25 spiritual sojourners joined a tour organised by Bendigo Interfaith Council to Shepparton on Saturday, 21 May, and were hosted by the Shepparton Interfaith Network. The tour group visited several places of worship and took in the new display on the former Shepparton Synagogue at the Museum.
Members of the Bendigo Interfaith Council expressed a desire to journey to Shepparton and visit places of worship. After experiencing much conflict and protests in the public domain against the construction of a Mosque in East Bendigo, it was agreed that a visit to places of worship – including all the mosques in Shepparton and Mooroopna – would be beneficial to all.
First stop on the tour was at the Mooroopna Mosque – which is the Turkish Cultural and Community Centre. Imam Mevlut Torlackic welcomed visitors and gave explanation of prayer, tasks he undertakes at the mosque and a visit to the Women’s section of the mosque.
The next stop on the tour was to the Afghani Community Centre where the layout and purposes of the centre were explained. The visitors asked several questions and were given an overview of the Afghani culture.
The tour then visited the Sikh Gurduara in Doyles Road. Hosts for this visit were Gurmeet Singh (President), Malwinder Singh and the Gurbani. Visitors were given an introductory talk in the prayer section of the gurduara and there were kirtans sung. Full history of the Sikh faith was given. Lunch was also taken in the langaar hall downstairs, and visitors had the opportunity to peruse the history of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism
The next stop for the tour was the Shepparton Local History Museum, to view the exhibit which gives the history of the former Synagogue in Poplar Ave. This exhibition was only opened the week before, so excellent timing!
The Shepparton Mosque (Iraki) in Grant Court was the next place of visit. The visitors were given tour of the mosque and explanations of decorations in preparation for a forthcoming celebration were given. A tour of the women’s place of worship was also particularly appreciated by the ladies present.
The final stop on the tour of places of worship was at Queens Gardens, where preparations were underway for the forthcoming Vesak Celebrations in the evening. Mr Sam Atukorala, founding President of the Buddhist Association of the Goulburn Valley gave a short presentation to the tour group and explained the forthcoming celebrations, and the history of having the Buddhist Lanterns.
Our tour of places of worship ended at Queens Gardens, and after felicitations, the visitors returned home to Bendigo. Leftover tour booklets have been left at the Shepparton Visitor Centre in Nixon St, Shepparton, opposite the Queens Gardens.
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