Tue, Aug 27, 2002
ALBURY-Wodonga's' first multi-faith service yesterday brought together several religions in a common call for God to help and protect the world's estimated 22 million refugees.
A Hindu, a Jew, a Parsi and a Bahai joined people from several Christian denominations in a short prayer service at the CWA hall led by Catholic priest Fr Glenn Boyd.
Although the service marked the first anniversary of the MV Tampa incident, there were no political speeches and criticism of Government policy.
Instead, members from the different churches took it in turn to express their way of saying a prayer for people uprooted from their own countries.
Albury resident Mr Kersi Rustomji, who follows the Parsi religion, said he was a descendant of Persian refugees who migrated to the Indian sub-continent, taking with them their Zoroastrian faith.
Mr Rustomji was born in Africa and migrated from Kenya to Australia 20 years ago but continues to practise the ancient religion of his forefathers.
He said the forces that drove people from the homelands were mainly greed and a lack of acceptance of love for every human being.
Mr Rustomji led a prayer in the language of the Zendavastan, and was followed by a Hindu, Mr Charu Mishra, who lectures at La Trobe University in Melbourne.
Other speakers included a university chaplain, the Rev Matthew Wilson, of the Uniting Church, several Catholics and Mr Gordon Mullen, of the Allans Flat Community Church.
Mr Vic Mower, of the Bahai community, prayed for a new world without war and oppression, where no one lacked a country or a home.
The service began with everyone singing Advance Australia Fair and ended with Bruce Woodley's song, I Am Australian.
Fr Boyd said the service had gone well and sent a message to the wider community that different faiths were united in a common goal.
©Copyright 2002, The Border Mail (Australia)