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New sacred garden on site of HIM’s Ethiopian chapel

As news reached us of an ill-advised proposal to remove the final bungalow from HIM's Fairfield estate and lease it to the NHS a group of Rastafari and other volunteers cleared the location of Empress Menen's chapel of scrub and brambles to create a sacred garden.

What is now 37 Burleigh Gardens, a rapidly deteriorating nondescript but potentially useful bungalow, was earlier the site of the first Ethiopian church in the UK. But - like the other 1970s bungalows now owned by the Curo housing association - it forms an integral part of HIM's estate.

Before and after: volunteers cleared brambles where Empress Menen was often seen praying to create a sacred space for reflection, now open to all.

The coincidence underlines yet again how the statutory duties - largely social care - which B&NES is duty-bound to fulfil clash with the need for sensitive and properly resourced stewardship of HIM's legacy which is of global historic cultural and sacred importance. This again shows why B&NES Council and the Friends of Fairfield House have together decided that community asset transfer to a diverse, sustainable specially created organisation dedicated to the purpose is the best way to secure and celebrate HIM's legacy to Bath.



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