Jayfel Tubaling-Lee, Jieyi Yan, Antoine Nguyen Khan, and Ibrahim Raha
Week 1, Semester 1, 2021
Greetings! We, Khanh, Jayfel, Ibrahim and Ya are 2021’s Interfaith Officers. The Interfaith Officers have been discussing with community faith groups and planning the creation of a Queers of Faith space and events to integrate Indigenous spirituality in faith communities’ minds.
Welcome Week planning:
Interfaith have submitted a budget for the 2021 academic year and received indicative permission for a stall in the second week of 2021. However, owing to internal issues, Interfaith may not be able to operate a stall in Semester 1, 2021.
Conversation with community faith groups
Interfaith have been contacting community organisations such as the Sydney Alliance and articulated that issues such as: access to affordable renewable electricity and experience of racism/discrimination especially related to the Muslim community are in alignment with Interfaith’s ethos. The latter is of great importance as discrimination exist not only outside of faith communities but between faith communities.
We are also in the process of reaching out to other Christian, Jewish, Buddhist and Indigenous organisations. This is to identify intersecting interests and make effective advocacy campaigns that boost Interfaith’s community relations, contribute to the respective religious group(s)’ progressivism and to the wider community.
A Queers of Faith space
The Interfaith Officers are considering creating a Queers of Faith space within the portfolio in order to reach out to LGBTQ+ students of faith within The University of Sydney and beyond. This draws from individual religious group’s own LGBTQ+ spaces in Sydney such as Dayenu (Judaism), Uniting Network Australia (Uniting Church), Acceptance (Catholicism), Sydney Queer Muslims (Islam) and more. The space hopes to feature a dedicated online landing space, host dialogue events, talks and interreligious advocacy for LGBTQ+ affirmation in religious communities on- and off-campus. The distinction being that as an interfaith space, a Queers of Faith space will be able to aggregate interest and function as a safe space in which students could share their stories and advocate for LGBTQ+ affirming policies within their respective faith communities.
De-colonising theology by integrating Indigenous spirituality
Interfaith is planning to host reading groups and dialogue events to gather on-campus religious groups to learn about Indigenous spirituality, Dreamtime, the importance of connection to the environment, and inclusive sovereignty. The aim is to decolonise religious groups’ theologies and put Indigenous justice at the forefront of religious life at Usyd.
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