By Mitchell Clarke
Approximately 150 people turned out to celebrate the diversity of the shire during Cardinia Interfaith Network’s ‘The Power of Community’ fair.
The annual event, which has been run by the network for the past nine years, was held at Pakenham Secondary College on Saturday 12 October, in pursuance of the network’s vision to encourage unity and understand faiths within the community.
Cardinia Shire Council mayor Graeme Moore said council voted unanimously to support the fair, which was organised by network vice-chair Manir Zaman, for its value in promoting an inclusive and socially cohesive community.
Also in attendance, Bass MP Jordan Crugnale, who highlighted the value of interfaith groups within the community.
“Multiculturalism has become mainstream, with 260 countries and 135 faiths being represented in our society,” she said.
Victorian Multicultural Commission chairperson and keynote speaker Vivienne Nguyen told her story of coming to Australia by boat when she was just 12 years old.
“Faith plays an important part for me,” she said.
“It gave me resilience to survive the immigration and settlement processes.”
A number of faiths were represented during the day including the Sikh, Hindu, Islamic and Christian communities, each displaying the benefits and contributions their respective faiths have brought to the community.
A speed dating workshop, facilitated by co-organiser Harpreet Singh, generated intense discussion, answers and further questions on topics such as the environment, concept of karma and how faith leads people to help the disadvantaged.
“A great sense of harmony and cohesion permeated the successful Interfaith event which was enhanced by a beautiful Hindu Ghoomar dance from Jessica Garg, henna and face painting and a delicious vegetarian lunch,” an Interfaith spokesperson said.
“Participants and group spokespersons expressed their amazement and pleasure on discovering multiple commonalities in different faith perspectives on the same issues.”
Cardinia Interfaith Network members meet every second Tuesday of the month for planning purposes and cordially invite new member representatives from all faiths to come along and join.
To get in contact, visit csifn.org.