Religions for Peace NSW Report 2020

Religions for Peace NSWReligions for Peace (NSW) is a state-based associate branch of Religions for Peace Australia, which in turn is affiliated with Religions for Peace International. Josie Lacey AM, has chaired the NSW Branch of Religions for Peace for the last 18 years and provides report of the final meeting for 2020.

At our final meeting for the year , a difficult year for so many with lockdowns, and the virus hovering. WE began our meeting acknowledging the original owners of the land, followed by a minute of silent contemplation , taken by The Ven Gayatriprana, who also spoke to us about the recent Hindu Festival of Diwali followed by a talk on Social Justice, with Emeritus Professor Bettina Cass AO , a new member.

Topics for dicussion at our meeting were:
Zoroastrian Religion, with Zarir Bamji,
Social Cohesion with Bahai leader Ida Walker,
Hanukkah with Ian Lacey AM, and
Christmas, with Rev. Fr. Patrick McInerney

Then Q&A at the morning’s most interesting Zoom meeting of Religion for Peace ( RfP ) NSW, which I have been privileged to chair for some 10 years.

Also attending was The Reverend Dr David Gill AM from the Uniting Church, Wilma Viswanathan and Caroline Haski, Robert Grant from Rama Krishna Sarada Vedanta and Professor Abd Malak AM.

Many apologies at this time of the year , Our Host Walt Secord , Vijay Singal and Jeremy Jones AM, Buddhist leader Mohini Gunesekera AM Zohra Ali, Lorraine Murphy and others. Many thanks to Sachin Saxena from the Hon Walt Secord’s office who helped organise our zoom meeting.

We have been very privileged to have the Hon Walt Secord MLC Shadow Treasurer as our host over the years.
I’d like to thank Barbara Miller, who is married to Norman an Aboriginal Australian and has a son Michael. She has been working for Aboriginal advancement since 1970 as a Uni student. I asked Barbara Miller to write a draft resolutions for RfP NSW, which we then endorsed. National RfP then used these drafts resolutions to lobby Federal government.
Interfaith Charter: The Sydney Statement

The Sydney Statement

Religions for Peace (NSW) is a state-based associate branch of Religions for Peace Australia, which in turn is affiliated with Religions for Peace International.

As the Convenor of Religions for Peace (NSW), it is my great pleasure to endorse The Sydney Statement. It is a very impressive interfaith document which spells out the values and principles for building better relations between believers from different religions. The 21 commitments it proposes provide practical ways of achieving that vision.

Religions for Peace (NSW) has representatives from 8 major world religions and faith traditions – Baha’ism, Buddhism, Christianity (Catholic, Uniting Church and Coptic), Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism. We follow interfaith principles and practices very similar to those enumerated in The Sydney Statement. For example, through dialogue and sharing we have learnt about each other’s faiths; many of us have visited each other’s places of worship for religious festivals; some of us have visited each other’s homes for religious and family events. In short, we have become friends.

The Sydney Statement is a great achievement. I recommend it be made part of the curriculum of every school in the state, especially for the interfaith dimension of HSC Studies of Religion. I also propose it as a resource for discussion, reflection and action by faith, interfaith and civic groups everywhere.

Youth PoWR (Parliament of the World’s Religions) is to be congratulated for generating and publishing The Sydney Statement as a charter for achieving their dream for interfaith relations in our city and in our state, as are the various organisations who supported and guided them throughout this project.
Josie Lacey OAM
Convenor, Religions for Peace (NSW)


Religions for Peace NSW
Members of Religions for Peace NSW with Hon. Walt Secord, Shadow Treasurer