Sharing Our Scriptures 2018

Sharing our scriptures: an Abrahamic interfaith dialogue

When: 7.30PM Tuesday 27 February and monthly thereafter
Where:
Nick Polaschek’s home at 12 Everest Street Khandallah

You are invited to an ongoing informal discussion sharing our perspectives of the Torah, New Testament, and Koran.

The Wellington Abrahamic Council is again sponsoring a series of evening meetings to help foster understanding and friendship between people from the three Abrahamic faith traditions in Wellington.

Last year a group met monthly to reflect together on a theme expressed in a selected passage from the sacred scriptures of each of the three Abrahamic faith traditions. During the meetings each of us listens to the other participants sharing their understanding of the selected scripture from their faith traditions, in turn sharing our understanding of the scriptures from our own tradition.

Participants last year found the experience enriching and were keen to continue in 2018.

Our shared aim is to understand more deeply the perspectives of the other Abrahamic faith traditions and, in this light, to understand more deeply our own faith tradition. From this we hope to better recognize our shared understandings and values and appreciate positively our differences as faith traditions that come from Abraham, our father in faith.

The evenings will once again use Scriptural Reasoning, a tool for interfaith dialogue developed by the Cambridge University Interfaith Programme and now used in a number of countries. We will use the guidelines and text packs, available at their website.

The theme for our first meeting of 2017 is Encountering God, which can be found in the Resources section of the Scriptural Reasoning website.

Our shared aim is to understand more deeply the perspectives of the other Abrahamic faith traditions and, in this light, to understand more deeply our own faith traditions. From this we hope to better recognize our shared understandings and values and appreciate positively our differences as faith traditions that come from Abraham, our father in faith.

For more information, contact Nick Polaschek, nandlpolaschek@gmail.com or (020) 479 7956

Elastic Man – Religion and Gender

Public Meeting Announcement

Elastic Man: What do our religions (continue to) make of men, as they (continue to) re-define women?

Wednesday 15 November, 7:00pm
Salvation Army Citadel, 92 Vivian Street
Entry by Koha

In this ever-changing world, as Women’s role(s) have been and are constantly re-defined, they impact and revise the role of Men. This evening will consider our endlessly malleable religious roles, as they are experienced in our places of worship, and in our homes. Change can be as challenging – and acceptance as elusive – within the schools of a single religion as it can be in the streets we share.

What do our religions (continue to) make of gender?

Speakers:

Sue Esterman – Jewish

Sue has helped to shape gender roles in Wellington’s Progressive Jewish Congregation for 40 years.  With a committed peer group, she studied, made herself competent, and acted:  reading from the Torah, leading services and music, becoming the Temple’s first female marriage celebrant and its second funeral celebrant.  She taught Hebrew school for 25 years, chaired the Board of Management (twice) and the Ritual Committee.  Progressive Judaism has always professed equality, but it has taken real effort to, progressively, bring it to life.

Rehanna Ali – Muslim

Rehanna calls Wellington home and is an active member of the vibrant and diverse local Muslim community based at the Kilbirnie Mosque. A founding member of the Islamic Women’s Council of NZ and a long-term participant and supporter of NZ interfaith initiatives, she is currently a member of the Wellington Interfaith Council. With a background in Law, including Islamic Shariah, Rehanna has spent the last two decades working in the field of international development. She has a particular interest in issues related to gender equity, community development and diversity and is kept optimistic by an ongoing study of Islamic spirituality.

Diane Gilliam-Weeks – Christian

Diane has been working for gender and ethnic equity for 45 years first in television in the 70’s and 80’s in Media Women and later in her role as Director of Communications for the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand. She was required to gain a degree in Theology before being ordained to ministry in 2002. Diane’s home church is in Eastbourne and she is active at regional and national levels. With a Muslim friend, Diane initiated an interfaith lunch some years ago where food, faith and friendship were shared. She identifies with the contemplative tradition in Christianity.

You can help us publicise this event by sharing with your friends, or downloading, printing out, and putting up our attractive poster.

For more information, email Marilyn Garson, margarson@gmail.com, or ring Dave Moskovitz on 027 220 2202

Sami Awad: Healing, Transformation and Nonviolence – Peacemaking in the Holy Land

Workshop and Public Meeting
on Tuesday 5 September 2017

Update: Listen to (or download) the audio from Sami Awad’s public lecture here.

 

The Wellington Abrahamic Council of Jews, Christians, and Muslims is pleased to present two opportunities to hear and interact with Sami Awad, the Director of the Holy Land Trust, an organisation based in Bethlehem focusing on nonviolence as the catalyst to end all forms of conflict and establish an enduring and comprehensive peace in the Holy Land.

As part of Sami’s visit we have planned two events.

Workshop: Non Linear Thinking as a tool for peace making
When: 1.30-5.00 PM, Tuesday 5 September 2017
Where:
Temple Sinai, 147 Ghuznee Street, Wellington
Cost: Koha: we suggest $40+ waged, $5 unwaged.
Tickets essential, available at: http://bit.ly/sami-tix

Leadership has many dimensions. Through vision, inspiration, strategy and determination, leaders move others toward outcomes. Too often, however, we envision leadership too narrowly; a leader takes us from Point A to Point B. We are usually constrained by past experience in envisioning future possibilities. Our solutions are usually new iterations of what hasn’t worked in the past.

