Friendship between people of faiths will bring the Australian community together.
This was the message shared by Kamaljit Kaur Athwal, a member of the Sikh community, at the Queensland Synod’s promotional event for the Study Guide to the document “Friendship in the Presence of Difference”.
The gathering was hosted by Moderator Rev. David Baker at the Queensland Synod Office and included Presbytery Ministers from across the State, civic leaders and representatives from interfaith organisations and other faiths including Muslim, Jewish, Baha’i and Hare Krishna.
“Knowing our neighbours and understanding their way of life through culture and faith opens many doors,” said Kamaljit.
“Acknowledging and accepting differences eradicates preconceived thoughts and fears. This acceptance leads to harmony and even friendship.”
The Study Guide was produced by the Assembly Relations with Other Faiths Working Group
Rev. Heather Griffin, a leading author of the resource, said the Study Guide was designed for Uniting Church members to encourage greater friendship with people of other faiths.
“It is our belief that genuine interfaith friendship embraces difference rather than allowing difference to create division and distrust,” said Heather.
“We, as Christians, are learning that to live peacefully in the presence of difference is to also be renewed and transformed in our own Christian faith.”
Brisbane City Councillor Nicole Johnston congratulated the Uniting Church on its example of creating friendship across religious divides. Sgt Dave Lucas from Queensland Police Cultural Support Unit gave an outline of how the police force has recognised the need to work with the community across different faiths and cultures.
South Moreton Presbytery Minister David Busch spoke about how interfaith friendship and hospitality was a part of our Christian call to mission in the world.
In October last year, the Queensland Synod passed a resolution to “strongly encourage congregations to engage in constructive dialogue and fellowship with local communities of other faiths.”
In the spirit of this resolution, Heather urged those present to take up the resource and share it with others.
“I recommend this series of ﬁve studies to you as a user friendly resource which draws on group participants’ personal experiences in parallel with biblical examples.”
“It is deliberately short, easy to read and to discuss.”
Further resources for those who want to go deeper are available on the website assembly.uca.org.au/fipd.
Photos from QLD Synod
President Stuart McMillan reflects on the importance of friendship with people of other faiths in 2018.
Leigh Memorial Church, Parramatta Mission brought together people of different faiths and cultural backgrounds to celebrate Jesus’ birth and the peaceful world God envisions for us all.
Faith and cultural leaders as well as members of the wider community gathered for the third annual Christmas Peace Dinner on December 2.
April Robinson from VIC/TAS Synod's Uniting through Faiths has returned from an interfaith youth leadership program in Indonesia. This is her reflection.
Last month, 35 people from 14 countries and regions gathered in Jakarta, Indonesia for YATRA (Youth in Asia Training in Religious Amity). I attended on behalf of the Uniting Church.
A film depicting how St Francis of Assisi met with the Sultan of Egypt at the height of the crusades highlights how interfaith encounters might lead to peace and understanding today.
About 500 people of different faiths attended the premiere of the docudrama The Sultan and the Saint at Western Sydney University’s Parramatta South Campus on 29 July.
The Islamophobia Report released this week revealed many disturbing things.
Researchers analysed 243 verified reports to the Islamophobia Register. Of those reports, 67.7 per cent of the victims were women while 68.5 per cent of the perpetrators were men.
In a sign of solidarity and friendship with the Australian Muslim community, the Uniting Church will co-host Iftar dinners in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane during Ramadan this year.
President of the Uniting Church in Australia Stuart McMillan offered his good wishes to all Muslims for a blessed and peaceful Ramadan.
Uniting Church members have a role to play in combating religious and cultural division in the wider community.
Report from Australian Partnership of Religious Organisations
“Religious values and the value of religion” was the theme of a national interfaith forum attended by 100 Australians from diverse faith backgrounds at NSW Parliament House on Wednesday 22 February.
Hosted by the Australian Partnership of Religious Organisations (APRO), the forum provided a space for Christians from various denominations, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Bahá’ís and others to come together to explore the value of religion and the place of religious values in our diverse society. Representatives from government, academia and the media also attended.
The Uniting Church in Australia affirms its friendship and ongoing collaboration with the Muslim community after three Australian Islamic leaders were targeted in an ISIS propaganda video.
In the video the terrorist group condemns Islamic scholars from around the world for discouraging violence in the name of Islam, including the Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, NSW Police Force chaplain Sheikh Ahmed Abdo and youth leader Sheikh Shady Alsuleiman, Fairfax Media reported.