Well versed in interfaith fellowship

Reem Sweid.Uniting Church members in Melbourne’s east have been meeting with young Muslims to share a mutual love of poetry.

At the monthly Poetry and Faith evenings, people from St Kilda parish share a meal with Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV) members at the St Kilda church.

Someone then presents a specially chosen poem and offers an interpretation, often sparking lively discussion as others share their impressions and understandings of the work.

The idea came out of a discussion between St Kilda minister Rev David Pargeter and Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV) president Reem Sweid.

Each month there is a different theme with the overall intent of deepening relationships and trust between the members of the church and MPV.

At the first meeting in September the theme was journeying.

The group shared their own faith journeys and the geographical and cultural boundaries that had to be crossed.

Participants said both the journey outside, and the journey inside, are significant.

Sera, from the MPV group, presented the poem/song Shelter by Scottish poet and folk-singer Eric Bogle:

To the homeless and the hungry

May you always open doors

May the restless and the weary

Find safe harbour on your shores

May you always be our Dreamtime place

Our spirit’s glad release

May you always be our shelter

May we always live in peace

Sera said the work conjured up a big-hearted and welcoming Australia that she remembers with both great pride and much sadness of loss.

St Kilda UCA and MPV would like to thank the Centre for Theology and Ministry, which gave a small grant to support the dinners the church will host for the next six meetings.

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