Opening of Multifaith Room, Goulburn Valley Health

Opening of Sanctuary, Goulburn Valley Healtgh

On Thursday, 3 November 2011, members of the diverse faiths that make up the communities in the Goulburn Valley attended the opening of a room dedicated to contemplation and prayer at Goulburn Valley Health.




The Sanctuary off the busy main hospital corridor with a few simple chairs, a painting of leaves and flowers on one wall and a softly lit bookshelf on the other.

For former hospital board president, Clem Furphy, the room represents the culmination of an idea that began four years ago while listening to the radio.

"The idea came from a Radio National program about a room in Dandenong Hospital, which was set aside for people of different faiths—and people of no faith—to come and sit during stressful times", Mr Furphy said.

He visited Dandenong's multi-faith room and returned inspired.

"For years we'd been talking about cultural sensitivity, but here at the hospital, we only had a chapel, which was overtly Christian", he said.

We realised we had to cater for people of all faiths—and for people of no faith."



Hospital staff and Shepparton faith community representatives at the launch of the sanctuary
Hospital staff and Shepparton faith community representatives at the launch of the Sanctuary

On Thursday, 3rd of November 2011, Members of the Shepparton Interfaith Network, from the Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, Christian, Sikh and Jewish faiths met to read blessings and place their holy books on the room's bookshelf.

Download the Commissioning Ceremony (PDF)

Shepparton accountant and Hindu representative Narveet Jyoei said that "the space represented the hallmark of an open society".

"It allows everyone to practice their own beliefs without interfering with others. We now have this little place to sit and be with our own community and with other communities. It is a bridge with other faiths", Mr Jyoei said.

Mr Furphy said that Muslim staff members of the hospital had already used the room for prayers.

"It's been a great outcome and so obviously support by the area's multifaith community," he said.



Hospital staff and Shepparton faith community representatives at the launch of the sanctuary
Hospital staff and Shepparton faith community representatives at the launch of the Sanctuary

He said that the room had storage space for the paraphernalia of different faiths to be kept out of sight. "It is for people of all religious persuasions, and none; so there is no overt religious symbolism."

Mr Furphy said while the hospital contributed $65,000 from general funds for the room's construction, much of architectural design and artwork by the local Splinters group was donated free.

Hospital board chairman Noel Maughan said the board was happy to support the initiative. "This is an important step in the Hospital's role in looking after our community", he said.



Former Hospital board chairman Clem Furphy with Sikh community member, next to tree artwork
Former Hospital board chairman Clem Furphy with Sikh community member, next to the tree of religions

977 total views, 1 views today

964 Total Views 1 Views Today