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2024 Annual Report


The following  members of BCOF were elected  in February  2023, serving as trustees for 2023/24


Revd Cass Howes                            Christian

Dr Virendra Son                               Hindu

James Peter Jandu                         Christian 

Peter Gerrish                                   Christian 

Wendi Momen MBE                        Bahai

Bipinchandra Shah                         Jain 

Tirath Singh Bhavra                        Sikh,  co-opted 

Saulius Rakauskas                         Subud

Chiara Mitchell Middleton             Reform Jew


Remembrance Sunday 

The Remenrance Sunday service arranged by Bedford Borough and the Bedford branch of the Royal British Legion took place on Sunday, November. It was led by Revd Cass Howes as RBL padre and also representing BCOF. Members of the Hindu Sabha, Subud and the Reform  Jewish congregation also participated, offering words of peace. The service took place on the Embankments and was well attended. In preparation for 2025, the format and text of the service is currently under review. 


Holocaust Memorial Day Commemoration

This occurred on Thursday, 25th February, at the Anne Frank in Russell Park. It was attended by 30 people, including the Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire - Susan alisada and the Mayor of Bedford - Tom Wootton. The commemoration was introduced by Revd Cass Howrs and then led by Lydia Saul from the Higgins, assisted by Dr Virendra Soni - Chair of BCOF. A small working group has been set up to plan HMD 2025, and one of its tasks will be to review the text used. 


Welcoming New Clergy 

The following clergy joined Bedford parishes in 2023: Revd Antony Davis, Revd Josh, and Revd Alex were briefed on the work and role of BCOF by Revd Cass Howes.


Meeting And Events - Dates, Speakers And Topics 


BCOF meetings and events took place on the following dates:


·      Wednesday 4th October

Priory Methodist Church 

Tarsem Paul

Awareness raising of the importance of organ donation in all communities 


·      Monday 4th December 

Church of Latter-Day Saints

High Sheriff of Bedfordshire - Russell Beard is talking about the role of the High Sheriff and the contribution of faith communities.


·      Monday 13th November 

Sri Guru Ravidass Sabha  

A Listening Event - BLMK NHS


·      Friday 22nd  December-Solstice


Prayers for Peace  


·      Thursday 25th January 

Anne Frank Tree, Russell Park

Holocaust Memorial Day Commemoration


Events And Meetings Attended: Dr Vrendra Soni Represented  BCOF At The Following Events And Activities.


1 BLEVEC Emergency Response meetings

2 BCOF Trustee meetings 

3 Lord Lieutenant multi-faith service at Woburn Church.

4 Meeting with Integrated Care System (ICS) at St Andrew’s Church.

5 Ethnic Foodbank Inauguration.

6 Mayoral Hustings at St Paul’s Church.

 7 Visit to Bedford Valmiki temple.

8Meeting with Revd Luke Larner.

9 Multi-faith meeting in Flitwick

11 Trademark Paul kidney Transplant meeting.

12 HMD national meeting on Zoom.

13 Communications with the Bishop of Bedford.

14 Volunteer Chaplain at the University of Bedfordshire, Bedford Campos.

15 Festival of Lights - helping to set up and host guests, coordinating refreshments and looking after the BCOF stall.

16 St Thomas Moore multi-faith conference.

17 African Festival Bedford

18 Bedford Borough Civic Carol Service  

19 Romania Day, organised by Queens Park Community Organisation.  

20’HMD commemoration Russell Park


Revd Cass Howes Represented BCOF At The Following:


1. Lord Lieutenant multi-faith service at Woburn Church, 

2. Festival of Lights celebration organised  by Bedford Indian Community (BIC)

3. HMD commemoration Russell Park

4. BCOF trustee meetings


Universal Films 

BCOF have been informed that Mohammad Yasin MP regularly converses with Universal Films about their proposal to be located in Bedford. BCOF has asked the  MP to make Universal Films aware of our existence and the nature of the contribution and awareness raising we can offer.


Faith-Based Art 

Bedford Council of Faith has agreed to support a proposal for a faith-based art exhibition to be held in Bedford – organised by James Jandu. 

The faith-based art exhibition in Bedford invites individuals to submit visual art centered around a faith theme in a competition. All submissions will be showcased on a website, and chosen pieces will be exhibited at a venue in Bedford. It's an opportunity for the public to come and appreciate the displayed art and speak with artists.


Such an exhibition is great for sharing the resources of the many faith communities in Bedford. BCOF is delighted to support and promote this exciting venture.   James will keep us informed as plans develop and let us know if there are specific ways in which BCOF can help with his project.

Emergency Response 

Virendra Soni has served on the Central Bedfordshire Emergency Response Committee. This committee aims to provide responders in an emergency affecting local residents, businesses and organisations.  Faith issues/needs can arise in such situations. Faith communities can be mobilised to assist.


Our Minds Matter

OMM is about exploring the occurrence of mental health issues experienced by those in faith communities and developing actions and activities to assist people experiencing poor mental health. 


BCOF is proposing to revive OMM in Bedford. Revd Cass Howes engaged in an online conversation with Jolel Miah, the founder of OMM, and he expressed delight and encouragement. Three BCOF contacts have expressed interest in taking this forward, Initially agreeing on a draft outline proposal for the project, including preparing a definition of good mental health. 


Beds Mental Health Alliance 

Revd Cass Howes has met with Carol Solaiman of the newly created organisation - Beds Mental Health Alliance.  


(BMHA) BCOF Trustees TV has agreed that BCOF should join the Alliance and be represented at its meetings and activities. 


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