Tasmania – July 2015

Tasmania Logo

The next gathering of Religions for Peace Tasmania Branch will be held from 1.00-2.30pm on Saturday 4 July 2015 at the UTAS Multifaith Centre, TUU Building, Churchill Ave., Sandy Bay, when Swami Paramananda Saraswati will share his wisdom about the Bhagavad Gita as a spiritual guide.


The next gathering of Religions for Peace Tasmania Branch will be held from 1.00-2.30pm on Saturday 4 July 2015 at the UTAS Multifaith Centre, TUU Building, Churchill Ave., Sandy Bay, when Swami Paramananda Saraswati will share his wisdom about the Bhagavad Gita as a spiritual guide. A flyer is attached for this session.

As Bede Griffiths said about his book ‘River of Compassion: A Christian Commentary on the Bhagavad Gita‘: The Bhagavad Gita or Song of God is a spiritual classic. It belongs not only to Hindus but to all the world, and is part of the spiritual inheritance of mankind. In his commentary, Bede Griffiths wanted to show how the scripture can be a spiritual guide to Christians and to anyone in search of a guide on the spiritual path.

Swami Paramananda Saraswati is an inspiring and enthusiastic person with many unique qualities, belonging to the lineage of Adi Shankaracharya , is visiting Hobart from 3rd July to 5th July 2015.

He will be delivering speeches and Satsangs on Nine steps or ways of Love and Devotion based on Tulasi Ramayana – one of the most popular and venerated Ramayanas. Attached please find the brochure for the programme.

  • Dates:
  • Friday 3rd July 2015 – 6.30 pm to 8.00pm
  • Saturday 4th July 2015 – 4.00 pm to 5.30pm
  • Sunday 5th July 2015 – 4.00 pm to 5.30pm
  • Venue:
  • Migrant Resource Centre, 49 Molle Street, Hobart.
  • All are welcome.

Ramadan Muburak!

We extend our good wishes to our Muslim friends who are celebrating Ramadan at this time. This period of fasting is for Muslims a time of self-discipline, giving to others and focusing on God.

Community Iftar dinners where non-Muslims are invited to “break the fast” with people of Muslim faith are important opportunities to build interfaith friendship.

There will be an opportunity to join the breaking of the fast at the UTAS Multifaith Centre at a date to be confirmed. Please contact Thay for details on 0477 513 281.

Soul Food


Soul Food Session at the Baha’i Centre

Soul Food – Sunday July 5th 3pm.

This month’s program “Sweet Scents of Friendship aims to develop the theme of friendship as a foundation for the unity of humankind and is designed to encourage us to cherish the love we share with our fellow man as we become aware of how these quotes and readings can profoundly impact unity and peace in our community as expressed in the divine teachings. The music for this program will be, “The Fort’e Fied Choir”, conducted by John Alyson and, as always, delightful and entertaining.

We also promise you a nice afternoon tea with lots of hot food to warm the body. Hosted in the tranquil ambience of the Bahá’í Centre of Learning, (Behind A.B.C. building) 1 Tasman Highway, providing an opportunity to be inspired, uplifted and to celebrate our humanity and oneness in a spirit of friendship and unity. This pleasant meditative afternoon is a free Community inspired event


Tasmanian Council of Churches

Bob Faser sends a prayer request:

Your prayers are urgently requested for Father Terry Southerwood. Fr. Terry is a retired priest of the Catholic Archdiocese of Hobart, and a long-term Executive member (and past President) of the TCC, who has been ecumenically active within the Tasmanian, national, and global areas. Fr. Terry is seriously ill, and is presently at home following a few weeks in hospital.

Bob Faser has concluded his term as Liaison Officer of the TCC. E-mails for the TCC should be sent to tcctas@bigpond.net.au, not to Bob;s personal e-mail address. E-mails for Bob Faser as an individual should be sent to bobfaser@hotmail.com, not to the TCC e-mail address.

Chagtong Chentong:
Hobart Buddhist Meditation Centre

Ven Robina Courtis

Australian-born Buddhist Nun Ven Robina will join us once again ( her 7th visit to Chagtong Chentong) offering us an extraordinary opportunity to hear the teachings in a most vibrant, dynamic way full of great wisdom and compassion and kindness. She will keep us on our toes every moment – sometimes really pushing us to a personal limit we didnt know existed ! This visit we have the added advantage of attending the teaching in a non-residential Retreat style presentation – including discourse, discussion and guided meditation sessions.

