We are all utterly committed to preventing the spread of coronavirus and recognise how crucial these next days and weeks are for Victoria.
This was the common mind of all members of the Multifaith Advisory Group, who met over Skype on Thursday 2 April 2020.
It is a complex time for everyone, and there are issues and many questions that are coming to us. Our meeting helped answer some of these questions and raised others.
Our primary objective is to ensure our faith communities are helping our whole community prevent the further spread of this virus.
Many of us have personal and institutional links to places overseas where coronavirus has caused and is causing great grief and anxiety. Our hearts break over the stories we know and the images of suffering we see. We are mindful that the many layers of government and community leadership are having to respond to a fast-changing environment.
Our faith communities are raising questions, many of which we and other leaders have never had to consider! Questions, in fact, that we never ever thought we would have to consider in our wonderful State of Victoria!
We recognise it will take time to answer every question and to integrate the best advice. We recognise our political and community leaders are in an extraordinarily demanding period, responding now to coronavirus so soon after the devastating summer bushfires.
Our prayers and meditations, and our community work for the common good will continue in support. That includes the safe provision of food, counselling and just a friendly phone call to people needing encouragement and company. While living this life we are now given, which is so different to what we planned for 2020, we want to convey, in this statement, our unity of purpose.
As faith communities of Victoria, we will do our best together in this window of opportunity.
The bonds of friendship and trust we have built up over many years in our multifaith Victoria have been beneficial at other times of crisis.
We offer our unified leadership at this unprecedented time.
The Multifaith Advisory Group comprises representatives of the following organisations:
All Nations Presbyterian Church of Australia Mulgrave
Anglican Diocese of Melbourne
Australian Muslim Women's Centre for Human Rights
Baha'i Community of Victoria
Board of Imam's Victoria
Buddhist Council of Victoria
Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Melbourne
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
Hindu Council of Australia (VIC)
Hindu Society of Victoria
Islamic Council of Victoria
Jewish Community Council of Victoria
Lutheran Church of Australia, Victorian District
Presbyterian Church of Victoria
Rabbinical Council of Victoria
Catholic Social Services Victoria
Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia, Australian and New Zealand Diocese
Sikh Interfaith Council of Victoria
The Interfaith Centre of Melbourne
Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania
Victorian Council of Churches
Ethnic Community Council of Victoria
Australian Intercultural Society
Faith Communities Council of Victoria
Reviewed 23 June 2021