Greetings of peace and many good wishes for the year ahead!
This week is UN World Interfaith Harmony Week, a celebration to promote a culture of peace and non-violence, particularly among people of faith.
It’s so important to celebrate the small acts of kindness that happen every day between people of different faiths to support one another in our daily lives and especially during difficult times.
We share a message honouring UN World Interfaith Harmony Week from the Chair of Religions for Peace Australia, Emeritus Professor Desmond Cahill OAM, and a link to a message from the President of the Parliament of the World’s Religions announcing events which may be accessed online during February.
There is also a letter from Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Co-President of Religions for Peace International, to his countrymen in Myanmar after the coup which occurred there recently.
Holy Days in February 2021
|8 February||Nirvana Day||Buddhism|
|12 February||Chinese New Year||Confucianism, Taoism
Pure Land Buddhism
Tibetan New Year
|13 February||National Apology Day||The Stolen Generations|
|17 February||Ash Wednesday||Christianity|
|27 February||Magha Puja Day||Buddhism|
From Emeritus Professor Desmond P. Cahill OAM:
Dear Religions for Peace Members and Interested Persons,
This week is World Interfaith Harmony Week across the world. This (https://www.un.org/en/observances/interfaith-harmony-week) was conceived to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence. This week was first proposed by King Abdullah II of Jordan at the United Nations in 2010. This suggestion was quickly adopted by the UN General Assembly which declared the first week of February each year as World Interfaith Harmony Week . This week calls on governments, institutions and civil society generally to observe it with various programs and initiatives that would promote the aim of the World Interfaith Harmony Week objectives.
The theme of this eleventh year is “Building Bridges Across Boundaries”. Thus Religions for Peace Australia would like to draw your attention to some of the bridges we as a nation and people of religious faith and no faith have successfully walked over during this first COVID year. Religions for Peace Australia has been lobbying with others for many of these boundaries to be crossed as you can see from our website.
These boundaries have been:
- the boundaries between medical experts and State and Federal Governments and people of religious faith and no faith have been crossed allowing Australia to date to suppress COVID
- the boundary of care between the Government and our people has been crossed by the releasing of Federal and State funds to support our people at this time even though coverage has not been 100 per cent
- the boundaries between the generations with young adult Australians curbing their life-styles to care for their elders, other vulnerable people as well as themselves
- the boundaries between faith leaders and State and Federal Governments in faith leaders’ efforts to lobby for the most vulnerable
- the boundaries between people of faith and no faith as members of faiths have fed and supported vulnerable residents of Australia during this time
- the boundaries between COVID economic support and carbon reduction.
In the year 2021, Religions for Peace Australia has committed itself to crossing one more bridge. We know a number of people of faith and others of good will have been involved in reconciliation with First Nations people for many years and we thank them for this.
This year, 2021, Religions for Peace Australia has committed to the building of bridges between the First Nations Peoples of Australia and our multifaith Australian community. Building this bridge needs to be gently crossed with great listening and care and will take some years. We will be making quiet steps to build this bridge and some things you will see on our website and some you will not know. We would ask you to join Religions for Peace Australia and other Australians on a personal, collective and spiritual journey. We would ask you to hold these aspirations in your prayers/ meditations and discern what learnings and/or action you are called to make around this historic injustice and to work for a just Australian reconciliation.
Emeritus Professor Desmond P. Cahill OAM, RMIT University
Chair, Religions for Peace Australia
Deputy Moderator, Asian Conference for Religions for Peace
Religions for Peace Australia ( RfPA) is the only Australian multifaith organization which has branches or affiliates in all States / Territories. RfPA is an affiliate of the Asian Conference for Religions for Peacewhich is part of Religions for Peace International. RfPI is the world’s largest and most representative multi-religious coalition, that advances common action among the world’s religious communities for peace. RfP was 50 years old in 2020!
Parliament of the World’s Religions
The official observance of UN World Interfaith Harmony Week began on Saturday, January 30th and, although officially the week ends on 7 February, there are many events available online throughout February, as organizers around the world come together to spread the message of harmony and tolerance among the followers of all the world’s religions, faiths and beliefs. Programs seek to do this by promoting their common basis of “Love of God and Love of the Neighbour, or Love of the Good and Love of the Neighbour”.
For example, NextGen Task Force will host a virtual program Building Better Together on 17 February 2021.
