Local celebration for worldwide week

January 29, 2022 BY

Observe: The Ballarat Interfaith Network will hold a flag raising ceremony next Tuesday to mark the start of World Interfaith Harmony Week. Photo: FILE

BALLARAT Interfaith Network will begin their celebration of the United Nations’ World Interfaith Harmony Week next Tuesday.

The annual observance from 1 to 7 February was launched by the intergovernmental organisation in 2010 to encourage connection between different religions and develop mutual understanding around the globe.

A flag raising ceremony is planned for 11am at St Peter’s Anglican Church on Sturt Street, with speeches from Rajinder Singh Gill on behalf of the local Sikh community and the City of Ballarat’s Cr Belinda Coates.

In a statement released by the BIN last week, organisers said they were optimistic for a successful event with QR code check-ins, double vaccination, masks and social distancing required.

“Several representatives of different faiths within the Ballarat region will be offering their own prayers for local, national and global interfaith respect and harmony,” said Margaret Lenan Ellis, chair, Ballarat Interfaith Network.

“These will include Father Michael O’Brien of St Peter’s Anglican Church on behalf of Christianity, Elham Jamali on behalf of the Baha’i community of Ballarat, Ajahn Maha Chi, monk at the local Thai Buddhist Temple, Heba Mamdough, a Muslim member of the Islamic Society of Ballarat and children from the Ballarat Hindu Temple and Community Centre chanting a Mantra prayer.

“At a time of such uncertainty and anxiety as we have been experiencing during the pandemic, celebrating interfaith harmony can offer a light of hope and stability in our homes and communities.”

Last year, BIN’s flag raising event drew spectators from more than 20 faith communities, with a Walk and Talk event also held at the Indigenous Sculpture Park.