueTube.

The Kitchen Miracle-Maker (Jesus Feeds the 5000)

Video length - 04.41
Published date - Oct 2021
Keystage(s) - 1 and 2
Downloadable resources

Living Your Best Life (Jesus Heals a Man with Leprosy) – The story of ‘Jesus Heals a Man with Leprosy’ is retold – with a twist.

Benjamin lives in the Galilean village of Capernaum and has leprosy. He is also appearing on the reality TV make-over show called ‘Living Your Best Life’. Benjamin learns from the presenter – Joanna, the Make-Over Queen – that Jesus is due to visit Capernaum the following day. Benjamin duly kneels before Jesus asking to be cured. Later, joined by Joanna once more, Benjamin describes how his life has changed. But what has made the greatest impression on him is the compassion and acceptance of Jesus.

Suitable for teaching KS1 / KS2.

For teachers’ notes, assembly framework and more:https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/school-radio/assemblies-ks1-ks2-jesus-heals-a-man-with-leprosy-living-your-best-life/zgh9g7h

This film is from the the assemblies collection on BBC Teach: https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/school-radio/primary-school-assemblies-collective-worship-ks1-ks2/zmsnm39

As this film is embedded you will not be able to download it.

The TrueTube and CTVC team made this film for BBC Teach, so for more resources go to BBC Teach: https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach

The Bible Stories series was commissioned by BBC Teach and produced by CTVC/TrueTube.

Living Your Best Life (Jesus Heals a Man with Leprosy)

Video length - 5.04
Published date - Oct 2021
Keystage(s) - 1 and 2
Downloadable resources