Members of diverse religious groups across Victoria met Sunday afternoon, 18 November 2018 for the annual Victorian Interfaith Networks Conference at the St. Albans Community Centre in St. Albans. Among the group of attendees were many representatives from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including a number of young missionaries, who assisted with the registration process.
The purpose of the meeting was to bring together peoples of many different faiths and beliefs into a common forum to build bridges and develop relationships among diverse religions. The conference offered a general meeting and then breakout workshops with varied topics of interest.
Latter-day Saint Glenn Steere from the Deer Park Stake (diocese) delivered a presentation on behalf of the Church as part of a video presenting messages from different religions represented at the Conference. His message was about ancient scriptures and how the Book of Mormon goes hand-in-hand with the Bible, giving us a greater understanding of God’s plan for us.
Concerning his opportunity to be part of the larger presentation at the conference, Glenn shared, “That was a good experience. It was good to be able to express the beliefs of the Church and how that fits in with the interfaith group.”
David Kerwin, from Maroondah said, “This is my first time to attend such a wonderful gathering of various faiths. This type of event showcases how greater understanding and mutual respect of beliefs help to break down barriers in our community. When we listen to understand each other’s perspectives, we grow together and build relationships of trust.”
After the conference Victorian Media Relations Specialist for the Church Pania Pickford shared, “One thing I took away from the conference was that as people of faith, our voices matter. The talks and workshops inspired us to speak up about important issues facing our communities, such as gambling. There were some really fruitful discussions on how we can work together to help those who are struggling and promote moral values that protect families and individuals.”
Petr Svoboda, Diversity Planner from the Diversity and Inclusion Team of the Maribyrnong City Council expressed gratitude for the involvement of the young missionaries. “I was very impressed by your bright young multilingual volunteers. Please pass on our thanks for your colleagues.”
Besides offering panel discussions, a lovely buffet lunch was served as well as entertainment provided by one of the religious groups. The day was enjoyable for all who were able to attend and be a part of this interfaith gathering.