Remembering Nelson Mandela
Along with Martin Luther King, the Dalai Lama, Mahatama Gandhi and Aung San Suu Kyi, Nelson Mandela stands as the great icon of forgiveness and reconciliation. "We have lost one of the most influential, courageous, and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth. He no longer belongs to us – he belongs to the ages". (President Obama)
Nelson Mandela inspired us all by his leadership and enduring commitment to the recognition of the worth of every human being. The freedom and reconciliation that followed years of injustice and struggle will continue to capture the imagination of people everywhere.
Governor-General of Australia, H.E. Quentin Bryce with Nelson Mandela, in Johannesburg in March 2009
Boundaries and Balance:
Personal Freedom and Respect for the Sacred
The Interfaith Centre of Melbourne in collaboration with Religions for Peace, Victoria will conduct a symposium exploring religous boundaries, human rights and religous practices in public spaces on December 11, at St Michael's Church, Melbourne.
In a culturally and religiously diverse nation, points of tension continue to emerge between religious and key social values such as personal freedom and freedom of expression.
Boundaries have been shifting in the various attempts to accommodate cultural and religious practices within the process of maintaining the balances between human rights and respect for diverse social and belief traditions.
- But where are the boundaries to be drawn?
- How are the balances to be maintained in a socially cohesive society?
This symposium will address such issues through the various controversies that have divided contemporary Australia:
The symposium will be conducted on Wednesday, 11th December, 2013 at St Michael's Church, Collins St, Melbourne.
- Religious practices in public space.
- Religious Law and Civil Law: Lessons from the Clerical Sex Abuse Scandal.
- Exclusive Religions and Human Rights
- 5:30 pm Registration and Refreshments
- 6:00 pm - 7:45 pm Symposium
Prof. Des Cahill, OAM
Professor of Intercultural Studies RMIT University
Chair, Religions for Peace, Australia
Ms Kate Barrelle
Clinical and Forensic Psychologist, Phd Candidate Monash University
(Beyond Extreme - Disengagement from Violent Extremism in Australia)
President, Cult Information and Family Support (CIFS) Victoria Inc.
Venue: St Michael's Uniting Church Hall,
120 Collins Street, Melbourne (end of St Michael's Walk)
Tickets: Free. It is essential to Register Online at Eventbrite
Supported by: Religions for Peace (Vic) and Victorian Multicultural Commission
What: Symposium Boundaries and Balance: Personal Freedom and Respect for the Sacred
When: Wednesday, 11th December, 2013 at 5.30pm
Where: St Michael's Uniting Church Hall, 120 Collins Street, Melbourne (end of St Michael's Walk)
Cost: Free, please register online at Eventbrite
More information: Rev. Helen Summers, ph 9650 7163
Download a Flyer for this event
This event is supported by Interfaith Centre of Melbourne, Victorian Multicultural Commission and Religions for Peace Australia, Victoria Branch
Interspiritual Gathering for World Peace
Sunday, September 15, 2013
The Interfaith Centre of Melbourne invites you to a free event, An Interspiritual Gathering for World Peace. This event is a prelude to the International Day of Peace on Saturday, 21 September.
An Offering of sacred music, guided meditations and reflections from the Brahma Kumaris, Celtic Christian, Hindu, Indigenous, Jewish and Sufi traditions will take you on a journey to the deep inner peace and power which resides in us all.
Musicians performing will be master percussionist, David Jones and Carmen Warrington, meditation artist; Cath Connelly, harpist and Sathya Sai Youth Ensemble.
When: 6:00 pm - 7:30pm Sunday, 15th September, 2013
Venue: St Michael's Uniting Church, 120 Collins Street, Melbourne
Download a Flyer for this Event.
War is always a defeat for humanity, says Pope Francis
More than a hundred thousand people gathered in St Peter's Square on Saturday 7 September in response to Pope Francis' appeal for a day of fasting and prayer for peace in the light of the dramatic circumstances which have engulfed Syria.
Since then, the initiative has been welcomed and applauded not only by Catholics and other Christian confessions, but also by those belonging to other religions, from Buddhists to Jews and Muslims, and by Humanists and others who do not belong to any religion.
Multifaith Statement on Asylum Seekers
On behalf of Victoria's faith communities, we join together to call on all Australian political parties and leaders to treat asylum seekers with the respect they deserve, and to uphold their basic rights to seek asylum in Australia, and to work and contribute to the Victorian and Australian community.
All major faiths have a tradition of welcoming the stranger and the foreigner and assisting those in need, where every person is precious and entitled to live with dignity, and each person's life and rights are protected.
At the same time, we share the concerns of many in the community at the number of people who have perished as a result of attempting to arrive in Australia by boat to seek asylum.
