Religions for Peace Tasmania Branch gives report on its activities for the latter part of Year 2020, along with plans for creation of a Compassionate City for Hobart, to culminate on UN Peace Day, 2021.
Branch Convenor Terry Sussmilch’s participation in the Migrant Support Group for COVID-19 from March till now, ensured that timely and accurate information was shared with Faith Leaders directly. This was valued because information needed to go to Faith Leaders as well as Community Leaders.
Members were grateful that the pandemic provided the opportunity for RfP members to join the conference of Religions for Peace International, 1st Assembly on Women, Faith & Diplomacy held in Lindau, Germany in November.
Religions for Peace Tasmania was also grateful to share two webinars with the Faith Communities Council of Victoria. The first was Faith Communities in Pandemic Times from the Victorian Faith Communities Council which looked at some of the questions from members of faith communities, answered by Prof John Catford.
The second was a webinar entitled Faith Communities Supporting Healthy Relationships, which showcased the project being undertaken by Dr Cathy Vaughan and her team at the University of Melbourne.
The Faith Communities Network of Tasmania took the initiative to create an ongoing partnership with Tasmania Police after concern was expressed in the local press about a raised possibility of an incident around Christmas. An online meeting involving 16 faith leaders was held with Inspectors from the Culture and People Group as well as the Special Response Group from Tasmania Police Emergency Management and the determination was made to continue with meetings on a regular basis. It was also pointed out to Police that the documents supporting self-help for faith communities was not in accessible English.
In December, members of Religions for Peace Tasmania joined Victorian Religions for Peace members and the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change for the third anniversary of Living the Change, celebrating the contributions people of faith can make to living simply and caring for the earth. The session was organised by Sue Ennis and Philippa Rowland. Interested people revisited our inspirations and practical experiences of walking gently on the earth. Many excellent intentions were made for people to lighten their carbon loads and there will be a group for follow-up.
On the evening of the Summer Solstice, at Hobart time 9.02pm on 21 December 2020, there was a national Ceremony led by the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the lands comprising Australia. Uluru is the centre of all the Aboriginal Songlines or Dreaming Paths of the country. Songlines are linked to the Creation stories in a culture that is more than 60,000 years old.
The Ceremony included silent meditation facing Uluru from every direction on the continent with the single powerful intention to give love to Mother Earth to recharge her heart. Everyone is invited to join at the same time.
In addition, from September, members of Religions for Peace Tasmania and the Faith Communities Network of Tasmania began exploring the possibility of Hobart becoming a Compassionate City. Two general meetings have been held, as well as one with the Director for Communities and relevant staff at the City of Hobart Council. There is considerable support from key members of the community, including from the Vice-Chancellor of UTas. This effort will continue with the aim of CoH signing on to the Charter for Compassion on 21 September 2021.
Convenor RfP Tasmania Branch
Vice Chair, Religions for Peace Australia
Phone 6272 6521