Celebrations and Events
Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the EIC and AIS (29 July, 2007)

Signing of the

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING

between the

ECUMENICAL AND INTERFAITH COMMISSION
of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne

and

THE AUSTRALIAN INTERCULTURAL SOCIETY

(Cardinal Knox Centre, July 29th, 2007)

(Click here to download a copy of the Memorandum of Understanding with signatures)

(Click here to download a plain text copy of the Memorandum of Understanding)

Over the past six years or so, there have been numerous articles in the Kairos reporting on joint ventures between the Archdiocesan Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission and a local Turkish Muslim group called "The Australian Intercultural Society" (AIS).

Since its inception, the AIS has entertained excellent relations with the Commission. Indeed, the cooperation between the AIS and the Commission has been a model of interreligious dialogue in Melbourne and in Australia.

On 29 th July, about forty-five Catholics and Muslims gathered together at a celebratory dinner at the Cardinal Knox Centre to mark the signing of a "Memorandum of Understanding" between the AIS and the Commission.

Monsignor Peter Kenny, as Episcopal Vicar and chair of the Commission and as spokesperson for Archbishop Hart, gave his full support to this new venture. Mr Orhan Cicek, Executive Adviser to the AIS, has also been a driving force in this relationship.

The friendly and familiar 'family' atmosphere at the dinner was itself an expression of the depth of the friendship that has formed between our communities.

The "Memorandum of Understanding" outlines possible joint activities in the four recognised areas of dialogue: Dialogue of Life, Dialogue of Action, Dialogue of Understanding, and Dialogue of Religious Experience.

The Memorandum begins with the following preamble:

"This Understanding is made in a spirit of profound respect for each other's traditions. We acknowledge our willingness to both speak and listen, to communicate the deepest aspects of our traditions and to learn from each other what is held most dearly. It takes place in confidence, without fear or arrogance, without dominating or glossing over differences, never excluding or patronising, neither assimilating nor ignoring. This program of activities is done in the spirit of equality, wishing to serve each other as equal partners in a spirit of reciprocity and cordiality."

The signing of the Memorandum is an unprecedented event in the life our Archdiocese and shows our earnest intention to contribute to harmony and peace between the Catholic and Muslim communities in Melbourne.

Parishes, Schools and agencies of the Archdiocese who would like to participate in events such as joint fellowship meals, conversations, social justice activities, 'Open Church/Mosque' days and interschool visits with the AIS are asked to contact the Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission (9926 5708 or ecum@melbourne.catholic.org.au).





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