New Interfaith In Action Website

Aspley Uniting Church’s interfaith activities continue through the North Brisbane Interfaith Group.

See the new website: www.interfaithinaction.org.au

This site provides information and resources for people and groups interested in participating in interfaith activities at a local level.

Buddha’s Birthday Celebration - May 2009

Multifaith Readings & Prayers

Christian Contribution:  Rev Garth Read

Introduction
Thank you for this opportunity to share, once again, in this Buddha Birthday Celebration.

I extend to my Buddhist friends and to all present, very warm greetings and best wishes from the Aspley Uniting Church and from the North Brisbane Interfaith Group.

It is also a pleasure for me to join with my good friends from the Jewish and Hindu Communities in offering you thoughts, readings and prayers from religious traditions other than the Buddhist Traditions.

I hope that my contribution reflects some central Christian ideas and beliefs about our relationship with all other people, irrespective of age, gender, nationality, race or religion.

I also hope that these thoughts, readings and prayers show that we can all learn from one another.  Indeed I believe that members of different religions have in the past not only learnt about each others different beliefs and insights – they have, through their friendship and dialogue, been able to enrich each others understanding of life and what it might mean to explore and express spiritual insights and wisdom.

1. Jesus the Jew

My first reading comes from the section of the Christian Bible known as the New Testament.  More specifically, it is a selection of verses from a collection of sayings of Jesus that we call the Sermon on the Mount.

As well as listening to the wisdom that may be contained in these words, I would like you to realize that Jesus, the speaker of these words, was a Jew.  He was born a Jew.  He grew up a Jew.  His teachings reflect the ancient Jewish writings contained in the Hebrew Scriptures (The Tanak).  These ancient Scriptures still provide inspiration and spiritual guidance for Jewish people today.

We Christians thank Jewish people for allowing us to share their sacred writings by incorporating them into our version of the Bible.

Hear then some words of the Jew whom we Christians call Jesus Christ.

Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires;
God will satisfy them fully!

Happy are those who are merciful to others;
God will be merciful to them!

Happy are those who work for peace;
God will call them his children!

Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires;
The Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!

You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’  But now I tell you; do not take revenge on someone who wrongs you.  If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, let him slap you’re your left cheek too.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your friends, hate your enemies.’  But now I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may become children of your Father in Heaven.  For he makes his sun to shine on bad and good people alike, and gives rain to those who do good and to those who do evil.

 

2. Mother Theresa
My second reading is a prayer that was offered by Mother Teresa in 1981.  Mother Teresa was a Christian Nun well known around the world for her great work of compassion among the poor and disadvantaged of India.  She was a deeply devout Christian woman who had a great respect for and knowledge of the Hindu Faith.  She acknowledged that much of the inspiration for this prayer came from the Hindu scriptures know as the Upanishads.

As a Christian I share this prayer with you and I share Mother Teresa’s acknowledgement of the debt it owes to our Hindu brothers and sisters.


Lead me from death to life, from falsehood to truth.
Lead me from despair to hope, from fear to trust.
Lead me from hate to love, from war to peace.
Let peace fill our hearts, our world, our universe.


Amen
And may peace be with you.

Newsletter No. 6

Greetings all

A happy and fulfilling new year to you all.

There are many Interfaith events planned for 2009.  The culmination of these should come at the end of the year with the Parliament of World Religions to be held in Melbourne 3-9 December - more information as the year progresses.

In the meantime we have a number of local activities planned.  The first of these is a general meeting of our North Brisbane Interfaith Group.

NORTH BRISBANE INTERFAITH GROUP

General Meeting
Thursday 26th February 2009
7.30pm
Aspley Uniting Church, 748 Robinson Road, Aspley

•    Interfaith reflection, meditation, prayer  -  Dr. Brigitta Beer
•    Planning the Interfaith Youth Rally for June
•    The Imam & the Pastor  - film and discussion
•    Light refreshments                   

RSVP   asap

Some of you have enrolled for the Interfaith Summit  - One Humanity, Many Faiths to be held at the Brisbane City Hall, February 18 – 21, 2009.  If you have not enrolled and would like to attend please contact the Multi Faith Centre on 3735 7051/2.  Our Group is one of the supporting organizations for this event.

On this page you will find a copy of my Report on the activities of our Group for 2008.

 

Annual Report 2008

NORTH BRISBANE INTERFAITH GROUP
(Previously included in the Aspley UC Interfaith Relations Committee)

ANNUAL REPORT 2008

This is my first Annual Report as the convener of the NORTH BRISBANE INTERFAITH GROUP.

In previous years I have reported to the Aspley Uniting Church Council in my capacity as convener of its Interfaith Relations Committee.  This committee has been largely responsible for the planning and running of local Interfaith activities over the last 5 years.  This committee of the Aspley Uniting Church has now merged with the newly formed North Brisbane Interfaith Group.  Consequently, this report is being made available to all members of the Aspley Uniting Church Council and of the North Brisbane Interfaith Group.

The North Brisbane Interfaith group now has an emailing list of 57 people who receive regular Newsletters.  Many of these people have attended our local Interfaith activities and/or joined smaller groups attending events at other venues such as:- the Bald Hills Mosque, Chermside Uniting Church, Camp Hill Synagogue and the Multi Faith Centre at Griffith University.  The use of the Aspley Church bus helped us greatly when attending these different venues.

On Sunday 12th October 2008 we held an Interfaith Café at Aspley Uniting Church with the theme:-The Scriptures of the Abrahamic Faiths.  Over 50 people attended.  They were seated in groups of 6/8 around small tables.  Light refreshments were served throughout the evening.  An impressive display of a Jewish Torah Scroll, a Christian Bible and a copy of the Muslim Qur’an was set up in the middle of the hall.

Garek Fysch spoke about the Torah and its place and significance in the larger Hebrew Bible – known as TANAK that includes the Torah (Instruction), Nevi’im (Prophets) and Ketuvim (Writings).  The Torah is the most important part of this Bible.

Pierre van Blommestein spoke about the Christian Bible that includes the Old Testament (the Hebrew Tanak) and the New Testament.  He stressed the importance of the Bible as the foundational text for Christianity and for each individual believer.

Murmood drew attention to the leaflet on each table outlining something of the origin, nature and structure of the Qur’an and of its primary role in Muslim life and prayer.  He also outlined some of the details of the 5 Pillars (religious duties) that form the basis of a Muslim lifestyle. 

A time of interesting and lively questions and discussion followed each presentation.

Wendy Flannery, Peter Jones, Everald Compton and Garth Read met with Rev. Dirk Ficca, Executive Director, Parliament of World Religions at the café ‘301 on Ann’ in Brisbane on Friday 14th. November 2008.  Dirk gave us a brief outline of the history, purposes and functioning of the Parliament and of the arrangements and expectations for the meeting of the Parliament in Melbourne in December 2009.

Our Group is looking forward to another busy and interesting year of interfaith activities on this side of Brisbane during 2009.


Garth Read
Convener

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