As faith community leaders, we add our collective voice to that of many not-for-profit organisations, individuals, businesses and community groups who are seeking to ensure that all asylum seekers who are granted entry into Australia are afforded the right to work and the opportunity to sustain themselves as productive members of our community.
We call for:
- Avoidance of the use of negative rhetoric and language that dehumanizes asylum seekers; undermines the integrity of the discussion on this complex humanitarian issue; and perpetuate misunderstanding and intolerance;
- Immediate extension of the right to work to all asylum seekers released into the Australian community on bridging visas;
- Adequate Commonwealth support and living allowances to asylum seekers living in the Australian community on bridging visas so that they can sustain themselves and their families whilst they await the outcome of their claim for protection; and
- The Australian Government to work with other governments in our region, and globally, to find sustainable and, above all, compassionate solutions to the challenge of supporting asylum seekers.
This statement is supported by the following organisations and individuals:
Anglican Diocese of Melbourne,
Buddhist Council of Victoria,
Interfaith Centre of Melbourne,
Islamic Council of Victoria,
Jewish Community Council of Victoria,
UNESCO Chair in Interreligious and Intercultural Relations,
Uniting Church in Australia
For further information regarding this statement, please contact:
David Marlow on 0407 389 919 or firstname.lastname@example.org
NAIDOC WEEK, 2013
The Interfaith Centre of Melbourne is proud to support the National Gallery of Victoria's NAIDOC Week Celebrations in 2013.
NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
This year's theme celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the presentation of the Yirrkala Bark Petitions to the Federal Parliament.
The NGV will host a week-long festival of events to showcase and celebrate the talents of local and interstate Indigenous artists, performers, actors and directors, the biggest NAIDOC program ever undertaken by the NGV.
The NGV Ian Potter Centre, Federation Square
Thu 11 Jul, 12.30pm
Floor Talk: Aunty Joy Murphy Wandin
Qantas Airways Indigenous Galleries, Ground Level
Aunty Joy discusses the work of her Ancestor William Barak on display.
"Fire Blessing" Ancient Aboriginal Prayer, Rev Helen Summers
Thu 11 Jul, 6pm
Inaugural Keynote Lecture: Elina Spilia - Indigenous Art After the 1960s: Arnhem Land
Theatre, Ground Level
On the 50th anniversary year of the Yirrkala Bark Petitions, 1963, art historian Elina Spilia discusses landmarks in art from Arnhem Land since the 1960s, from traditional bark painting to international contemporary art.
Fri 12 Jul, 11.30am
Kids on Tour: Clinton Nain
Qantas Airways Indigenous Galleries, Ground Level
Indigenous contemporary artist, Clinton Nain takes families on a guided tour of the Qantas Airways Indigenous Galleries.
For a full program of events please visit the NGV website:
Download a Flyer for this event
Earth pigments, watercolour and pencil on paper
50.5 x 63 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
The Warren Clark Bequest, 2001
TRIBUTE FOR YUNUPINGU
We are deeply saddened at the passing of Yolgnu leader, Yunupingu.
Yunupingu was an inspiring leader of the Yolngu peoples of north-east Arnhem Land. He was the first Yolgnu person to gain a Bachelor of Arts (Education) from Deakin University in 1988 and the nation's first Aboriginal school principal. As Principal of Yirrkala Community School he introduced the system of two-way learning, bringing together Western and Aboriginal knowledge.
Yunupingu was widely acclaimed as the lead singer of the successful band, Yothu Yindi (meaning child and mother = balance) which he co-founded in 1986 with Yolngu and Balanda (non-Aboriginal) musicians. He introduced the Yolgnu peoples' music and culture all over the world, performing in the Gumatj and English languages. I had the privilege of meeting him and the Yothu Yindi performers in New York in 1992 and will always remember Yunupingu's warmth, his friendliness, his energy and his strong belief that Yolgnu and Balanda peoples could learn from each other. In Australia, the lyrics of Yothu Yindi's songs moved us all to reconsider our relationships with Aboriginal people. Their hit song Treaty became the anthem of the Reconciliation movement. In 1993 Yunupingu was named Australian of the Year.
Yunupingu continued to build bridges between Yolgnu and Balanda peoples through the Garma Festival of Traditional Culture, which was established in 1990 by elders from five of the Yolgnu clans. I was fortunate to experience two-way learning at the Garma Festival in 2008 - a life-changing experience.
Born in Yirrkala, Arnhem Land in 1956, Yunupingu was diagnosed with end-stage kidney disease in 2008 and died at his home in Yirrkala on June 3, 2013.
His legacy will live on through the Yolgnu peoples, through his music, the Garma (= both ways learning) Festival, and the wisdom which he shared with others.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and his community.
