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Parishioner aims to better grasp world faiths at gathering

Adrian Dass with the Reverend Dr Satvasheela Pandahare (right) and the Victorian Council of Churches Reverend Sandy Boyce (left). Mr Dass will head to the Parliament of World Religions in Chicago in August. Picture: supplied.

Jenan Taylor

9 August 2023

A Hume parishioner hopes to broaden his understanding of world faiths and see God in their diversity at a global interfaith gathering.

St Peter’s Anglican member Adrian Dass will join people from more than 200 spiritual and faith traditions at the Parliament of the World Religions in Chicago next week.

Aimed at cultivating harmony, organisers said this ninth iteration of the convention was a call to faith leaders and communities to unite against authoritarianism.

Its program includes a presentation from Palestinian Christian peacemaker Elias Jabbour, and an exploration of how communities face climate change challenges, the equality of Indigenous people, and the dignity of women.

Mr Dass said he was particularly interested in exploring both the differences and similarities that existed between religious traditions.

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He said it was important to strive for understanding because it would help people of diverse backgrounds and traditions find solutions to common problems.

Religious persecution in particular was an issue that stemmed from the lack of understanding that most communities wanted the same thing, regardless of their faith, Mr Dass said.

Faith communities weren’t looking for conflict but were trying to attend to what they believed in, and trying to make the world a better place, he said.

An electrical engineer, Mr Dass has been an Anglican for most of his life and was a server and a youth group leader before his family began attending the Hume parish.

Priest-in-charge the Reverend Dr Satvasheela Pandhare said Mr Dass came from a Fijian-Indian background, and attended church services every Sunday with this parents and siblings.

She said given the religious-based violence unfolding in parts of the world including India, it was important that people learned to embrace and respect a diversity of religious ideologies.

If young people like Mr Dass took up the charge for positive change, it wouldn’t take long to happen, Dr Pandhare said.

The Victorian Council of Churches and the National Council of Churches in Australia are supporting Mr Dass’s attendance at the conference.

He said he hoped to share what he learned with St Peter’s and other churches on his return.

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