  • Hobart Program – JULY 8–12, 2015
  • Wednesday 7–8:30pm
  • Public Talk: Refuge: The Path to Inner Freedom
  • 166 Warwick Street, West Hobart 7000
  • Thursday 7–8:30pm
  • Public Talk: A Wish to Change
  • KickstartArt Centre St Johns Park NewTown
  • Saturday 8:30am–6pm
  • Sunday 8:30am–3pm
  • Living Happily – Dying Peacefully – Medicine Buddha Retreat
  • KickstartArt Centre St Johns Park NewTown
  • Chagtong Chentong
  • Contact: +61 (3) 6267 9203
  • chagtong@gmail.com
  • Read more

Launceston News

Launceston Community Festival for Peace

The inaugural Community Festival for Peace will take place in Launceston from 10-12 July 2015. This innovative project offers the community opportunities to define and share what PEACE means to them as individuals and organisations. ‘Peace’, in the context of this concept, is not only about the conflict of wars: it is about our behaviour as citizens of local communities and global societies. At a community level, the Festival aims to celebrate the roles of art, diversity, education and sport in building community cohesion and goodwill between people.

You can find out more about what’s happening in Launceston on the Community Festival for Peace Facebook Page. (Lots of events, flashmob, sky projections, Chorus of Contentment, etc. )

From Rev. Shari in Launceston:

Shari from Launceston Inter
faith Spiritual Community writes: Our next meeting is Monday July 20th, 1 – 2.30 pm at the Ida Birchall Room, 36-8 Paterson St. Our topic will be – “Hearts and Minds in Open Conversation”. This will be a time of sharing and learning from, through and with each other. You may even like to have different perspectives on something you have learnt, heard or read recently – bring all such offerings with you. Meditation, inclusive prayer, sacred music, readings and reflection will open and close our gathering. All welcome.

When: Monday July 20th, 1.00 – 2.30 pm. Where: Ida Birchall Room, 36-38 Paterson St

For more details PH: 0431909172 E: interfaithtasmania@gmail.com

Vegetarian Cooking!

Terry advises that the Brahma Kumaris will be giving a Vegetarian Cooking demonstration:

  • Vegetarian Cooking Demonstration
  • Where: Brahma Kumaris Meditation Centre
  • When: 1.00-4.30pm on Saturday 18 July
  • Bookings essential: 6278 3788 or hobart@au.brahmakumaris.org

For those who might be in Melbourne …

Pope Francis

Pope Francis and other Prophetic Voices
Calling Us to Reshape the Public Sphere

Australian Catholic University (ACU) is conducting a conference “Pope Francis and other Prophetic Voices: Calling Us to Reshape the Public Sphere” on September 17th -18th 2015. This conference invites people from all walks of life, all faith traditions and people more generally to listen to the prophetic message of Pope Francis and others who are calling for a profound transformation of public discourse, governance and citizenship within and between countries.

  • Two day conference:
  • Pope Francis and other Prophetic Voices: Calling Us to Reshape the Public Sphere
  • Thursday 17th to Friday 18th September 2015 8:30am registration, 9:00am – 5:30pm
  • St Michael’s Uniting Church, 120 Collins Street, Melbourne
  • Download a Brochure for this event

From Dr William Vendley Secretary-General Religions for Peace:

Warm greetings.

For Religions for Peace, taking action to protect the earth and its climate is for each believer-in accordance with her or his faith tradition-a serious religious obligation. Today, I am very pleased to report to you that we can see more and more religious leaders using the teachings of their respective traditions to mobilize their believers for action.

One of the deeply encouraging qualities of these many religious calls for action is their positive multi-religious spirit. Today, leaders of so many diverse religions are calling their respective believers to cooperate with the believers of other religious traditions to take action to protect the earth.

Recently Religions for Peace collaborated with the Vatican Pontifical Academy of Science/Social Sciences and the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network to host a remarkable gathering of scientists, religious representatives, heads of states and the United Nations Secretary General. Your esteemed Religions for Peace colleagues were vital contributors to this important meeting. You will find a press report on this meeting here. While this press report understandably focuses on Pope Francis, a central feature of it deals with the great importance for collaboration among the world’s diverse faiths. Your colleagues in Religions for Peace were outstanding participants in this important gathering.

Religions for Peace will soon launch its “Faiths for Earth” campaign. The campaign will invite religious believers around the world to make concrete commitments-based on their own faith tradition-to take action to protect our shared home.

You would also appreciate, I felt, an encouraging article written by Religions for Peace International Trustee Professor Dr. Jeffrey Sachs. In that article, Professor Sachs reports on the recent agreement of the G7 states to decarbonize their energy systems by the end of this century. The fact that the G7 states are now openly committing to great change is an important sign. The frank admission that we have to change course is itself an important step, although many additional hard steps await us.

Let me urge that each of us re-doubles his or her commitment to use faith as source of inspiration, strength and commitment to collaborate.

Grateful for our partnership, I remain
Yours in Peace,
Dr. William Vendley
Secretary General RfP

From the Times of Israel:

One of the great tasks of Jewish education is to deliberately create an atmosphere of rebellion among its students. Rebellion, after all, is the great emancipator. We owe nearly all of our knowledge and achievements not to those who agreed but to those who differed. It is this virtue that brought Judaism into existence. Avraham was the first rebel, destroying idols, and he was followed by his children, by Moshe, by the prophets, and finally, by the Jewish people.

