We’re all in the same boat: stories of adaption and resilience from Australia’s religious communities in the time of COVID-19

 Scanlon Foundation Research InstituteThe Scanlon Foundation Research Institute is building a picture of how religious communities have adapted to having their places of worship closed and the new regulations that will govern their activities once they reopen.

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The N-word of God: Envisioning the image of Christ

Our Lady of Ferguson

(RNS) — In the New Testament’s Letter to the Ephesians, Paul writes, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood” — or race? — “but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world.” Could these things that Paul opposes be ideas and systems of human oppression that deny the knowledge of a God of justice and love?

In this time of mass protest and reexamining of America’s racial past and present, I’ve been thinking about art and especially how Christian images can contribute to, or hinder us from, processing our national discourse about social justice and Black Lives Matter.

I am African American. I make Byzantine-influenced icons. Taking a cue from the jargon of Orthodox Christians, I like to call myself an “iconographer.”

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Rejecting hatred and embracing tolerance is the true heart of Islam

Muslim World League logo

Tolerance. It is both a religious and a moral duty, a sacred tenet of Islam. Without tolerance, we would face only endless misunderstanding, disharmony and strife. And at the Muslim World League, it is something we offer unconditional commitment toward.

It is distressing and tragic that today we are mocked and ridiculed by fringe elements among those who claim to be Muslims, merely for honouring our sacred responsibility to respect and reach out to the leaders and adherents of the world’s other noble religions.

But no ridicule can deter us from our obligation. Even as the extremists pursue tactics of hatred and divisiveness, we at the Muslim World League will be guided by the true ideals of moderate Islam, which remain consistent and unchanging says Dr. Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa is secretary-general of the Muslim World League.

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From Islam to Buddhism, faiths have long encouraged stewardship of nature

UN Environment Programme

In most major religions there is scripture encouraging the protection and care of nature. From Buddhism to Christianity, Hinduism to Islam, faiths recognize the need for environmental stewardship and urge followers to be caretakers of the planet and its biodiversity.

Spiritual leaders play an important role in sharing religious practices and passages so that followers can live a more sustainable lifestyle respecting the 8 million species we share our planet with.

That message was echoed by World Environment Day 2020, which fell on 5 June. The celebration cast a spotlight on the services nature provides us—from food to medicine—and highlighted that, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, life on earth would not be possible without nature’s bounty.

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Transformational Resilience in Times of Crisis

Initiatives of Change logoOn World Refugee Day, 20 June, with nearly 80 million people worldwide currently homeless, Professor Rajmohan Gandhi addressed a Zoom audience, which included Brisbane community leaders, on the theme Transformational Resilience in Times of Crisis. Nigel Heywood, Community Development and Research Manager at IofCA moderated the event, which brought together over 100 participants.

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USCIRF Warns that Forced Sterilization of Uyghur Muslims is Evidence of Genocide

United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) warned that the Chinese government’s repressive population control measures against Uyghur and other Muslims—including forced sterilization—might meet the legal criteria for genocide under international law.

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Pondering the possible interreligious consequences of the proposed Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank and Jordan Valley

International Council of Christians and Jews logoThe Executive Board of the International Council of Christians and Jews believes that the implementation of a policy of annexation could well result in many destructive consequences that cannot be entirely foreseen. We therefore call upon those in positions of political leadership to act on principles of justice and only after prolonged reflection on all the potential outcomes.

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Joint Ecumenical Statement: Annexation will undermine peace and justice

World Council of ChurchesThe World Council of Churches, World Communion of Reformed Churches, ACT Alliance and Lutheran World Federation have released an “Ecumenical Statement on the Planned Annexation of Occupied Palestinian Territory.” The statement expresses concern over the planned annexation of occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank by Israel.

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2020 Backhouse Lecture – Quakers Australia

Quakers Australia The Backhouse Lectures are public lectures on contemporary issues delivered annually at the national gathering of Quakers in Australia. They were initiated by Australia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) on its establishment in 1964. Friends from both Australia and overseas have presented lectures. The 2020 Backhouse Lecture, Seeking Union with Spirit: Experiences of Spiritual Journeys, will be presented by Fiona Gardner on Monday 6 July at 7.15pm via Zoom.

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Australia Together: National Community Recovery Summit

 Australia Together logo

The National Community Recovery Summit is an open-invitation event for representatives of local communities, service providers, social and economic development practitioners and researchers, philanthropic bodies, advocacy organisations and representative bodies – to enable community voices to deliberate on, and to inform, how Australia can recover best from the COVID pandemic.

The Australia Together alliance believes that there’s a unique opportunity for Australia to build on the goodwill and collaboration seen through the COVID-19 pandemic to tackle some of the country’s enduring challenges at the summit being held online next Wednesday July 1st 2020, from 10am to 1pm.

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USCIRF Urges Thailand and Malaysia to Protect Rohingya Muslim Refugees Stranded at Sea

United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)

Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) calls on the governments of Thailand and Malaysia to admit boats carrying Rohingya Muslim refugees stranded at sea.

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Refugee Week Forum – Refugee reflections: Building resilience and belonging

Refugee Week Logo The Victorian Multicultural Commission is conducting a Refugee Week Forum – Refugee reflections: Building resilience and belonging online on Friday 26 June at 11:00AM. The Victorian Multicultural Commission invites you to join them for an insightful conversation about refugees, resilience and belonging.

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