Saturday, 8 June 2013

Calendar - Faith Communities Council of Victoria : What is interfaith? : Conversations not conversions

Dear Networkers,

I am including to-day the latest calendar from the Faith Communities Council of Victoria.

I am doing this because I come across widespread confusion among people about what the word 'interfaith' means.

  1. Some people think that 'interfaith' is a religious denomination. Well, the answer is really yes and no.  Yes, there are faith communities who actually refer to themselves by name as Interfaith.  They have communities with leadership that use the designation 'Reverend' as the renowned Australian Stephanie Dowrick does. I have never been to the services or events of these communities. However, my understanding is that such faith communities freely draw on the wisdom and spirituality of many of the great religions. 
  2. Then there are interfaith organisations which are community organisations and networks.  These, generally, fall into two categories (at least in Victoria where I live).  Some have close connections with local councils - just as Aboriginal reconciliation and multicultural organisations do - by working closely with Community Services Departments of councils, particularly when major events are planned.  These organisations are, frequently, able to access organisational expertise and funding from such departments. Currently, in Melbourne and outlying cities and towns close to Melbourne are being organised into 'divisions' - north, south, east and west - as the numbers of interfaith organisations have grown in Melbourne.  It is hoped that such divisions will be able to take on larger and broader projects within larger communities.
  3. There are interfaith organisations which have been established independently of association with local government.  In Victoria, the organisations that spring to mind are Religions for Peace Australia; COMMON; Women's Interfaith Network Foundation (WIN); and GreenFaith Australia.  The last named organisation is an interfaith organisation with an environmental emphasis.  GFA is currently in discussion relating to a merger with ARRCC.  
  4. The Faith Communities Council of Victoria is a major unifying or umbrella organisation for interfaith organisations.  The FCCV was established in the run-up to the Parliament of the World's Religions which was held in Melbourne in 2009.  
I would make two more points.  I am a member of the Ballarat Interfaith Network.  Our motto is - Conversations not conversions.  Like true interfaith organisations, we regard our work as being one of peace and mutual respect while getting to know each other better.  Religion and culture, as a generality, go hand in hand.  As the multi-cultural aspect of modern Australian society broadens and extends, involvement in an interfaith organisation can provide some great good times, good food, and interesting friendships.  And isn't this what Australians are about?

If you would like to know more about the topic of interfaith or get further information about interfaith activities and organisation in Victoria you can get in touch with me at  Alternatively, if you want to be put in touch with local interfaith organisation, please be in touch with the Faith Communities Council of Victoria.  

Upcoming EventsLatest News
June 2013 eNews

 Interfaith Festival: A Celebration of Community
Sunday, June 9
Mornington Peninsula Interfaith Network
Tour to Places of WorshipWednesday, June 12
City of Greater Dandenong Interfaith Network
Faith Perspectives in Today's World Wednesday, June 12
Australian Assocation for Religious Education
Indigenous SpiritualityMonday, June 17
Shepparton Interfaith Network
Commitment and Openness in Inter-religious DialogueWednesday, June 19
Australian Catholic University
Tour to Places of WorshipThursday, July 11
Frankston Interfaith Networkk
Growing Youth Spirituality ConferenceFriday, July 19
Christian Research Association and Tabor College our to Places of Worship

Religious Dates

Night of Freedom
Lailat al Bara's
June 24

Orthodox Pentecost Monday
June 24
Martydom of the Bab

July 9

Ramadan Begins
July 9

Fast of Av
Tisha B'av

July 16
Buddha's First Sermon
Ashala Puja

July 22

View all upcoming events

$4.55 million to help build multicultural communities (Announced May 31st 2013)

Senator for the ACT and Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Senator Kate Lundy, was pleased to launch a new grants program worth $4.55 million nationally which will provide funding for community organisations to purchase new equipment, undertake refurbishments and build new infrastructure. Read More...

Kate Lundy

Interfaith Network in Focus: Religions for Peace

Religions for Peace (RfP) Australia, formerly known as the World Conference of Religions for Peace (Australia), is an Australian community-based interfaith organization working for inter-religious harmony and social cohesion.  Read More...

Religions for Peace

Measuring Global Millennials On Religious Attitudes(from Parliament of World Religions Blog Page )

The average percentage of global youth trusting religious leaders is now in the single digits. This “mass exodus” is becoming a pervasive challenge for a lion’s share of the world’s major faith traditions while leaders grapple, struggle, and investigate .  Read More...

PWR Blog

Halal food dishing out change in our fast food society (Bruce McDougall, The Daily Telegraph)

Halal food is now sold at a dozen McDonald's restaurants and bacon is off the menu at some KFC outlets to accommodate the religious sensitivities of Australia's growing Muslim population. Read More.

Upcoming Event: Victorian Interfaith Networks Conference (Sunday November 24, 2013)
The Faith Communities Council of Victoria in association with Moonee Valley Interfaith Network is happy to announce the 2013 Victorian Interfaith Networks Conference will be held at Flemington Community Town Hall on Sunday, November 24th 2013. Read More....

Victorian Interfaith Networks

Additional Information:

Current Poll:
Were you raised in the same religion/faith that you are in now?
(a) Yes, I have always believed in the same religion/faith (15 votes - 42%)
(b) No, I have moved to another religion/faith (11 votes - 31%)
(c) I am a mixture of the religion/faith I was raised, and the religion/faith that I believe now (10 votes - 28%)

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Faith Communities Council of Victoria (FCCV) e-Newsletter

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