Tasmania, February 2017

Tasmania Logo

Greetings of peace! At the moment we are celebrating UN World Interfaith Harmony Week, at a time when we are facing many challenges to the Interfaith movement.  As you will see from the items in this newsletter, however, there is great enthusiasm to meet those challenges. Our gathering for February will be in collaboration with the Multicultural Council of Tasmania on the evening of 23 February 2017. 

Greetings of peace!

Our gathering for February will be in collaboration with the Multicultural Council of Tasmania. This time last year, we held an event at Parliament House in Hobart to celebrate the peace-building initiatives our communities were engaged in.  As a result of that several politicians suggested we hold a gathering to help educate politicians about some of the issues faced by minority faith communities in Tasmania. 

In December 2016, Anna Reynolds, CEO of the Multicultural Council of Tasmania, invited us to speak to the McoT Board about obstacles confronting minority faith communities here.  Narinder, Ajit, Usman, Ros and I attended and received a very kind welcome and generous hearing to our concerns about the rise in religious intolerance and racial abuse and our February gathering follows on from that.

Consequently, the Multicultural Council will host a politicians’ listening forum to enable people interested in participating to meet politicians to discuss matters of concern.  This is all the more important as the State government moves to water down the Anti-Discrimination Act to allow people to insult and offend others on the basis of race, age, sexual orientation, gender orientation and now including religious purposes.  There is no Minister for Multicultural Affairs in this state government, although the Labour Party have appointed Madeleine Ogilvy as Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs. So we do not have a direct voice in Cabinet.

It appears that a number of politicians have said they will come to the forum. This is a wonderful chance to speak directly to politicians to let them know how their activities affect our faith communities.  Please support this very helpful initiative with your attendance.

Event Details

  • When: Thursday 23rd February, 6 pm – 8 pm
  • Where: Multicultural Council of Tasmania, Red Cross House, 40 Melville St Hobart.
  • RSVP to Lucie Cutting, Communications and Engagement Officer, Multicultural Council of Tasmania on 6285 9907 or by email at office@mcot.org.au. (Refreshments will be provided, so please RSVP)

Please also express your interest in attending to me, too, as we gathered before the MCoT Board meeting in December to organise our thoughts and this was very helpful to our presentation.  Please invite as many people from your communities as are interested to come.  We must not miss such a good opportunity.


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Promoting Equality and Respect: an interfaith collaboration on preventing family violence

On Wednesday 8 March 2017 from 1.15-2.30pm, at the Hobart Town Hall, Macquarie St Hobart, our gathering entitled Promoting Equality and Respect: an interfaith collaboration on preventing family violence will be held. This gathering will include the launch in Tasmania of the resource (produced with the support of the Greater Dandenong Interfaith Network) by Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AC Governor of Tasmania to honour UN International Women’s Day.  A flier is attached.

Confirmed speakers are Jacqui Petrusma MP, Minister for Human Services and Minister for Women; Ms Hina Durrani, Women’s Chair Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia and Board Member of MCoT; Dr Geeta Lad, President of the Hindu Society of Tasmania, Ms Mukula McKenzie, Buddhist Chaplain at the Royal Hobart Hospital and The Very Rev’d Richard Humphrey, Dean of St David’s Anglican Cathedral. Cassy O’Connor, Leader of the Greens Party, will MC the program.

Please invite your wives/daughters/mothers/aunties, husbands/sons/fathers/uncles, friends and anyone interested in your faith communities. Again, this is a very important gathering. Could you let me know how many people are coming from your community, as light refreshments will be served and we will need to know numbers for catering purposes.


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Festivals this Month

  • Nirvana Day (Buddhism) ~ 15 February
  • Maha Shivaratri (Hinduism) ~ 25 February
  • Lent (Orthodox) ~  27 February


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Parliament of the World’s Religions

Parliament of Religions Webinar to honour UN Interfaith Harmony Week

Some of these webinars have already happened, but it appears they have been recorded if you would like to catch up with them. All calls will be broadcast via video live streaming and offer a live interactive session for participants to engage with speakers.

Topics include:

A more peaceful, just and sustainable world: Wednesday February 1, 2017, 12pm EST-1.00pm EST (Recorded)

The Next Act:  Interfaith Commitments to Climate Justice: Thursday February 2, 2017, 3.00pm EST – 4.00pm EST – An interactive forum will also be held for participants to exchange thoughts and questions with the panel on ways to put concern for sustainability into action. Help empower the global interfaith community to protect our neighbours and engage guiding institutions for climate justice!

