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Australian Ark: "An Interfaith Committee."

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The idea of this committee emerged from our participation in an event held by the, East West Meditation Foundation called from Sound to Silence early this year (2003).  Following this wonderful event, those that were interested, had the option of leaving their contact details and being contacted at a later date to participate in the forming of a local (Bayside/Kingston) Inter-Faith group. On the 15thof November 2003 a group of hardy enthusiasts met in sweltering heat in the beautifully cool air-conditioned comfort of the Stella Maris Presbytery Black Rock to discus the strategic plans of this local Inter-Faith group. Following the meeting and refreshments we agreed to send Fr John Dupuche the founder of the group our thoughts as a result of the meeting; this text evolved from that initial meeting.

What is Inter-Faith?

Literally, Inter-faith is a relationship formed between different faiths by participants in those faiths.  In order for such a relationship to exist the core participants from each faith need to be reasonably centred in their own faiths (Chaves 2003) in order for there to be communication between faiths. Nevertheless, others who wish to participate need not be centred but have a desire to grow beyond their present understanding, perhaps develop a faith, engage in learning about cultures, diversity and encourage goodwill between the people of Australia and the world. Inter-Faith is not an entertainment (Chaves 2003) though some may see Inter-Faith as a faith within itself or chance to touch faith, experience faith, learn the customs and traditions of other faiths before, becoming faithful and experiencing faith themselves; though primarily, it is about bridging the gap between different faiths through common experience.

Most of all Interfaith is about sharing between peoples of the world through participation via these broad aims:

  • Finding common ground between faiths
  • Experiencing different cultural and spiritual practices of the world
  • Learning about each other to help bring practical peace to the world.
  • Enjoyment and self-fulfillment

These broad aims are achieved through exploring:

  • Spiritual
  • Cultural, and
  • Natural 

Via physical participation and spiritual development.


Interfaith meets roughly 6 weekly though is flexibly and adjusts to the needs of the group to discuss these and to organise events where we can fulfill our goals. The following are some activities that have been suggested for us to use as tools to encourage communication and further understanding between the faiths and the wider community:

  • Philosophical/Theological Discussion sessions
  • Group Meditation and Prayer
  • Discovering and participation in cultural festivals
  • Enjoying the outdoors together i.e.:
    • Special BBQs with appropriate cuisine
    • Meditative walks
    • Other sporting activities encompassing our objectives


It was discussed in our first meeting that these activities, related links and ideas would be communicated to us and the public through an Interfaith Website and by regular email. The following is a list of groups that are already established towards encouraging Inter-faith/Cultural participation and dialogue, our group is predominantly aimed at the people of the Kingston/Bayside municipalities of Melbourne Australia , though our principals, ideas and activities may be universally applicable and accessible through our website (this website). The list follows:

  • East West Meditation Foundation (Sponsor of From Sound to Silence)
  • Catholic Interfaith Committee (Ran Symposium of the heart)
  • The Abraham Conference: Catholics, Muslims and Jews discuss theology
  • Catholic Hindu conversation