World Interfaith Harmony Week is an annual event in the first week of February each year. For the 2013 celebration in Parliament House, Melbourne, Shepparton Interfaith Network was one of the sponsors.
A Morning Tea was hosted by the Interfaith Centre of Melbourne on Friday February 1st in Queens Hall, Parliament House Melbourne for religious, spiritual and community leaders to celebrate the 2013 World Interfaith Harmony Week. Mr Frank Purcell, accompanied by his wife Margaret, attended the celebration and represented the Faith Communities of Shepparton.
About World Interfaith Harmony Week
The World Interfaith Harmony Week was first proposed by HM KIng Abdullah II of Jordan before the United Nations General Assembly on September 23rd 2010.
On October 20, 2010, the Resolution was unanimously adopted by the UN and the first week of February was proclaimed as the World Interfaith Harmony Week between all religions, faiths and beliefs.
The Resolution also "encourages all States to support, on a voluntary basis, the spread of the message of interfaith harmony and goodwill in the world's churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship during that week, based on love of God and love of one's neighbour or on love of the good and love of one's neighbour, each according to their own religious traditions or convictions."
The sponsoring partners this year were the Faith Communities Council of Victoria, the Islamic Council of Victoria, Religions for Peace Australia, the Shepparton Interfaith Network and the Australian Multicultural Foundation. Invited speakers were Mr Andrew Elsbury MLC, representing the Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship, Bishop John Bayton AM, Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, and Venerable Chi Kwang Sunim, Abbess of The Seon (Zen) Centre.
Rev Helen Summers (Interfaith Centre of Melbourne), Mr Andrew Elsbury MLC, representing the Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship, Ms Nur Shkembi (Islamic Centre of Victoria), Bishop John Bayton AM, Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, and Venerable Chi Kwang Sunim, Abbess of The Seon (Zen) Centre.
Principal Guest Speakers were Bishop John Bayton, who spoke on Evolution. You may download Bishop Bayton's talk here. Venerable Chi Kwang Sunim, Abbess of The Seon (Zen) Centre in Kinglake, Victoria, spoke about Love of the Good, Love of Neighbour in light of the experience of disaster in Australia. Venerable Chi Kwang was surrounded by a ring of fire during the Black Saturday Bushfires. You may read Venerable Chi Kwang Sunim's talk here.
The DVD "Harmony" was launched, illustrating the Confucian concept of "Harmony", a beautiful and dynamic interaction between different elements within a whole, as explained to the General Assembly by HRH Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad, Personal Envoy and Special Advisor to the King of Jordan, on October 20th 2010.
Weaving in images of people, words, places and sacred artworks, the DVD exemplifies the common values that bind us together as community, as well as respecting the differences. The images exemplify Love of God and Love of the Neighbour or Love of the Good, and Love of the Neighbour.
Helen Summers, Director of The Interfaith Centre of Melbourne and Nur Shkembi, Arts Officer for the Islamic Council of Victoria, curated the images of people, places and sacred artworks which illustrate 'harmony' as defined in the Confucian concept of beautiful and dynamic interaction between different elements within a whole.
The Shepparton Interfaith Network evolved from inter-religious works of the Shepparton InterChurch Committee, principally with the instigation of a Multi Faith Chapel at Goulburn Valley Health. A conference was conducted in 2007, there were pre-parliament events in Association with the Parliament of the World's Religions held in Melbourne in 2009, and a formal Interfaith Network was formed in July of 2010.
Interfaith harmony and cooperation is very much alive in Shepparton. During 2012, the Network conducted a conference at La Trobe on Who Am I? during Harmony week, participated in the Emerge Festival with the GV Library (Living Books – Living Voices) and in the Children’s Festival during Diversity Week. We also held two interesting explorations of Christian, Sikh, Hindu, and Muslim spiritualities at scheduled bi-monthly meetings. One on Water in our Religious Traditions, the other on The Love of God.
In the second half of the year our Network responded to a request from Ballarat Interfaith Network for our help in enabling them to visit a Mosque and a Sikh Gurduara. This eventually involved over 75 visitors from Ballarat, Bendigo and Melbourne, with Prof. Des Cahill of RMIT University as guest speaker. Councillor Chris Hazelman gave a response which demonstrated the openness of the Greater Shepparton Council to others which has been a significant factor in strengthening inter-ethnic and interfaith relationships in our culturally diverse Goulburn Valley.
Harmony Video: Celebrating 2013 World Interfaith Harmony Week
All contributed individual works of art in this video, by individual artists, remains the property of the artist, and each artist retains copyright of his or her work.
- Asher Bilu: Cosmotif Series 1
- John Bayton: The Love of God is in the Dance of Joy
- John Bayton: Greater love has no man than this, to lay down one's life for one's friend.
- John Bayton: Love is poured out in Creation
- John Bayton: My love reaches to the heavens
- Peter Gould: Ishk
- Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori: Dibirdibi Country 2011
(Synthetic polymer paint on linen, 151 x 168 cm
Image courtesy of the Artist, Mornington Island Art, QLD and Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne)
- Marianne Baillieu: Prana Portrait III 1998
Mixed Media on Plywood, 240 x 120 cm, Collection of the Artist
- Philip George: Paradise Suite
- Ray Messner Photography, www.raymessner.com
Flickr Account, Parliament of the World's Religions Melbourne 2009
- Ahmad Sabra Photography: www.lahza.com.au
- Tom Fantl: : Photograph of Marianne Baillieu
"World Interfaith Harmony Week ~ Love of the Good, Love of the Neighbour
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