The Dignity of Women Across the World’s Religions:  Monday February 6, 2017  12.pm EST-1.00pm EST – The dignity and the human rights of women is the civil rights issue of our time. The Women’s Task Force of the Parliament of the World’s Religions wishes to celebrate women’s leadership across the world’s religions, as well as explore new ways of fostering interfaith harmony and religious literacy that champions the contributions of women in their religious traditions and in improving our world.

Still Standing with Standing Rock: Tuesday February 7, 2017 12.00pm EST-1.00pm EST — The Parliament of the World’s Religions operates with a flourishing and unbreakable commitment to the advancement of the rights and affirmation of the dignity of all indigenous peoples who are our siblings on our shared sacred planet and partners in the interfaith movement. The ongoing action to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline at the Standing Rock Camp in South Dakota is one such opportunity to draw from the unique beauty every faith has to offer in compassionate action for our human family and shared sacred Earth.

For more information on World Interfaith Harmony Week and events around the world, please visit: http://worldinterfaithharmonyweek.com/?mc_cid=44563cd33e&mc_eid=37184f30fa


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Soul Food


Soul Food will recommence for this year this coming Sunday 5th Feb at 3pm.
The theme for this program is “The Path of Loving Kindness” reflecting on the spiritual significance of kindness for the well-being of the individual and society.  The music for this program will be Jeff Cheal – piano and Johanna Bostock – vocal.

As always we do our best to provide a thought provoking relaxing pleasant program for all, so please join us at the Baha’i Centre of Learning, 1 Brooker Ave, Hobart. Refreshments served.   For more information call Val 0404 080 768.


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World Meditation Hour

Join millions of people around the world for an hour of silent meditation for world peace. This will be held at the Brahma Kumaris Meditation Centre, 51 Tower Rd, New Town (Cnr Bell St) on Sunday 19 February 2017 from 6.30-7.30pm.


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Music for a Warming World

Music for a Warming World‘ is a stunning and unique multimedia experience which tells the story of climate change and what we, together, can do about it.
Previously hosted by Grand Stand for the Environment in Melbourne, there will be a performance at Clarence Uniting Church in Hobart. Here are the details:

    When: Friday 24th February, 7.30pm
    Where: Clarence Uniting Church Corner of York & Cambridge St, Bellerive
    Suggested donation $10 at door
    Sponsored by Climate Tasmania
    Contact: John McRae 0448 990 671

This is a cinema-style event which promises to be a memorable evening. Launched in Melbourne in 2016 by “The Simon Kerr Perspective’, it has been praised for its beauty, intelligence, musicianship and contemporary folk and world music.


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Australian Religious Response to Climate Change

Faith-based organisations across Australia working on climate change – Common Grace, Micah Challenge, Catholic Earthcare, Caritas, Uniting Church agencies – are joining forces to challenge Australia’s weak climate policies. With the federal government conducting a climate policy review later this year, we’re inviting ARRCC supporters to work with other people in their own electorate to gather signatures, on paper, for a giant petition. We want to make faith community support for strong action something which is impossible to ignore.

We envisage supporters would have the option of joining a local team, and of participating in a formally presentation of the signatures to their elected MP in the House of Representatives. Even if they prefer not to join the local team, everyone will gather as many signatures as they can. There’s a detailed process Guide and support will be available along the way.

We’re needing people in each electorate who are interested in being the Principal Petitioner, who has their name prominently on the petition and organises a handover to the MP Petition Organiser – who collects signatures (there will be more of these) Everyone gets sent the specific petition for their electorate when they register, eg, if the person lives in Barton the petition is addressed to Linda Burney who is the local MP.

It’s important that interested people register here: http://www.micahaustralia.org/climate-volunteer

We will be keeping a record of people who are Principal Petitioners or Petition Organisers. All the organisations will be sharing contact details of volunteers but that we are each agreed to confidentiality, such that these details will not be added to the data bases of each other’s organisations. They will be used for the purposes of this project only.

After registering, you will be sent the specific petition for your electorate, eg, if a volunteer lives in Barton the petition will be addressed to Linda Burney who is the local MP. All going well, you will be put in touch with others in your electorate who are collecting signatures, and you may want to meet with them and form a team. This could be a source of encouragement and solidarity. Or you may want to work independently. We envisage everyone would gather as many signatures as they can, and all signatures will be formally presented to their elected MP in the House of Representatives. There’s a detailed process Guide, and support will be available along the way.

