National Ministers’ Conference: Western Sydney

This week, UnitingWorld’s Rev Dr Ji Zhang (Church Partnerships Manager, Asia) and Rev Sef Carroll (Church Partnerships Manager, Pacific) joined UCA President Rev Prof Andrew Dutney at his National Ministers’ Conference in Western Sydney.

This conference, the second of three within the 2014 National Ministers’ Conference this year, is facilitated by the Assembly Multicultural and Cross Cultural Ministry team and includes a cultural immersion experience in one of the most culturally diverse areas of Sydney, for ministers around the country. During the course of the week, there will be visits to the Hindu temple at Blacktown and the Buddhist temples in Cabramatta.

Yesterday they visited a Tongan Community in Auburn who had a powerful story to tell. When their Church Hall was deliberately destroyed by fire in the aftermath of the Cronulla riots, their Muslim School neighbours offered them rooms from their own building whilst the hall was being re-built. The message behind this is unequivocal – the religious ‘other’ is not a source of fear, but a place of shared space, hospitality and friendship.

National Minister's Conference2CavaThe group then moved on to the Gallipoli Mosque. This was a moment when the UCA national leaders and congregational leaders stepped inside and became the religious ‘other’ themselves, gaining a powerful understanding of life in Australian society today.



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