By: Clare Bruce
The future of Christian religious freedom and religious education is looking brighter, after the launch this week of Faith NSW – a Peak body of faith groups that will represent religious interests at all levels of government.
NSW Premier Chris Minns was at the launch gala dinner, held at Sydney Olympic Park on Tuesday, October 3, and he was joined by more than 200 faith leaders and community members from all the major religions.
The ecumenical coalition of faith groups from across the state, also known as Better Balanced Futures, is comprised of leaders from the Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist communities.
It aims to build stronger relationships between those faith communities, and foster greater engagement with all levels of government on common issues and areas of need, such as religious freedoms and religious education.
Also present at the launch were the NSW Treasurer Daniel Mookhey, Minister for Multiculturalism Steve Kamper, and Lakemba MP Jihad Dib.
The event saw a special Faith Award presented to Mr Mookhey and Mr Dib for their unwavering support and friendship to faith communities in recent years. Also presented on the night was a Churchill Fellowship Report on best practice in religious education, by Faith NSW CEO Murray Norman.
Premier Chris Minns said he was honoured to attend the night, saying that “New South Wales is enriched by our vibrant multi-faith communities.”
Faith NSW co-chairs Darren Bark and Surinder Jain thanked the NSW Government for their support. They added that NSW was one of the most multicultural states in the world, and that Faith NSW “will continue to work together to ensure all people of faith have the freedom to practice that faith, and live safely and securely in our cohesive, multicultural society.”
CEO of Christian Media and Arts Australia, Nathan Brown said, “It is refreshing to see the NSW Government recognise what faith communities contribute to our society and culture in launching Faith NSW.”
“Faith NSW provides a valuable forum for Christians, and other faith leaders to work with government on areas and concerns we have in common, including things like freedom of speech or employing Christian teachers in Christian Schools or Jewish teachers in Jewish schools, for instance.
“Already the combined work of Better Balanced Futures has enabled bipartisan support for Scripture in Schools (SRE) in NSW. This is a welcome next step in our ability to work with Government to ensure faith is valued and advanced in NSW.”
The organisation strives to “build a more socially cohesive society that celebrates and upholds a rich freedom of religious belief and practice.”
Article supplied with thanks to Christian Media & Arts Australia.
About the author: Clare Bruce is a media and communications professional experienced in journalism, video, podcast and digital media.