Saturday, March 15, 2008

Faithways Walk

March 15th – a summery bright day, saw approximately 100 Muslims and Christians gather for the first Faithways walk in Sydney and possibly in Australia. Starting at Auburn Gallipolli mosque, and supported by local politicians and community organisations, there was a wonderful feeling of expectation and friendliness between the participants. After viewing the beautiful interior of the mosque and pairing up with someone new from another faith, the spiritual neighbours walked about 3 kilometres to St. Joachim’s – a vast cathedral of a church for another spiritual tour followed by a traditional Aussie barbeque. The attitude of all involved – particularly Father David Vaughan with his volunteer helpers and the Affinity troupe along with FAIR (Forum for Australian Islamic Relations) representing the Muslim crew – was open, willing and helpful. Teaming up to cook the sausages, cut the bread and hand out the drinks, Muslims and Christians who had never talked to each before, discovered the commonality of their humanity. The only fly in the ointment was a slightly parochial attitude of the mosque and its lack of hospitality and compassion to their visitors. The mosque – as with most houses of worship – should be a trust held on behalf of the community, not property that is owned and which the community should feel privileged to access.

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