Friday, 15 May 2020

Building Harmony Virtual Iftar

UCA President Dr Deidre Palmer shared the following speech at the UCA and Affinity Building Harmony Virtual Iftar on 13 May 2020.

Hello everyone, Assalam Allayikum. May God’s peace be with you.

It is wonderful to be here today. Though we are physically apart, we share in this breaking of the fast together, united in a spirit of friendship and love for one another.

I thank all those who are joining us via Facebook from your own dinner tables at home. In particular, I acknowledge our Muslim friends, our friends from Affinity and its Executive Director Ahmet Polat, the community leaders who are present, our friends from other faith communities and people from across the life of the Uniting Church, our churches, agencies, schools and others who join us.

I thank Bilal and Ibrahim for bringing us into this sacred space – the breaking of the fast – with the Call to Prayer and Qur’an recitation.

Even though we might not be sitting alongside one another, we recognise the gift of sharing in this significant ritual for our Muslim friends.

We acknowledge the unusual circumstances for our Muslim friends as they celebrate Ramadan, without the possibility of physical connection. We share this grief with you, but also, perhaps we share the unexpected joy, that while our mosques, churches and temples remain closed, we bring those places of worship into our homes and pray with our families. 

As many of you know, the sharing of the Iftar meal is a powerful symbol of friendship and mutual understanding. It is a celebration of our common values – of compassion, of love and of hope.

We know how important these values are for the world as we face the crisis of this global pandemic. As people of faith, we need to work together in Australia and across the global community so we shape a world where all people have access to the basic necessities of life, and are able to flourish.  

Many people are searching for meaning right now, many are feeling disconnected or anxious. As people of faith, we are called to be bearers of God’s hope, and to embody God’s love for all people and all creation, as we go forward. We are bearers of hope as we embody love and understanding toward one another and embrace our shared humanity.

On behalf of the Uniting Church in Australia, I extend our sincere best wishes to all Muslims for the remaining days of Ramadan and for your celebration of Eid.

May it be a time rich in God’s blessing, of deepening your faith and of sharing of love and care for one another.  

To all our Muslim brothers and sisters, Ramadan Mubarak.