What binds us together

multifaith service

Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists celebrate a mulitfaith service together.

According to Rev Gordon Bannon, a gathering in a small town country church can have big things to say to the increasingly fractured wider world about bringing people of different faiths together.

The Uniting Church Loddon Mallee minister spoke at the multifaith service held at Newstead Uniting Church on Sunday. Mr Bannon organised the service along with parish minister Michele Lees.

Members of the Newstead Anglican church as well as people of the Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic faiths were among the approximately 100 people who joined regular attendees in prayers for peace.

“In the light of various things that are happening we thought it was timely and helpful to show that people of different faiths can live in mutual respect, pray together and stand in solidarity,” Mr Bannon said.

“We are not denying that our faiths have been in conflict – and still are in some places – but we want to find our common heart and pledge peace.

“Even though it is a little thing in a little country town it is actually quite significant.”

Mr Bannon said he believed the common heart of the religious traditions is the search for meaning, the search for justice and supporting those who are disempowered.

The opening reflection of the service focused on the African Mpatapo – a type of knot that has no beginning or end.

It is used as a symbol to show how warring peoples can come together in peace by recognising themselves as being fundamentally entwined as one.

“We wanted to say, especially to people in the Islamic community who are under the pump, that we are your friends and we support you.” Mr Bannon said.

With a folk festival also on in Newstead the service attracted some music lovers with local performers Fay White, James Rigby and Jane Thompson leading the singing and featuring at intervals.

Today is the first day of the UN-sponsored World Interfaith Harmony Week.

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