AT THE 12th Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia in July former Uniting Church President Rev Gregor Henderson called on Uniting Church members to take up the challenge of building interfaith relationships.
Speaking at the launch of the Relations with Other Faiths (ROF) website and DVD, Mr Henderson said: “The 21st Century has to be a century of increasing interfaith understanding, interfaith respect and interfaith peacemaking together.”
The website was three years in the making and addresses many aspects of working with groups of other faiths including resources for running interfaith events and a What’s On section for churches to list interfaith events.
Mr Henderson reminded people of the importance of interfaith relationships at a local level. He told a moving story to express how different faiths can lead the way in peacemaking in Australian society.
Last December Mr Henderson attended the reopening of a church hall in Auburn that burnt down in an arson attack after the Cronulla race riots.
The local Muslim and Christian communities worked together to raise the funds to rebuild the hall.
“It is crucially important that we continue to work together as people of faith across what used to be divisions but what we see are increasingly becoming bridges of faith among us.
“The more we find ourselves being challenged about our own beliefs, teachings and practices, the more we realise that some of them need refining as we learn from each other.”
Assembly President Rev Alistair Macrae said the theological and ethical imperative to engage in interfaith relations is based in the commandment to love our neighbour. “In order to love your neighbour, you need to know your neighbour,” he said.
Convener of the working group on Relations with Other Faiths Rev Seforosa Carroll said the launch of the website and DVD was a continuation of the Uniting Church’s commitment to interfaith relations.
“Interfaith relationships challenge us to deepen our understanding and tradition so that we can competently and confidently express who we are,” she said.
Visit the Assembly Relations with Other Faiths website