In respect to the tradition of his people, Yunupingu's first name and photograph have not been included in this tribute.
Buddha's Day and Multicultural Festival
Federation Square, Melbourne, 18 - 19 May 2013
2013 Interfaith Ceremony for Peace and Understanding
3:00 pm Saturday 18 May 2013, Buddha's Stage
The Interfaith Centre of Melbourne iparticipated in the 2013 Buddha's Day and Multicultural Festival, 18 - 19 May, in Federation Square.
Participants in the Interfaith Ceremony for Peace and Understanding in Procession, Federation Square, Melbourne
The Annual Interfaith Ceremony for World Peace and Understanding will take place at the Buddha's Stage, The Square, on Saturday May 18 at 3:00 pm.
Rev. Helen Summers of the Interfaith Centre of Melbourne
commences the Interfaith Ceremony for Peace and Understanding
Religious and Spiritual representatives joined with Venerables of Fo Guang Shan Melbourne to offer prayers, chants and reflections.
Participants in the Interfaith Ceremony for Peace and Understanding, Federation Square, Melbourne
The Rumi Concert
The Rumi Concert was performed for the first time in Australia, and recorded live, at St Michael's Uniting Church, 120 Collins Street, Melbourne on August 31, 2007.
2007 was the 800th anniversary of Rumi's birth and has been declared by UNESCO as The International Year of Mevlana (Rumi). The Rumi Concert is a glorious celebration of this mystic's legacy to people of the world's diverse religions and spiritualities.
Rumi (1207-1273) was a teacher, mystic, founder of what we know as Whirling Dervishes, and a poet of lyrical spiritual power. Born in Afghanistan, Rumi and his family became refugees and settled in Konya, Turkey. In 1244 he met the powerful spiritual seeker, Shams of Tabriz. Through his association with Shams, Rumi found a deeper level within himself, which he called the Friend or the Beloved. Rumi created 20,000 poems as oral extemporizations that were recorded by his students. Many of his verses are fervent love poems, although the eroticism is a metaphor of the soul's longing for God's love.
"His poetry reflects the transcendent longing we all feel. Rumi speaks to the times. He sees the Divine in grace and kindness, and also in the terrible things, revealing to us the ecstasy that resides at the deepest core of experience, and the way out of sorrow." Coleman Barks
An audio CD of Coleman Barks is available. To read more, please visit this page.
Religions are many, but is God one?
In observance of World Interfaith Harmony Week, Dr Nicholas Coleman (Head of Religious Education at Wesley College, Melbourne, and Vice-President of the Australian Association for Religious Education (Vic), Deputy Director of the Interfaith Centre of Melbourne) has kindly given a reflection entitled, Religions are many, but is God one? You may read Dr Coleman's reflection.
Harmony Video: Celebrating 2013 World Interfaith Harmony Week
Harmony from The Interfaith Centre of Melbourne on Vimeo.
All contributed individual works of art in this video, by individual artists, remains the property of the artist, and each artist retains copyright of his or her work.
- Asher Bilu: Cosmotif Series 1
- John Bayton: The Love of God is in the Dance of Joy
- John Bayton: Greater love has no man than this, to lay down one's life for one's friend.
- John Bayton: Love is poured out in Creation
- John Bayton: My love reaches to the heavens
- Peter Gould: Ishk
- Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori: Dibirdibi Country 2011
(Synthetic polymer paint on linen, 151 x 168 cm
Image courtesy of the Artist, Mornington Island Art, QLD and Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne)
- Marianne Baillieu: Prana Portrait III 1998
Mixed Media on Plywood, 240 x 120 cm, Collection of the Artist
- Philip George: Paradise Suite
- Ray Messner Photography, www.raymessner.com
Flickr Account, Parliament of the World's Religions Melbourne 2009
- Ahmad Sabra Photography: www.lahza.com.au
- Tom Fantl: : Photograph of Marianne Baillieu
CELEBRATING THE 2013 WORLD INTERFAITH HARMONY WEEK
First Week of February
The Interfaith Centre of Melbourne hosted a Morning Tea on Friday February 1st in Queens Hall, Parliament House Melbourne for religious, spiritual and community leaders to celebrate the 2013 World Interfaith Harmony Week and to launch the "Harmony' DVD.
Our partners this year were the Faith Communities Council of Victoria, the Islamic Council of Victoria, Religions for Peace Australia, the Shepparton Interfaith Network and the Australian Multicultural Foundation. Invited speakers were Mr Andrew Elsbury MLC, representing the Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship, Bishop John Bayton AM, Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, and Venerable Chi Kwang Sunim, Abbess of The Seon (Zen) Centre.
