A range of projects that promote social harmony and interfaith understanding in Victoria are being funded through the Victorian Government’s new Interfaith Community Fund.
With more than 130 faiths represented in Victoria, faith organisations play an important role in fostering respect and understanding between faiths and across the whole community.
The fund will provide 10 faith and interfaith organisations with up to $50,000 over 2 years to deliver projects that build positive relationships and respond to community challenges.
Each organisation has designed the project in direct response to their community’s needs.
One of the organisations to receive funding is the Faith Communities Council of Victoria.
Faith Communities Council of Victoria’s Multifaith Officer, Sandy Kouroupidis, said the funding will support interfaith networks across Victoria.
“We currently have 34 interfaith networks operating in Local Government Areas of Victoria. This funding will help us to continue to support these existing networks while establishing new ones across metropolitan and regional Victoria,” he said.
The local interfaith networks provide faith and community leaders with a safe and protective space to meet where they can work together for the common good of their local community.
Mr Kourouopidis said the benefits of the networks stretch beyond those directly involved by connecting people in regional communities through shared values and respect.
“After network meetings we see faith and community leaders go back to their local regions and build upon the relationships they’ve formed.”
“Their commonalities and values of respect and compassion connects them and enables them to encourage their communities to work together. When tragic events unfortunately happen, we’ve seen them stand together and empower each other,” Mr Kouroupidis said.
The funding will also go towards holding their annual Victorian Interfaith Networks Conference, a significant event in our state’s interfaith community calendar.
“The Conference enables faith and community leaders from across Victoria to converse on matters affecting their community and to generate ideas on how to respond to community challenges,” Mr Kouroupidis said.
This year’s conference will include 4 workshops:
- Refugees and asylum seekers: A celebration of courage and achievement
- Voices of Youth: My Faith, My Generation
- Faith and Creative Arts: a hands-on experience!
- Child Safe Standards and the Reportable Conduct Scheme
The conference will be hosted by the Interfaith Network of the City of Greater Dandenong which is celebrating 30 years of interfaith engagement within the local community and beyond.
The Interfaith Community Fund is administered by the Department of Premier and Cabinet in consultation with the Victorian Multicultural Commission’s Multifaith Advisory Group.
Image 1: Venerable Chi Kwang Sunim
Image 2: Victorian Interfaith Networks Conference - Hosted by City of Greater Bendigo. Panelists: Dr Julie Rudner, Senior Lecturer, Latrobe University, Manal Shehab, Community Engagement Officer at Islamic Council of Victoria, Jasbir Singh Suropada, Chairperson of Sikh Interfaith Council of Victoria, Father Andrew Fewings, Parish Priest at Kennington Catholic Parish, Bendigo and Gary Bouma AM, UNESCO Chair in Intercultural and Interreligious Relations - Asia Pacific, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Monash University.
Reviewed 23 June 2021