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.

Religious approaches to inequality

Image credit: Tuca Vieira

Image credit: Tuca Vieira

The Wellington Abrahamic Council invites you to a public seminar:

What: Religious approaches to inequality
When: Wednesday 13 April, 7pm
Where: Wellington Islamic Centre, 7 Queens Drive, Kilbirnie

Speakers –
Carol Ratnam, Wellington Progressive Jewish Congregation
Bishop Justin Duckworth, Anglican Diocese of Wellington
Kerem Caliskan, Pearl of the Islands Foundation

Inequality has been around since biblical times – based on economic position, gender, race, and other factors. Our Abrahamic religions have approaches to inequality that have many similarities but significant and interesting differences. Come to this public seminar, and learn more about how religions can contribute to the public discourse about inequality.

You can also download a handsome poster to help publicise this event.

All welcome.

Event: Challenges and Opportunities, 28 January 2016

gillettCome to our first Wellington Abrahamic Council event of 2016!

What: Challenges and opportunities facing the Abrahamic faiths worldwide
Speaker: Bishop David Gillett
Where: All Saints Church Centre, 90 Hamilton Road, Hataitai
When: Thursday 28 January 2016, 5:30pm

The evening will conclude with a light vegetarian meal.

Koha appreciated.

You can download an attractive flyer (PDF) which you can use to help publicise the event.

Bishop David Gillett was the Bishop of Bolton (Diocese of Manchester) between 1999 and 2008.  He is currently Assistant Bishop and Inter-Faith Adviser in the Anglican Diocese of Norwich, England, Honorary Vice President of UK Christian Muslim Forum, Trustee and Advisory Board Member of the UK Council of Christians and Jews, and chair of Norwich Interfaith Link.

And while we have your attention, we have the following planned events coming up early this year:

13 April Dealing with inequality
18 May Abrahamic perspectives on mercy
21 May Abrahamic joint service project day

We hope to see you soon!

Wellington Interfaith Council AGM 23 August 2015

Our friends at The Wellington Interfaith Council are having their AGM later this month.

When: 23 August 2015, 2pm
Where: SOGINZ Wellington Centre, Ground Floor, HP House, 8 Gilmer Tce
There will be two speakers, Nadia McDonald, winner of the Bahai leadership competition. Nadia will speak on “Big change starts small” for 4 minutes. The second speaker is Robert McKay who will speak on the Parliament of World Religions using a video and presentation. He will speak for 20 minutes.

The AGM will commence thereafter, and will be followed by a cup of tea and shared food.

Free parking is available for the meeting: Park in the James Cook Hotel Carpark – entrance off the Terrace. Take the right hand lane and take a ticket at the barrier. The right hand lane leads you to the lower parking levels – you can park anywhere but I suggest you park on level B or C. Bring your parking ticket with you, and walk out to Gilmer Terrace via the vehicle exit on Level B. The venue is in the hexagonal building in front of you – the entrance is about 40 metres along to the right.

 

Should there be religious limits to freedom of expression?

Prof Paul Morris at Victoria University’s Religious Studies Department and the Robert Mackay from the World Parliament of Religions have organised the following seminar…

What: Should there be religious limits to absolute media freedom of expression?
When: Monday, 10 August 2015 6.15-8.15pm
Where: Victoria University Council Chambers, Level 2, Hunter Building, Kelburn campus

Paul Morris will provide a plenary, with a panel afterwards comprising Dave Moskovitz, Tayyaba Khan, Jenny Chalmers, Joris de Bres, Tom Scott, Selva Ramasami, and John Shaver, moderated by Ced Simpson.  David Zwartz will sum up.

You can download a flyer with more information.

Note that this is not an official function of the Wellington Abrahamic Council, but the topic will be of interest to our community.

Pope Francis and the ICCJ on the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate

Pope Francis addressed a meeting of the International Council of Christians and Jews in Rome yesterday, on the fiftieth anniversary of the seminal Nostra Aetate declaration by Pope Paul VI in 1965 which redefined the relationship between the Catholic church and non-Christian religions.

Ron Hoenig from the Australian Council of Christians and Jews reports from Rome that
More than 300 delegates at the Rome conference of the International Council of Christians and Jews shook the hand of Pope Francis at the end of an emotional audience with his Holiness in Vatican city.

The audience included an address to the Pope by ICCJ President Phillip Cunningham in which he informed the Pope of the dialogue work of the council and the presentation of three gifts to the Pope by members of the ICCJ executive board, including Australian second vice president Michael Trainor.