Jewish Community Council of Victoria
On 27 January 2021 International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a remarkable online event commemorated the horror of the Holocaust. You can find the story of a survivor here: Living with the memory of the Holocaust – ABC Religion & Ethics and more details of the event here: https://austfhu.org.au/events/international-holocaust-remembrance-day-27-january-2021/
St David’s Cathedral
As part of our Blooming Church Festival, we are pleased to present “Meditations in Music” on Sunday 7th February 2021 from 2.00-3.00pm led by the Cathedral’s Director of Music, Thomas Rimes.
Members of the Cathedral Choir will be joined by several guest musicians, including Andrew Short and Alexandra Bekes, to create a unique program which combines traditions of Gregorian chant, choral music and spoken word with the sounds of prayer bells and percussion.
Tickets are $15. Door sales will be available (subject to availability). The event will be held at St David’s Cathedral, 23 Murray St., Hobart. Funds raised from this concert go directly to support the ongoing Music Ministry of St David’s Cathedral.
The Blooming Church Festival itself will be held over the Regatta Day weekend at the Cathedral and during the weekend, there will be floral displays, a botanical art exhibition called Plants of the Bible, musical performances, second-hand book sales, tours of the Cathedral, and art demonstrations. New this year is an interactive children’s garden with a discovery challenge and prizes.
All are welcome to attend and admission to the festival is free.
Soul Food is back again with lots of inspiring programs to share, so come along this Sunday 7th Feb. 3pm to the Baha’i Centre of Learning, to join us for the first program for the year”Treasures of Friendship”. The music for this program will be provided by Matthew Dames and Anna Talbot (Vocal, guitar and bodhran) giving us a delicate blend of soaring vocal harmonies.
Refreshments will be served in compliance with Covid protocols . This is a free community event and we would love to share it with you.
Hobart Buddhist Meditation Centre
Tuesday evening meditation
We are starting up our Tuesday evening sessions again from the second Tuesday in February. Sessions will run from 6.30 pm.
February 9th will be a Zoom only session. We will be doing an introduction to meditation and to our program for the next few months. The direct link for Zoom is below.
From February 16th through to the end of May we will be trialling Tuesday evening sessions at Kickstart Arts, St Johns Park. These sessions will be Covid-safe and held in Kickstart’s Golden Room. If you want to come along please bring your own cushion. Alternatively, you can attend via Zoom using the link below.
Zoom Meeting Time: 6.30 pmZoom Meeting ID: 937 472 284Or
More information about our current program.
Revisiting our Walking Humbly Journey
We are hoping to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the start of our Walking Humbly Journey, which began on 11 January 2011 at the Springs on kunanyi/Mount Wellington.
If you would like to join in the celebrations, please contact Terry on 0438 069 728.
Living the Change
A Living the Change support group run by Dr Sue Ennis (Secretary Religions for Peace Australia) is currently being held online on the first Wednesday of the month at 7.30pm, with the aim of supporting those who are making changes towards a more sustainable lifestyle. If you are interested in attending, please contact Sue on email@example.com
There will be a featured article in Faiths for Earth on the Religions for Peace Website each month. The introductory article is found here. The first Care for the Earth is given from Indigenous traditions. The Religions for Peace Australia website will be featuring a different faith every month, together with its call to action on the environment.
Here is The Precautionary Principle – Climate Change Debate Animation – YouTube
Brahma Kumaris Meditation Centre
Brahma Kumaris Australia has launched a Virtual Meditation Centre for those interested in learning to meditation. It may be found at brahmakumaris.org.au/virtual-centre
Many Australian Brahma Kumaris Mediation Centres are now regularly holding online events. In the online view of the internet, all of those events will be seen together and accessed live, as if they were all happening under the same roof. Each of them may be attended by anyone, anywhere.
The rabbi and the imam – The Australian Jewish News (timesofisrael.com) An interfaith relationship that began after the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh two years ago has developed into a friendship that saw an imam visit St Kilda Shule recently.
Neighbourhood experience and Islamophobia in Sydney and Melbourne: Humanitarianism, Migration & Development – RMIT University
The analysis of the survey findings indicate that sharing spaces with Muslim residents decreases feelings of Islamophobia.
“Gathering under the ‘tent of unity’”: Interfaith in PNG finds new path | BWNS (bahai.org) First Interfaith gathering in PNG
Convenor RfP Tasmania Branch
Vice Chair, Religions for Peace Australia
Phone 6272 6521