Peace Partners Introduction – Oxford, 9th December 2018
by Robin Watkins and Didge Hatcher
The train seemed to speed through the heart of England as it followed the route of the Thames river upstream, to Oxford, the city of the dreaming spires. After days of rain, today was lighter and clearer, and I was attending a small event in the afternoon which had been organised locally to promote support for the work of The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF).
Oxford on an early Sunday in December is a busy place, full of tourists and Christmas market shoppers and students. Approaching the small meeting house venue I passed by an Oxfam shop, the internationally known charity started here and took its name from the town, and then the Eagle and Child pub, once frequented by illustrious authors JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis.
In the midst of England's oldest scholastic centre I remembered that in 2005 TPRF founder Prem Rawat had been invited here to speak at the university. Just a few years before he had started the Foundation that bears his name.
The event was an intimate and informal introduction to the work of Peace Partners to seventeen local Oxford attendees. It was very ably managed by Emma Thomas who commented, ‘this is a really lovely opportunity for the people of Oxford to find out more about what Peace Partners actually does.’
Pauline Cook, Finance Manager and Trustee, talked us through several evocative videos revealing the purposes of the Peace Education Programme and The Food for People centres which have been initiated and are being maintained in several countries by TPRF.
There was also an opportunity for people to volunteer for a role with the charity. Didge Hatcher, a newly recruited Trustee, spoke briefly about her excitement at her role and her recognition of the potential for growth in Peace Partners.
Much tea and cake was enjoyed in the break, with opportunities for old friends to catch up. Two visitors from the Midlands Hindi community were hoping to arrange their own introductions to Peace Partners in their area. At the end Outreach Manager David Windsor sat with them to discuss possible arrangements for those events.
Everyone was delighted by the opportunity to wish Prem Rawat a happy birthday. Robin Watkins, who edits the eBulletin, invited us all to be filmed saying ‘Happy birthday Prem’, which of course we did with great enthusiasm!