Many faiths, one people

Sri Lanka Harmony Day
By Tim Lam

Sri Lankan Harmony Day looks set to become an annual fixture in the local Sri Lankan community calendar.

More than 300 people from a variety of faith backgrounds attended last year’s Sri Lankan Harmony Day celebrations at Wesley College (pictured), which was supported by the synod’s Uniting Through Faiths project.

Uniting Through Faiths aims to develop closer ties between members of different faith communities. It is hoped that building interfaith relationships will lead to greater understanding, reconciliation and solidarity between religious groups.

The Sri Lankan diaspora is a large multi-faith, multi-ethnic community who are undertaking the post-war journey of reconciliation following three decades of civil war. It not only affected the people living within Sri Lanka, it has also affected the Sri Lankans of all ethnic and religious backgrounds living abroad.

The community event was initiated by Uniting Church ministers from Tamil, Sinhalese and Burgher backgrounds. A pilgrimage back to Sri Lanka in 2012 inspired the ministers to help Sri Lankans in Melbourne work towards peace and healing.

The festivities were organised by Sri Lanka Invites, a global youth movement dedicated to empowering Sri Lankan youth to become reconciliation leaders through sports, music, arts and education.

This year’s Sri Lankan Harmony Day again attracted more than 300 people.

The morning started with a game of cricket between players of numerous faith ahd ethnic backgrounds and was followed by a multi-cultural concert where children performed songs and dances to promote a spirit of interfaith unity.

Three Sri Lankan youth from Colombo shared their stories with the attendees before the celebrations concluded with a traditional Sri Lankan lunch.

The day was a great celebration of harmony in action. Strengthening interfaith relations that cross ethnic and religious divides may help pave the way for Sri Lankans to journey towards reconciliation together.

Uniting Through Faiths is a department of the Commission for Mission.

 

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