After numerous workshops with young adults, consultations with religious leaders, and 16 drafts, spanning more than 18 months, Youth PoWR (Parliament of the World’s Religions) launched The Sydney Statement, a new charter for interfaith relations, live on Facebook on Thursday, 15 October.
Youth PoWR Committee members from different religions presented the Statement’s values, principles and commitments for “building bridges between believers from different religions”. They called young adults aged 18-35 from different religions to vote for The Sydney Statement and to authorise its publication.
The launch was a wonderful example of young people from different religions uniting to encourage greater interfaith dialogue in Sydney and beyond. The launch included a Q&A session between the Youth PoWR Committee members and the online audience. The audience put questions to the Committee members via Facebook, asking about their experiences of engaging with people from different religions and their hopes for a harmonious city.
- Joshua Moses, a young Jew and educator, spoke of a desire to encourage greater education of different religions to help people better understand religious differences, while also harnessing similarities to establish common ground.
- Muslim representative, Zubaida Rubai, shared her goals of gathering people of different religions together to help solve environmental issues.
- Joyce Tangi, a young Christian of the Uniting Church, explained the importance of looking out for one another and building understanding and respect between each other.
There was also a special performance by Sina Karimi of the Baha’i community. He performed La Ellah al Ellallah, a tribute to the inherent unity, sacred mysticism, and the divine philosophy of all religions. Sina’s second song, Let Us Put Aside, derived from the writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, spoke of the importance of letting go of attachments to be more spiritual and loving beings.
There were also messages of support from prominent community leaders:
- On behalf of the NSW Government, Dr Geoff Lee, the Minister for Multiculturalism, spoke of The Sydney Statement as a means of establishing new ways of collaboration between people of different faiths.
- On behalf of Western Sydney University, Youth PoWR’s research partner in the project, Professor Kevin Dunn said the Statement would encourage peace in our multicultural and multi-religious society.
- Rev Dr Patrick McInerney, Director of the Columban Centre for Christian-Muslim Relations which initiated both Youth PoWR and The Sydney Statement, urged everyone to share this new interfaith charter with their peers, family and friends. Most importantly, he asked that everyone vote for its publication.
Voting for The Sydney Statement is still open. Young adults, in particular, are encouraged to vote, but all can add their voice.
Read The Sydney Statement and submit your vote at http://bit.ly/33OLrHA. Don’t miss out on this chance to transform interfaith relations in Sydney and beyond.
You can watch the Facebook launch of The Sydney Statement here.
With thanks to Youth PoWR.