President Rev. Prof. Andrew Dutney is leading the second of his three National Ministers’ Conferences in Western Sydney this week.
Subscribe To E-News
Australia is a country where people of many cultural and faith backgrounds live together. As Christians we believe that diversity is a part of God's creation. We are called to live together in peace, loving our neighbour as God loves us and all people.
Responding to Christ's call within Australia's multicultural, multireligious landscape, the Uniting Church in Australia National Working Group on Relations with Other Faiths was established to promote knowledge and understanding of other living world faiths and their communities. The Relations with Other Faiths Working Group seeks to develop wherever possible a commitment to promote respect and tolerance for the integrity of the beliefs of other faiths, cultures and traditions. This desire not only arises from our common humanity but also from a desire to live in peace and goodwill as neighbours in our communities and the world.
We warmly invite you to explore the website and hope it provides resources that guide and inspire you to encounter and experience the rich blessings and wisdom that relationships with people of other faiths bring.
National Minister's Conference
Yesterday’s program included a visit to the Harold Wood Uniting Church in Auburn – a predominantly Tongan congregation – that included the kind of hospitality renowned among UCA Pacific Island congregations.
The Church has special resonance when it comes to the UCA’s interfaith work. Its hall was burned to the ground in an act of arson as tensions ran high after the 2005 Cronulla riots.
Sharing a Meal in Good Faith
The Uniting Church has partnered with Affinity Intercultural Foundation to host the first official Iftar dinner in a NSW Uniting church.
On 14 July, representatives of Sydney's Christian, Jewish and Buddhist communities and the Ramakrishna Sarada Vedanta Society of NSW gathered in historic St Stephen's Uniting Church in Sydney to share stories of faith and hospitality over a meal.
"Sacred hospitality in our churches and communities starts here," said Assembly Associate General Secretary Rev. Glenda Blakefield, reflecting on the theme of the evening.
"By creating a space for interfaith friendship to grow, we honour God's gift of diversity."
Your God, my God, our God by S. Wesley Ariarajah
Rethinking Christian Theology for Religious Plurality
World Council of Churches Publications 2012
Since the international events of 9/11 many of us became interested in finding out about Islam and this may have also have led us to find out about other faiths. We also began to see the need to engage with people of other faiths in order to create harmony between faiths in our society. In these activities many of us found that our Christian faith was enriched. And many of us also found our Christian faith challenged.
The latest meeting of the Uniting Church – Jewish Dialogue group took place on Tuesday 20 May at the Beth Weizman centre in Melbourne. Five members from the Uniting Church (including new dialogue members Rev Janie McWhinney and Rev Brendan Byrne) were present with four Jewish representatives.
The meeting began with a look at Jewish and Christian reading of the Book of Jonah. Jonah is read (in entirety) as the haftorah reading in the afternoon service of Yom Kippur – unusually for Jewish worship, for this service the haftorah is the focus rather than the Torah reading. In the context of Yom Kippur Jonah is read as a ‘parable’ (or perhaps more accurately fable) of repentance with the central debate being about how far forgiveness can, and should go. The story centres on a conflict between Jonah and God around the questions – is it possible for the Assyrians to be forgiven, and if so should they be forgiven?
American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us
Putnam RD, Campbell DE. American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us. New York: Simon & Schuster; 2010.
Americans, unlike Australians, are an overtly deeply religious people. How religious? And how has the religion of the people both influenced and been influenced by social factors within American society? For our purposes, an additional question needs to be asked. Is this really relevant to us?
How useful are the ideas and discoveries contained within the research by two Harvard professors into the American scene to the multifaith environment in Australia. Surprisingly the answer is “very”. And the reasons for this are that Australians, as well as Americans, are part of the bigger culture - “the West”. So whilst there are obvious local differences which have we Australians saying “that’s not us”, there are far more common factors which assist us in turning the mirror on ourselves and our own environment.