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Wednesday, 21 July 2004

ASC endorses regional interfaith dialogues

The Uniting Church will enter a new era, working with the NCCA and the Federal Government to develop interfaith dialogues across the Asia Pacific region.

Uniting Church President Rev. Dean Drayton, said the Standing Committee at its July meeting agreed to participate in regional interfaith dialogues that will build on the work already being undertaken by the Church within Australia.

It follows a recent announcement by the Australian Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, to investigate the possibility of the Australian and Indonesian Governments to developing interfaith regional conferences in South East Asia. “After that announcement at the NCCA forum, we moved a resolution that the NCCA look to play an active role in developing these conferences because of the experience Churches like ours already have in this area.

“Flowing from this I felt it was important that the ASC endorse Uniting Church participation so that we could share our own very broad experience at the table and play a part in making these conferences a success.

“I’m pleased that the ASC agreed to support the National Council of Churches resolution to try and work with the Federal Government to develop interfaith dialogues because I think we have some very useful experiences to share,” Rev. Drayton said.

“We know from our work in Australia and overseas in Ambon that interfaith dialogues are often a vital first step in addressing broader social problems.

“Of all the Churches in Australia, the Uniting Church knows better than any other about understanding difference and focusing on the things that unite us, and it is from this experience that we have worked so hard to support interfaith dialogues already.

“I look forward to working with the NCCA to develop similar dialogues across our region,” Rev Drayton said.