Chaplaincy Thursday Meet and Greet/ Discussion Evening

Fortnightly Discussion Group starting on 13th October at Witham House from 7.30 pm – 9 pm

What to expect

  • Meet new friends
  • Discussing various topics with safe boundaries
  • Free Refreshments
  • Friendly and welcoming atmosphere
  • Relaxing environment
  • Networking


  • Is global climate change man-made?
  • Are we too depended on social media?
  • Finding Heaven
  • Is the death penalty effective?
  • War, Violence and Hate
  • Migration and global issues
  • Poverty and inequality
  • Status of women
  • Can religion and science co-exist?
  • Acceptance
  • The role of faith, spirituality and religion
  • Meditation
  • Mysticism religion
  • Racism
  • Gender and Sexuality



Image result for homesick free imagesWhat is homesickness?

Homesickness is the distress or impairment caused by an actual or anticipated separation from home. Its cognitive hallmark is preoccupying thoughts of home and attachment objects. (Wikipedia)

For some, the transition to university life takes longer than others and in this period homesickness can emerge as a desire for the familiar environment, for what is safe and secure.

More often homesickness is focussed on the loss of family, friends and dear ones, but it is also about the loss of places and routines.  For some who are attached to their family and its environment it is very difficult to cope with the transition. It can take a longer unless the person finds the appropriate support that s/he needed it.

Research shows that up to 70% of students will experience homesickness in their early days at university. It is a normal part of the experience of leaving home. However, even mild homesickness deserves careful attention. It is a reminder of our need to respect our physical and emotional needs at a time of stress. Yet, for some people the results of homesickness are quite disabling, and need additional support from parents, friends or professionals.

For students who are well connected with the family church, temple, grudwara, mosque etc when they move to university they may find it very difficult to cope with the transition. There is help available but you will have to ask and actively seek the help and support.

For International students who are adjusting with life in the UK as well as the cultural adjustment, language barriers, food etc it is a new journey. There are support services available which will help you integrate into the British society when in the UK.

Typical physical and emotional symptoms:

  • loss of concentration
  • crying and sadness
  • difficulties in sleeping or eating
  • waves of emotion
  • disrupted menstrual cycle
  • nausea, headaches or dizziness
  • trembling, and feeling either too hot or too cold

 Typical thought patterns: 

  • I miss my friends so much
  • I need to get home, or at least phone home as often as I can
  • I want to be with my family
  • I am not coping with looking after myself
  • I hate having to live with people I don’t know
  • I do not know who I am here
  • People here really do not like me
  • It’s like prison. I don’t belong here
  • I want to cry especially when I am by myself
  • Everyone else seems fine. Why am I the odd one out?


What might help?

  • Talk to someone. If you haven’t yet made friends here, try speaking with a professional.
  • Keep in good contact with the people you have left behind; arrange a time to go back to see them, perhaps after a few weeks. Also give yourself time within the university to begin to get involved here.
  • Join a likeminded student society/group
  • Morning Meditation/Yoga
  • Give yourself permission to feel sad and homesick, but also to enjoy yourself.
  • Be realistic about what to expect from student life and from yourself. Establish a balance between work and leisure.
  • If work is proving difficult, consider what you can do to improve your study skills or your organisation of time and work so that you gain satisfaction from what you do. There may be people in your college or department who can help in this area.
  • Remember to get enough food and sleep. These affect us emotionally as well as physically.
  • Make contacts and friends through shared activities such as sports and hobbies. There are so many clubs and societies within the university and city, that you are very likely to find something that suits your interests. And at the start of the academic year, many other new people will be joining.
  • Give yourself time to adjust. You don’t have to get everything right straight away, nor do you have to rush into making major decisions about staying or leaving.
  • If you feel homesickness is stopping you from being able to do normal social and academic things, seek further help.


Sources of Further Help

  • GP
  • Student Wellbeing
  • Careers Advice Service


Useful Links



Baha’i Devotional/Meditation/Tranquillity Zone Sessions 

Chaplains-5There will be fortnightly Baha’i devotional/meditation/tranquillity zone meetings at Witham House, next to sports centre, starting on Wednesday 12th October from 1-2pm.These will be run by Jill and Clive Tully, the newly appointed Volunteer Baha’i Faith Advisors.

The format will be simple and open to all. A space to relax and share where inspiring words, prayers and Sacred Writings will be offered before and after periods of silence. Also to reflect, ponder and to listen and comment on any insights gained. All are welcome.

Jill and Clive would be very happy for anyone attending to offer contributions such as bringing along and sharing a favourite poem, song, prayer, quotation or maybe a piece of music. In short a space to unwind and to find fresh inspiration during busy university life.

Further dates this term will be Wednesday 26th October, 9 and 23rd November and 7th December at 1-2pm in Witham House’


IMG_3112Onam is the biggest and most important festival of the state of Kerala, South India. It is a harvest festival and is celebrated with joy and enthusiasm all over the state by people of all communities and it is celebrated by Malaylam speaking communities across the world. In India, there are a few harvest festivals celebrated in India: Makar Sankranti, Thai Pongal, Uttarayana, Lohri, and Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu in January, Holi in February–March, Vaisakhi in April and Onam in August–September.

According to a popular legend, the festival is celebrated to welcome King Mahabali, whose spirit is said to visit Kerala at the time of Onam. Onam is celebrated during the first month of Malayalam Calendar. This corresponds with the month of August-September according to the Gregorian calendar.

Carnival of Onam lasts from four to ten days. First day, Atham and tenth day, Thiruonam are the most important of all. Popularity and presentation of rich culture of the state during the carnival made Onam the National Festival of Kerala in 1961. Elaborate feasts, folk songs, elegant dances, energetic games, elephants, boats and flowers all are a part of the dynamic festival called Onam.

The Legend
Story goes that during the reign of mighty Asura (demon) king, Mahabali, Kerala witnessed its golden era. Everybody in the state was happy and prosperous and the king was highly regarded by his subjects. Apart from all his virtues, Mahabali had one shortcoming. He was egoistic. This weakness in his character was utilized by Gods to bring an end to his reign as they felt challenged by Mahabali’s growing popularity. However, for all the good deeds done by Mahabali, God granted him a boon that he could annually visit his people with whom he was so attached.

It is this visit of Mahabali that is celebrated as Onam every year. People make all efforts to celebrate the festival in a grand way and impress upon their dear King that they are happy and wish him well.

Onam Celebrations
Keralites cultural heritage comes out in the ten day long festival. It is a state wide celebration with the grand carnival. People of Kerala make detailed preparations to celebrate it in the best possible manner. The most impressive part of Onam celebration is the grand feast called Onasadya, prepared on Thiruonam. It is a nine course meal consisting of 11 to 13 essential dishes. Onasadya is served on banana leaves and people sit on a mat laid on the floor to have the meal.

Another enchanting feature of Onam is the Snake Boat Race, held on the river Pampa. It is a colourful sight to watch the decorated boat oared by hundreds of boatmen amidst chanting of songs and cheering by spectators.

Today it has been celebrated to remember the culture and the tradition and this is also the day where all come together to celebrate it without any barriers and it is a joyful occasion.