Newsletters and News




Too much clutter?    Why not donate it to the Jumble Sale being held to raise money for the Trust?    Carolyn Carter, one of our Trustees, is organising the event which is happening on Saturday, 3 November at the Village Hall in Danbury, Essex, starting at 1:30 pm.    If you live near there, you can drop off your jumble between 9:00 am and noon on the day or, if you do not live near there but do live in South-East England and you have lots to donate, please ring Carolyn on 07773 429396.     We may be able to arrange to collect.
We are now planning to hold the Trust’s next AGM in the Spring of 2019, in March or the first half of April.    We will keep you informed as arrangements are made.
The Chigwell School India Trip left Heathrow on Wednesday 7th February and arrived in India at 5:00 am the next day, landing at Chennai Airport.  After a long bus journey, the group arrived at Saccidananda Ashram, which is an Indian monastery located roughly 300km South-West of Chennai.     The Ashram was wonderful, boasting an array of exotic vegetation and interesting wildlife.   Every day we attended the morning prayer service for an hour at 6:30am, which was followed by breakfast in the eating area at 7:30 am.   We would find ourselves eating most of our meals here, perched on the floor, crossed-legged taking in the silence as talking was not permitted, to enable peaceful contemplation.
Our first visit was to a crèche run by the Ashram to allow local parents to work.   Here, we played with the children, aged between 4 and 5 years old. We sang nursery rhymes and danced with them. We built rapport with them by showing them our gadgets, taken for granted in the UK, which absolutely fascinated them, and they took turns snapping pictures at various different angles! The place was not only filled with amazing children, but also amazing teachers, who put in so much effort into educating these children.    The next day, we visited not only a wonderful crèche, where
we handed out a range of stationery and gifts we had brought with us, we also visited an elderly people’s day-care centre and an elderly people’s home, where Veena, a mum on the trip entertained the elderly residents with her vibrant Bollywood dancing, which was a big hit!     We interacted with the elderly and a member of the day care centre sang us a song about Gandhi.   We made a visit to Sister Rose, who is a beautiful soul, and runs these projects while fighting her illness. IMG_2423

She wanted to make lives better for the elderly in the area and has provided somewhere for them if their families cannot look after them.

Our next visit was to the Chigwell Multi-purpose hall where the local village children no longer had to do their homework under a streetlamp.

When we returned home we raised money to build a house in the village and that is now complete.     Earlier trips had done something similar.

The day after consisted of visits to temples and looking around local villages. The end of the trip included a visit to the Tim Pruss Memorial School, where we not only taught English and Maths but also performed a Bollywood dance at the Speech Day, handed out prizes, and some of us even joined the children in their performances!    For me personally, it was a trip that I thoroughly enjoyed and one I shall never forget.      Charlotte James-Pajwani IMG_2423

This year marked my 34th at Shantivanam, the end of my term as Prior and the beginning of a sabbatical year.     Over the last three years I have been even busier than usual adding to my travels to Europe the renovation of the ashram, the guest rooms, facilities for the physically challenged and ecological projects like vermi-compost, solar panels and organic farming.    Whilst I have been pleased to have done all of these I have not had as much time as I would have liked for writing.    My next project in that respect concerns the parables and some of Jesus’ great statements.    My aim is to continue to follow the vision of the founders of the ashram and the inspiration which was Fr. Bede.      Br Martin 

IMG_2423 You may recall that the BLESS (later the Timothy Pruss Memorial) School was initially set up with help from the Prince’s Mead School near Winchester in Hampshire.    The Headmistress, Penn Kirk, has now retired following the summer term and we know that you would all want us to send her the best for a happy retirement.   Besides her role as Head teacher of Prince’s Mead, she has been an Independent Schools’ Team Inspector as well as being an International Team Inspector with the ISI.   She has taught in Turkey and Germany and is an Advisory Board member of the Banda School, Nairobi.  Her passion is Education and Travel and she is an intrepid explorer having trekked through parts of South America, Africa, Indonesia and Asia.
Penn has provided support and guidance for the school at Inungur since 2004.   Money raised annually by the Prince’s Mead School continues to help with the staff salaries.

Other initiatives including a ‘Breakfast for Breakfast’ scheme and the provision of fresh eggs, to help with giving the very poor children protein each day, have also been a great success.   Those of you who have visited the Tim Pruss Memorial School may recall seeing the excellent playground provided by Prince’s Mead.     Financial support for the Tim Pruss School from Prince’s Mead will continue in the short term and we wish Penn all the very best for the future.    Mark Bradberry, Chair

Chigwell students paid a visit to the School on 12th Feb 2018 and enjoyed teaching the Indian kids.     The School Speech Day Celebrations were held on 13th February 2018 and Chigwell students presented some cultural events along with the Timothy Pruss kids.     Sr.Mary Louisa’s First Death Anniversary was celebrated on 12th March 2018 and the Timothy Pruss School children visited her Samadhi at Ananda in two batches and Madre Michela blessed them.      Mr.Balaji, the Secretary of Rotary Club in Karur, visited the School on 10th April 2018 and was so delighted to see the facilities and care given to the children.    That day was also the 123rd birth anniversary of Rev Fr Jules Monchanin, the Pioneer of Shanthivanam.     Timothy Pruss 31st Birth Anniversary was celebrated on 19th April, the last working day of the School for the academic year 2017-18.   Tim was born on 28th April.       Senthil Kumar – Director, Timothy Pruss Memorial School IMG_2423
You can raise money for the Trust while shopping online!   The Trust has been registered with Easyfundraising for some time and, if you use Amazon, you can now sign in using and help the Trust.   When we have done so, the system has remembered all of our details from our old Amazon login and our Prime membership – so we do not think you need to worry on that score.
David Gower, Deputy Head at Chigwell School, has recently retired as a Trustee after 5 years’ service on the Committee.    David has organised many trips to India, raised funds for the Trust and will continue to support the Trust in every way he can.    Thank you very much indeed, Mr Gower.
The Committee has met formally three times since the AGM in December – in February, April and July.     These three meetings have been primarily concerned with deciding on the grants for the year commencing 1 April 2018 and preparations for the fundraising events referred to at the top of this newsletter.

We have not troubled you about GDPR because we hold very little personal data and we do with it only what we need to in order to operate as a charity and to keep in touch with our members.    We shall be contacting you shortly, though, to ask you to check that the data we hold is correct, as GDPR requires.

Our website was out of action for a while, has been updated a little, is now up-and-running again and is being re-designed.

Some of the Trust’s members organise fundraising events like coffee mornings to raise money for the Trust and we are extremely grateful indeed to them.     If you would like to do something similar, please do.    All we ask is that you let us know in advance at that your event is taking place and what it involves.
The Trust’s Annual Report and Accounts for 2017 have been filed with the Charity Commission.   So, if you want to read them, please go to and search for the Trust either by its name or its number, 1106071.

The Committee

Bede Griffiths Charitable Trust (Charity Commission Number 1106071)

120 Dukes Avenue, Theydon Bois, Essex, CM16 7HF

T 01992 812307               

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