Holy Land Trust moves beyond these failures and frustrations through a practice called nonlinear leadership. Nonlinear leadership is a personal transformation process that enables leaders to engage in making the impossible possible. It addresses the question of what makes us see something as impossible. Leaders come to understand how powerfully the past influences our decisions in the present, for the future. With this awareness, individually and collectively, leaders become able to facilitate a process in which they build a vision of the future that honors, respects and learns from the past, while, at the same time, remaining free from its limitations.

Tickets for this event are expected to sell out quickly. If you miss out on the workshop, you can still attend Sami’s public lecture below.

If you are unable to purchase tickets through the Eventbrite link above, contact Dave Moskovitz on 027 220 2202 for other options.

 


 

Public Lecture: Healing, Transformation and nonviolence: Peacemaking in the Holy Land
When: 7.00 PM, Tuesday 5 September 2017
Where:
Salvation Army Citadel, 92 Vivian Street, Wellington
Cost: Koha (no ticket required)

Sami Awad brings an important voice to the table in the discussion about peace in the middle east – the voice of nonviolence.

“My enemy was a group of people that had experienced continued threat, violence, discrimination and racism,” Sami said. “There was never a healing for the Jews. Both groups, the Jews and the Palestinians have a similar type of trauma – an existential threat to their existence – so they can never let their guards down.”

“For the first time I began to see that peacemaking is not about making a political commitment, it’s a commitment to a deep healing of deep traumas. Until we do that we can never do peacemaking.”

Calling for a paradigm shift in peace and justice Sami, who established Holy Land Trust with Palestinian and Israeli peace activists, explained how his organisation tries to help people to look into the past with a different lens.

He said: “We negotiate peace out of fear, we resist out of fear. Fear is what motivates and if we are not able to bring about healing there can never be any peace for the future.”

Come learn about Sami’s approach to overcoming fear and violence to achieve lasting healing and peace in the middle east.

You can help us publicise these events by downloading, printing, and posting our attractive event poster.

For more information, contact us through the website, or ring Dave Moskovitz on 027 220 2202.

Sharing our scriptures – a series of informal meetings

Sharing our scriptures: an Abrahamic interfaith dialogue

When: 7.30PM Wednesday 29 March and monthly thereafter
Where:
Nick Polaschek’s home at 12 Everest Street Khandallah
RSVP: http://bit.ly/sos-rsvp

The Wellington Abrahamic Council is sponsoring a series of evening meetings to help foster understanding and friendship between people from the three Abrahamic faith traditions in Wellington.

We will meet in each others’ homes to reflect together on a theme expressed in a selected passage from the sacred scriptures of each of the three Abrahamic faith traditions.

Each of us will listen to the other participants sharing their understanding of the selected scripture from their faith traditions, in turn sharing our understanding of the scriptures from our own tradition.

The evenings will use Scriptural Reasoning, a tool for interfaith dialogue developed by the Cambridge University Interfaith Programme and now used in a number of countries. We will use the guidelines and text packs, available at their website.

For the first meeting we will use the first text pack, Abraham’s hospitality, which can be found in the Resources section of the Scriptural Reasoning website.

Our shared aim is to understand more deeply the perspectives of the other Abrahamic faith traditions and, in this light, to understand more deeply our own faith traditions. From this we hope to better recognize our shared understandings and values and appreciate positively our differences as faith traditions that come from Abraham, our father in faith.

Do consider coming along on Wednesday 29 March 2017 at 7:30pm, and don’t forget to RSVP.

For more information, contact Nick Polaschek, nandlpolaschek@gmail.com or (020) 479 7956

The care of our Earth

Public Meeting Announcement

The care of our Earth –
Three faith perspectives

Salvation Army Citadel, 92 Vivian St
Wednesday 8 March, 7pm

All Welcome.

[Update: you can listen to an audio recording below]

Speakers:

Jewish Dr Paul Blaschke, Ecologist, Otago University
Christian Catherine Gibbs, The Catholic Institute
Muslim Tahir Nawaz, President, International Muslim Association of NZ

The continuing degradation of the natural environment in which we live as human beings is a major issue in our world today.

What do the Abrahamic faith traditions affirm about our responsibility as human beings to care for the earth that our Creator has given us to live in?

Has the contemporary environmental crisis changed or developed the understandings within our faith traditions?

Do our faith traditions have a distinctive contribution to make to discussion of this issue in our contemporary secular western world?

Our three speakers will address the audience, after which we will hold a group discussion.  Light refreshements will be served.

Come to the event, and contribute to the conversation.

You can help us publicise this event by downloading, printing, and distributing our poster.
For more information, please contact Dave Moskovitz.

Update: You can either listen to or download the audio from this event.