Feel free to get in touch on the numbers below if you’d like to talk anything through.
with warmest blessings
Thea Ormerod

for the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change

Level 15, 179 Elizabeth St

Sydney NSW 2000

Ph: (02) 9150 9713

M: 0405 293 466

E: chair@arrcc.org.au

W: www.arrcc.org.au


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Our Mob, God’s Story

Our Mob, God’s Story is an art book with a difference, with more than 115 works in an exciting variety of styles and stories by over 65 established and emerging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. These artists are well-known and unknown, from communities, towns and cities across Australia, from Tasmania to the Tiwi Islands, from Ceduna to Cairns, from Perth to Wongthaggi, sharing their faith in over one hundred paintings inspired by Bible verses and stories, many well-loved, others not so well known, from Creation to the Crucifixion.

This publication has been funded by a generous donor and all proceeds will go towards publication of Scripture in mother tongues of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups. With a foreword by distinguished Aboriginal artist and educator Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann, Our Mob, God’s Story is an important contribution to Australian art. Celebrating the bicentenary of Bible Society in Australia, it is a powerful and beautiful witness to God’s love for the traditional custodians of this ancient continent which we now call Australia, and to the talent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.

This beautiful hard-covered book would be a wonderful addition to any book collection. It comes with a dust jacket and slip case, making it perfect for gift-giving.

Our Mob, God’s Story is a magnificent book of recent Australian Indigenous Christian art, to be published by Bible Society Australia to coincide with their 200th anniversary. Book launches will be held as part of the anniversary celebrations, in Hobart on Sunday 5 March at St David’s Cathedral 23 Murray St and in Launceston at St John’s Anglican Church 157 St John’s St, on Sunday 19 March, 2.30-4 pm for both events. For more information about the book, please see: https://www.bibleshop.org.au/ourmob.html. For information about the book launch and celebration, please phone 1300 242 537, or email bsa.tas@biblesociety.org.au.


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Pilgrimage to Kailash – Lake Manosarovar

Dear Fellow Pilgrims
Hari Om,
There will be another pilgrimage to Kailash/ Manasarovar in July 2017.  

The plan is to do the pilgrimage in July 2017 so as to be at the Holy Manasarovar on Guru Poornima day. Anyone interested should contact Swamiji straight away.

Swami Paramananda Saraswati
E: swamiparmananda@yahoo.com
M: +61 410 698 650 / +919892206554 (when in India)
W: www.swami-paramananda.net 


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Spiritual Survival

Soujourners has an article with links to five spiritual survival tips for the next four years. (That is, the four years of the Trump administration.) An example follows:

A couple of weeks ago I went out to lunch with the pastor of our church in Santa Fe, N.M. She asked, “What do you think you will do to respond to the Trump Administration?” My immediate response was, “I’m going to find a spiritual director.” I was serious. I had, in fact, been meeting monthly with a spiritual director during the past year, but in October she moved away. The unexpected election of Donald Trump plummeted me into such a mood of disbelief, emotional reactivity, and political angst that I was losing my spiritual center. Responding on Facebook to the latest outrage, while perhaps politically therapeutic, wasn’t satisfying my soul. I needed to become grounded again with my deepest self, and with God.

At a lunch with friends from church to process the aftermath of the election, my wife Karin said, “Donald Trump is going say or do something every day that will arouse us emotionally. And we can’t allow ourselves to be stuck in that place of continuous arousal, responding to him. We have to find safe spaces to support proactively the things we’re called to do.”
READ: Rise Up!

You can read more on Sojourners.


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Spiritual Care Australia

The next Spiritual Care Australia Conference is at the Gold Coast May 7-10, 2017.

We have a rich mosaic of excellent speakers lined up around the theme “Engaging a Mosaic of Care”, and look forward to a variety of practical and significant workshops. As well, you will be able to nourish yourself in the relaxed setting of the conference hotel, the Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise.

Details of the theme, the speakers, registration costs and more are on the conference website. Colleagues in allied health departments or local faith communities might also be interested in the offerings – feel free to spread the word!

We look forward to hearing from you if you have a workshop, a seminar or a paper to offer to your peers. All submissions are due by 31 December 2016.

< p style="font-size:larger;">Details are on the SCA Conference website: www.mosaicofcare2017.org

Please visit it on a regular basis for the latest news about this important professional development event. Registrations open 9 January and the Early Bird rate ends on 17 March, so get ready to sign up.



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ARRRC Conference

To mark the ten-year anniversary of the establishment of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC), the Committee warmly invites you to participate in our first Conference. It will be held jointly by ARRCC and the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture (ACC&C) on Friday – Sunday, September 8th – 10th, in Barton, near Parliament House, Canberra. For those who are interested, it will be followed by visits to Members of Parliament on Monday, September 11th.