You may download Bishop John Bayton's talk here.
You may read Venerable Chi Kwang Sunim's talk here.
About World Interfaith Harmony Week
The World Interfaith Harmony Week was first proposed by HM King Abdullah II of Jordan before the United Nations General Assembly on September 23rd 2010. The proposal was further explained to the General Assembly on October 20th 2010 by HRH Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad, Personal Envoy and Special Advisor to the King of Jordan. The Resolution was unanimously adopted by the UN, with the first week of February being proclaimed as the World Interfaith Harmony Week between all religions, faiths and beliefs.
The Resolution also "encourages all States to support, on a voluntary basis, the spread of the message of interfaith harmony and goodwill in the world's churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship during that week, based on love of God and love of one's neighbour or on love of the good and love of one's neighbour, each according to their own religious traditions or convictions."
Participants at World Interfaith Harmony Week Launch
L to R: Rev. Helen Summers of the Interfaith Centre of Melbourne; Dr Helen Light AM, of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, Mrs Helen Heath OAM, Executive Officer of the JCMA at the Launch of World Interfaith Harmony Week, Parliament House, Melbourne
The DVD of images illustrating 'Harmony" was launched at the Morning Tea.
Rev Helen Summers, Director of The Interfaith Centre of Melbourne, and Ms Nur Shkembi, Arts Officer for the Islamic Council of Victoria, curated the images of people, places and sacred artworks to illustrate 'harmony' in the Confucian concept of 'beautiful and dynamic interaction between different elements within a whole' as explained by HRH Prince Ghazi bin Mohammad at the United Nations.
Mark Pederson of Chailight Productions created the DVD weaving the images together to convey the common values that bind us together as a community, as well as respecting the differences.
To celebrate World Interfaith Harmony Week, the DVD will be randomly displayed throughout the Week on the Big Screen at Federation Square and the Atrium from Friday 1st February to Friday 8th February, 2013 along with 15 scheduled screenings spreading the meaning of the World Interfaith Harmony Week to the wider community.
We are very grateful to Federation Square Pty Ltd for their generous sponsorship to screen 'Harmony' on the Big Screen for eight days.
Federation Square is Melbourne's 'Meeting Place' and one of the State of Victoria's most popular tourist destinations.
World Interfaith Harmony Week on the big screen, Federation Square
Love of the Neighbour, theme of the World Interfaith Harmony Week on the big screen, Federation Square
Respect, one of the values of the World Interfaith Harmony Week on the big screen, Federation Square
For a Schedule of Screening Times, please click here.
You can read more about World Interfaith Harmony Week on their website. Go to World Interfaith Harmony Week
World Interfaith Harmony Week 2013
"Love of God and Love of the Neighbour or Love of the Good and Love of the Neighbour"
World Interfaith Harmony Week is a UN Observance which takes place during the first week of February each year.
Planning and preparation are underway for a celebration of World Interfaith Harmony Week in Melbourne.
You can read more about World Interfaith Harmony Week on their website. Go to World Interfaith Harmony Week
Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, AC, DBE
8th February 1909 - 5th December 2012
The Interfaith Centre of Melbourne is deeply saddened at the passing of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch at the age of 103.
Dame Elisabeth was genuinely interested in interfaith activities and the sacred arts. She was a Patron of the 2009 Melbourne Parliament of the World's Religions and generously supported the Arts and Culture Program, which included an exhibition especially curated for the Parliament, The Spirit Within Australian Contemporary Art.
We will miss her kindness, her generosity and her interest in our work.
- Reverend Helen Summers, Founder and Director
The Interfaith Centre of Melbourne was founded in 2000 as an educational and cultural non-profit organization. Our mission is to promote understanding and respect among the world's religious and spiritual communities living in the State of Victoria, and to build bridges of dialogue and friendship between communities in Melbourne, the region and the world, thus fostering peaceful coexistence.
Who We Are
The Founder and Director, Helen Summers, graduated from The New Seminary, New York, in 1997 and was ordained in The Cathedral of St John the Divine as an Interfaith Minister. In general, interfaith ministers remain members of their own religious tradition, but are informed, knowledgeable and deeply respectful of the world's diverse religions and spiritualities.
The Interfaith Centre of Melbourne is advised by international and national religious leaders and wisdom-keepers. We work in collaboration with relevant organizations and individuals who are all dedicated to promoting mutual understanding and cooperation among faiths, within Australia and throughout the World.
What We Do
In consultation with our advisors, we develop seminars and educational programs and produce artistic events for the public. Through our programs, we develop active partnerships with religious and ethnic groups, educational institutions and the United Nations Association of Australia.
For more information:
Telephone: 03 9650 7163
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