Farewell to old friends, and hello to new ones

As the secular year draws to a close, we’ve had a few personnel changes at the Abrahamic Council.  Jenny Chalmers has stepped down as Christian Co-chair, as she has taken up a position as the Vicar at St Andrew’s Anglican Church in Taupo. Jenny will stay on as a member of the Council, although she will participate remotely most of the time. Taking up the position of Christian Co-chair is Ron Bennett, a Catholic Priest who has been on the Council for the last several years.

Sister Catherine Jones (Catholic) leaves us to take up a posting in London. We will miss her, as she has contributed so much to the Council over the years, and wish her well in her new position.

We also farewelled Father Aprem Pithyou from the Ancient Church of the East (Assyrian Orthodox) earlier in the year, who is retiring from the Council after many years of service. We will miss his gentle smile and keen perspective of someone who comes from a region where our religions meet in complex ways.

Nick Polaschek, a Catholic layperson who has published numerous articles in refereed journals on topics related to the delivery of health services, joins us as our newest Christian member.

We also welcome Marilyn Garson, our newest Jewish member. Marilyn has returned to Aotearoa recently from Gaza, where she worked most recently on a UN programme for creating jobs through business outsourcing. Prior to that, she established social enterprises and worked in economic development in Afghanistan, Cambodia, and American e-commerce.

So we have a number of new faces and new perspectives in the Council.

At this time, we’d like to wish all of our Christian friends a Merry Christmas, our Jewish friends a happy Chanukah, and to everyone a restful break to enjoy the summer in good spirits.

Abrahamic Council Condemns Anti-Semitic and Misogynist Statements

The Wellington Abrahamic Council of Jews, Christians and Muslims has totally rejected the intolerant anti-Semitic speeches of Auckland cleric Dr Mohammad Anwar Sahib. Such pronouncements are irresponsible, insensitive and hurtful to Jewish people.

“Our Council represents our religious communities in a common goal: to overcome the evils of prejudice, intolerance and discrimination between people of different religions and ethnicity,” said Sultan Eusoff, Muslim Co-Chair of the Wellington Abrahamic Council.

“Aotearoa New Zealand is a tolerant and peaceful nation. Divisive and misogynist teachings from any religious leader do not belong here”, said Dave Moskovitz, Jewish Co-Chair of the Council.

“The Council works together for religious harmony in New Zealand and therefore we stand together to unreservedly denounce statements denigrating other religions” said Mr Eusoff.

Mr Eusoff who is also the CEO of the Federation of Islamic Associations in New Zealand (FIANZ) added that Dr Sahib’s statements do not reflect mainstream thinking within the New Zealand Muslim community, and do not represent the position of FIANZ or any of its constituent organisations. “We’ve been working with Christians and Jews for years to improve relations, and have succeeded in doing so. We’re not going to let the rantings of one cleric destroy our achievement of making New Zealand one of the few countries that enjoys excellent relations between the organisations and people representing the Abrahamic faiths.”

In these difficult times, the Wellington Abrahamic Council calls for New Zealanders of all races and religions to rally together to build bridges across different ethnicities and help keep our country safe and secure for ourselves, our families and friends.

Mentors from our religions – as seen through the eyes of others

heart-iconPublic Meeting Announcement

Mentors from our religions –
as seen through the eyes of others

Temple Sinai, 147 Ghuznee St
Tuesday 20 September, 7pm

Speakers:
Rehanna Ali, Catherine Jones, and Adam Levy

Each speaker will discuss a contemporary figure from another Abrahamic religion who is inspirational to all.

All welcome.

You can help us publicise this event by downloading, printing, and distributing our poster.
For more information, please contact Dave Moskovitz.

Mercy in our sacred scriptures – audio and text

On Wednesday 18 May 2016, a public discussion was held at St Joseph’s Church in Mt Victoria, Wellington. There were three speakers: JoEllen Duckor from the Jewish Community, Sister Elizabeth Julian from the Christian Community, and Sultan Eusoff from the Muslim Community.

You can listen to JoEllen’s talk:

 

And Sultan’s talk:

 

Sister Elizabeth Julian preferred for her talk not to be recorded, but you can read the paper on which her talk was based: Mercy, the Beating Heart of the Bible.

 

Abrahamic Meditation Day 25 June

meditation

Meditation Day
Saturday 25 June 2016, 10am-3pm
Pā Maria, 78 Hobson St, Thorndon

Come join us for a day of meditation drawing from our shared spiritual kaupapa as Jews, Christians and Muslims. Facilitator Rev Erice Fairbrother from the House of Benedict Spirituality Centre will take us through a programme of silence, meditation, and shared reflection, bringing us together into places of shared faith and respect for the precious things we hold in common. We will take time to consider God as one God and Creator, followed by Creation and our response to the centrality of care of creation, and finally our shared humanity.

Rev Erice Fairbrother was part of an initial group that established the interfaith group at Otago University many years ago. In the 1990’s, together with Diane Mille-Keeley she presented a paper at the Auckland Council of Christian and Jews concerning domestic violence and the call to justice in our sacred writings. She now lives in Napier, is a published poet and teacher in spirituality in the Benedictine tradition.

Space is limited, RSVP essential to:
Sr Catherine Jones, c.jones@wn.catholic.org.nz, (04) 496 1337

Please Download a poster, and help us spread the word.