Among these gifts was a statue that shows the female figures of the Church and the Synagogue standing proudly and powerfully together.

The statue was commissioned by the Council to embody a new vision of mutuality and respect between the Church and Judaism and to counter the traditional supercessionist representation of the relationship between a triumphant Christianity and a bowed and defeated figure of Judaism that still appears in many churches in Europe.

In honour of the long ongoing friendship between the Pope and the Argentinian Rabbi Abraham Skorka, identical versions of the statue were presented to the Pope and Rabbi Skorka.

In what is seen by delegates as an extraordinary symbol of support for the Council’s work, the pope then personally greeted every one of the delegates.

Here is the English translation of the Pope’s address in Italian on the fiftieth anniversary of Nostra Aetate, as reported by the Vatican:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am pleased that your meeting is taking place this year in Rome, the city where the Apostles Peter and Paul are buried. For all Christians, both Apostles are an important point of reference: they are like “pillars” of the Church. Here in Rome, we also find the most ancient Jewish community in Western Europe, whose origins can be traced to the time of the Maccabees. Christians and Jews therefore have lived together in Rome for almost two thousand years, even though their relations in the course of history have not been without difficulty.

The development of an authentic fraternal dialogue has been made possible since the Second Vatican Council, following the promulgation of the Declaration Nostra Aetate. This document represents a definitive “yes” to the Jewish roots of Christianity and an irrevocable “no” to anti-Semitism. In celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Nostra Aetate, we are able to see the rich fruits which it has brought about and to gratefully appraise Jewish-Catholic dialogue. In this way, we can express our thanks to God for all the good which has been realized in terms of friendship and mutual understanding these past fifty years, as his Holy Spirit has accompanied our efforts in dialogue. Our fragmented humanity, mistrust and pride have been overcome thanks to the Spirit of Almighty God, in such a way that trust and fraternity between us have continued to grow. We are strangers no more, but friends, and brothers and sisters. Even with our different perspectives, we confess one God, Creator of the Universe and Lord of history. And he, in his infinite goodness and wisdom, always blesses our commitment to dialogue.

Christians, all Christians, have Jewish roots. Because of this, since its inception, the International Council of Christians and Jews has welcomed the various Christian confessions. Each of them, in its own way, has drawn near to Judaism, which in its time, has been distinguished by diverse trends and sensibilities. The Christian confessions find their unity in Christ; Judaism finds its unity in the Torah. Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Word of God made flesh in the world; for Jews the Word of God is present above all in the Torah. Both faith traditions find their foundation in the One God, the God of the Covenant, who reveals himself through his Word. In seeking a right attitude towards God, Christians turn to Christ as the fount of new life, and Jews to the teaching of the Torah. This pattern of theological reflection on the relationship between Judaism and Christianity arises precisely from Nostra Aetate (cf. no. 4), and upon this solid basis can be developed yet further.

In its reflection on Judaism, the Second Vatican Council took account of the ten theses of Seelisberg, formulated in that Swiss town in 1947. These theses are closely linked to the founding of the International Council of Christians and Jews. We can say that there was already in embryonic form an initial concept of cooperation between your organization and the Catholic Church. This cooperation was officially inaugurated after the Council, and especially after the establishment of our Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews in 1947. This Commission of the Holy See always follows your organization’s activities with great interest, in particular the annual international meetings, which offer a notable contribution to Jewish-Christian dialogue.

Dear friends, I thank all of you for this visit and I wish you well for your meeting. May the Lord bless you and keep you in his peace. I ask you please to pray for me. Thank you.

Religion: Catalyst for violence or peace?

rcvp

The Australian Catholic Church’s Broken Bay Institute (BBI) will be running an e-conference from Sydney on the topic “Religion: Catalyst for violence or peace? Probing the Abrahamic traditions for answers” on Tuesday 23 June at 12 noon NZST.

If you’re in Wellington, you’re invited by the NZ Catholic Bishops Committee for Interfaith Relations to join a live-stream group session at Connolly Hall, Guildford Terrace, Thorndon at that time.

If you’re not in Wellington or can’t make it to Connolly Hall, you can register separately and join the e-conference on the BBI’s web site at: http://www.bbi.catholic.edu.au/econference-registration.

You can also download this handsome poster for more information and to share with your friends.

One way or the other, we hope to see you there!