By Rev Dr Matthew Wilson, UCA Convenor, UCA-ECAJ Dialogue
The longstanding practice of contact and cooperation between the Uniting Church and Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) continued at the 40th meeting of the UCA Christian-Jewish Dialogue in Sydney on 28 April.
The Dialogue, which began during the Presidency of D’Arcy Wood in 1992, takes place twice a year, alternately in Sydney and Melbourne, hosted in turn at Uniting Church and Jewish venues.
Lesley Bryant of Currumbin on Queensland’s Gold Coast grew up not knowing about her Samoan and Fijian heritage.
Her great-grandmother came from a high-level Samoan family and moved to Fiji in the late 19th century,where she married an Englishman.
Their son, Lesley'sgrandfather,was born in Fiji, moved to North Queensland and served with Australian forces at Gallipoli in 1915.
By Geoff Boyce, Oasis Coordinating Chaplain, Flinders University
I’m often asked, ‘What exactly do you do at the Oasis Centre?’
I wish I had some neat answers! It’s a complex story rather than a ten second sound-bite!
Australian universities have become places of increased religious diversity. In 2012, one in three students studying in Australia were international students, adding to the mix of faiths on campuses across the nation. With this changing landscape, university chaplains have been forced to reassess how they meet the spiritual needs of students.
Growing respect and understanding across diversity
"Every creation of God deserves to be respected - not simply tolerated. People tolerate a toothache." This was the passionate appeal of Maha Abdo, Executive Officer of the United Muslim Women Association, when she spoke to packed room of community leaders in Sydney on 22 April.
Despite the adverse weather, many Uniting Church members joined people from different faiths, community organisations, unions and university students for the Sydney Alliance education event on the history and practice of Islam.
“Hands up if you think Natasha is Australian?”
A few students raise their hand. Others are more cautious, slowly creeping a hand in the air.
“Hands up if you think Natasha is not Australian?”
A flurry of hands go up, eager to get the answer right.
Natasha Nathanielsz is a young Christian woman of Sri Lankan background. She is one of three presenters at a Together for Humanity workshop being run at a Sydney primary school.
“What gets picked up by media on how we perceive people of other faiths is not always the real story. There needs to be an affirmative narrative on what relationships with other faiths is about and I think that’s a responsibility for all of us in the Church.” Rev. Sef Carroll
The importance of interfaith dialogue in today’s multicultural and multi-faith world was the topic of a seminar by Rev. Sef Carroll at the United Theological College in Sydney on 11 March.
Muslim women bravely shared their stories of being the target of abuse on the street at a forum run by the Uniting Church in Melbourne. The aim was to give Muslim women the opportunity to share their stories of unjust and racist attacks and to work together with service providers and supporters to find solutions.
It was the second forum was organised by Interfaith Network Developer April Robinson from the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, and was runin partnership with Uniting Care Lentara and Dianella Community Health.
Muslim woman and cross-cultural educator Reem Hakem chaired the forum. She reflects on its success.
As we mark International Women’s Day, we celebrate the social, political and economical achievements of women all over the world and call for greater equality for women everywhere.
One of the areas that women make a significant contribution is interfaith relationships, activities and dialogue.
Overcoming violence and racism against Muslim women is the subject of a community forum organised by the Uniting Church.
Interfaith Network Developer April Robinson from the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania said the forum was a response to the unjust backlash against the Muslim community, following recent extremist violence.
Yes they can, if you ask the 17 leaders and representatives from different faiths who met at Parliament House on 9 February as members of the group Religions for Peace NSW.
Religions for Peace is Australia’s largest community organisation committed to inter-religious harmony and is affiliated with Religions for Peace International – the world’s largest coalition of religious representatives working towards peace.