Record-breaking weather events remind us that global warming is no longer something that will happen in the future. Global warming is upon us. We can only hope to mitigate the worst of its impacts and to build resilience. Now more than ever, the world needs people of faith to galvanise as witnesses to both our common humanity and respect for the earth.

ARRCC has a unique role in Australia in bringing together diverse people of faith, many of them from CALD communities, to collaborate on global warming as an urgent moral issue.

The Conference will be one opportunity to hone our skills and capacity to do this more effectively. It will serve to:

  • Inspire members to deepen their commitment to climate action;
  • Build greater solidarity among ARRCC’s diverse members from across Australia;
  • Sensitise participants to the call for solidarity with Aboriginal people in their defence of country;
  • Develop participants’ knowledge, skills and confidence.

Share and learn with the help of inspirational campaigners, Aboriginal Elders, Rabbis, Ministers, Imams and other faith leaders, skilled community organisers and experts in their fields.


  • Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, 15 Blackall St, Barton. 2600.
  • Starting 4pm Friday, September 8th
  • Finishing 4.30 pm Sunday, September 10th
  • Note that Friday evening is a sensitive time for those in the Jewish faith, so we ask you to arrive before sunset. As part of the evening, people will have the option of being introduced to some Friday evening Jewish practises.

More information here


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Secretary General’s Vision of Peace

With a brand new year upon us, Religions for Peace is pleased to announce the video release, on Monday 30 January, of Secretary General Dr. William Vendley’s ‘vision of peace’ video message for 2017.

“In it, Dr. Vendley draws the link between openness to transcendence and peaceful political societies. Today we have to work out that profound link in a way that is open and respectful of a plurality of citizens and views about the meaning of existence. If we are not open to the transcendent, we will disorder ourselves.”

Religions for Peace is delighted to share with you Secretary General Dr. William Vendley’s “Vision of Peace” Message for 2017, located here.



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Multifaith Religious Encounter – Israel

The Australian Council of Christians and Jews invite you to join for a unique experience where Christians, Jews and Muslims will explore Israel together while learning about the common roots of their respective faiths. The proposal is for a tour on around the following dates: October 24 – November 3, 2017.

Tentative program – subject to change. Bookings have not been made

Join us for this unique experience where Christians, Jews and Muslims will explore Israel together while learning about the common roots of their respective

Our goal is to promote understanding and tolerance amongst Muslims, Christians, and Jews. The program will enable participants to gain respect for and knowledge of both their own and others’ religions and beliefs while exploring Israel. Get an up close and unfiltered view of Israel in all its diversity and vibrance.

For more information contact:

  • Dr Philip Bliss OAM Chair CCJ Victoria and Treasurer ACCJ philipbliss@philipbliss.com
  • Rabbi Steve Burnstein Director, Saltz Center saltz@wupj.org.il

Download the Tentative Program for Multi-Faith Israel Encounter October 24 – November 3, 2017


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Pope Greets Global Catholic Climate Movement

I give a warm welcome to the delegation of the Global Catholic Climate Movement and I thank it for its commitment to look after our common home in these times of grave socio-environmental crisis. I encourage you to continue to weave networks so that the local Churches respond with determination to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. 

On February 1, 2017, the Pope appealed to local Churches to mobilize for the protection of the planet.

In the course of the General Audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, he greeted the delegation of the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM). The objective of the Movement is, notably, to sensitize Catholics through its networks, to promote ecological conversion “towards a low carbon society” and to require leaders to “engage in an ambitious climatic action.”

He thanked them for their “engagement in protecting our common home, in these times of grave socio-environmental crisis.”

“I encourage you to continue to weave networks so that the local Churches will respond with determination to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor,” continued the Pontiff.

In the crowd, the GCCM delegation waved banners greeting Pope Francis’ encyclical on integral ecology: “Cheers forLaudato Si‘.”


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It is telling to look at the image above and see that the fence has not stopped the flower from opening. Nor does any Executive Order signed by any man stop the human spirit from opening up and receiving energy, love and grace flowing from Source of All Creation. The sunlight touches the flower, the flower opens, the bees collect the nectar and the flower expresses the truth of being human: Gloria dei vivens homo! The glory of God is the human person, fully alive. The strophe from Iranaeus continues: vita autem hominis, visio dei: In order to be fully alive, the human must see God! Don’t lose sight of the goal.


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In peace,
Convenor RfP Tasmania Branch
Vice Chair, Religions for Peace Australia
Phone 6272 6521

Religions for Peace Tasmania

Religions for Peace Tasmania