What has been entirely forgotten is that the Torah was the first rebellious text to appear in world history. Its purpose was to protest. It set in motion a rebel movement of cosmic proportions the likes of which we have never known. The text includes all the radical heresies of the past, present and future. It calls idol-worship an abomination, immorality an abhorrence, the worship of man a catastrophe. It protests against complacency, self-satisfaction, imitation, and negation of the spirit. It calls for radical thinking and drastic action without compromise, even when it means standing alone, being condemned and ridiculed.

All of this seems to be entirely lost on our religious establishment. We are instructing our students and children to obey, to fit in, to conform and not stand out. We teach them that their religious leaders are great people because they are “all-right-niks” who would never think of disturbing the established religious and social norms. We train them to view these leaders as the ideal to be emulated. But by doing so, we turn our backs on authentic Judaism and convey the very opposite of what Judaism is meant to project.

By using clichés instead of the language of opposition, we deny our students the excitement of being Jewish: excitement resulting from the realization that there is a need to revolt and take pride in it, no matter the cost; excitement at the awareness that they are part of a great mission for which they are prepared to die, knowing that it will make the world a better place because they are the real protestants.

When we teach our children to eat kosher, we should tell them that this is an act of disobedience against c
onsumerism that encourages human beings to eat anything as long as it tastes good. When we go to synagogue, it is a protest against man’s arrogance in thinking that he can do it all by himself. When couples observe the laws of family purity, it is a rebellion against the obsession with sex. By celebrating Shabbat, we challenge our contemporary world that believes our happiness depends on how much we produce.

As long as our religious educators continue to teach Jewish texts as models of approval, instead of manifestations of protest against the mediocrity of our world, we will lose more of our young people to that very mediocrity. Judaism, in its essence, is an act of dissent, not of consent. Dissent leads to renewal. It creates loyalty. It is the force that compels the world to grow.

To forget this is to betray Judaism.

From Zenit:

Vatican Nuncio in Holy Land: Dialogue is Local Church’s Great ‘Challenge’
Says Christians Still Cling to Hope Following Attack at Church of the Multiplication

This report is contributed by Marta Petrosillo of Aid to the Church in Need

In wake of the arson attack on the Church of the Multiplication on the Sea of Galilee, the Vatican’s diplomatic representative to the Holy Land said the local Church faces a significant challenge in pursuing dialogue with factions in the Jewish community that appear to outright reject Christianity.

To “transform a shared home into a family, through dialogue, that is the challenge” for the Church in the Holy Land, said Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, the papal nuncio in Israel and apostolic delegate for Palestine, in an interview with international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need.

Regardless, he stressed, the Christian community is continuing to pursue the path of dialogue—dialogue among Christians, and dialogue with Jews and Muslims. “This is what Pope Francis is constantly recalling us to—to educate ourselves and others to dialogue.” Reconcil

iation, he suggested, would encourage members of the region’s already tiny Christian community not to emigrate.

One possible hope for the future be the Hebrew-speaking Catholic community, which has grown rapidly in recent years, thanks to the presence of the children of Catholic migrant workers in Israel. “This is a new and beautiful reality, to which we must pay careful attention and which may in future play a fundamental role,” the archbishop said.

Asked about the wall that seals off the West Bank from Israel proper and the usually difficult process involved in Palestinian Christians seeking access to holy places in Israel, the prelate noted a a greater openness on the part of the Israeli authorities. “We are against the walls, but it has to be said that this year we have noted a much more positive attitude. At Easter and at Christmas, more permits were granted than in the past and many of the faithful were also able to leave Tel Aviv, which previously was prohibited,” he said.

Holy Land Christians are also hopeful about the spotlight put on the accord between the Holy See and the Palestinian state. “This agreement will provide us with a legal guarantee. In Palestine, the Christian community enjoys freedom of religion and worship. However, from now on, this freedom will not merely depend on the goodwill of whoever is in government—rather it will be a right recognized by the state, which is now officially committing itself for both the present and the future of the Church,” Archbishop Lazzarotto said.


Following on from the theme of the Bhagavad Gita as the River of Compassion, all rivers wend their way to the ocean, as does the Derwent at Hobart. We know that the Derwent River has its origin in Lake St Clair in the Central Highlands of Tasmania.


Mt Olympus at Lake St Clair, Tasmania

Mt Olympus at Lake St Clair, Tasmania

From the Art Gallery of NSW:
Son of a convict transported to Van Diemen’s Land in 1830, WC Piguenit was schooled in Hobart and later worked in the Department of Lands survey office as a draughtsman. He received rudimentary instruction in painting, however he was largely self taught, making sketching and photography trips to remote and spectacular regions of Tasmania. Piguenit painted in the colonial Romantic tradition, describing nature in terms of its infinite mystery combined with a topographical essence of its features.

‘Mount Olympus’ is one of many works in which Piguenit painted Tasmania in terms of a sublime majesty evoked through a masterful orchestration of earth, water and sky and dwarfed human activity. It was the first oil painting acquired by the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

In peace,
Convenor RfP Tasmania Branch
6272 6521

Religions for Peace Tasmania

Religions for Peace Tasmania