Shepparton residents join together in prayer

Many people gathered at the Shepparton Uniting Church on Thursday for a multi-faith prayer service to mark Cultural Diversity Week. Run by the Shepparton Uniting Church in collaboration with Shepparton Interfaith Network, representatives of nine different faith communities came together to light candles, deliver a reading and lead a group prayer.

Rev. Chris Parnell said the service was an important event for many different faiths to come together and acknowledge the cultural significance in the community.

“We have a foundation of community strength, community harmony and social cohesion … days like this were we come together to pray for each other and for the elimination of racial discrimination and all that comes with that is important,” he said.

“With the ugly event that we had on Friday in Christchurch our coming together is critical and important for this community but also for all communities everywhere on earth.”

Ministers offered prayers from the Quran, the Bible and the Albanian Islamic, Sikh, African, Buddhist, Iraqi Islamic, Christian and Hindu communities.

Signifying the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Victoria is considered one of the most successful multicultural societies with people coming from 200 countries, speaking more than 260 languages and following more than 130 different faiths.

In his address, Reverend Parnell addressed the need for acceptance and the ability to disregard a person’s skin colour, country of origin or faith.

“I feel that the joyful times here in Shepparton for me have been the times I’ve spent with the Imams from other religions and the times I’ve spent in mosques and the Sikh temple,” he said.

“I’ve experienced a lot of pleasure from that and a lot of satisfaction and listeining – in dialogue to experiences of worshippers in other religions – reveals other aspects od the Divine that I didn’t know existed.”


Sheik Yasin, Imam Mevlut, Imam Eljam Bardi, Mons. Peter Jeffrey, Mr Sam Atukorala, Deacon Francois and Rev. Chris Parnell at Prayers at Shepparton Uniting Church

Article, Images, courtesy Shepparton News



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