WelCom December 2018:
Wellington’s Abrahamic Community
What are a Jew, a Muslim, and a Christian doing having a coffee together at the Botanical Gardens, Wellington? Those who watch television ads will have noticed a recent Kiwibank advertisement featuring just that.
Kiwibank recently launched a campaign about helping make Kiwis better off by supporting them realise their goals, whatever they are. For their campaign to express the idea that ‘The future is ours to create’ they brought together diverse New Zealanders
to share their vision of the future they want to create.
When the ad film crew and producer met with Dave Moskovitz, Sultan Eusoff and Ron Bennett, they had tentatively decided on the theme ‘respect’ as the title for the group’s photo; but when they saw Dave, Sultan and Ron interacting, they changed it to ‘understanding’, which seemed to have a deeper meaning.
How did this understanding come about?
Dave Moskovitz, Sultan Eusoff, and Ron Bennett are members of the Wellington Abrahamic Council of Jews, Christians and Muslims. Its name comes from the fact that all three faiths have Abraham as a common ancestor in their religious tradition.
The aim of the group is to overcome prejudice, intolerance and discrimination between people of different religions and ethnicities, and to foster understanding, friendship and trust between the Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
‘We do this first of all by just being together and listening to one another,’ says Fr Ron. ‘The group seeks to educate itself, but also the wider community. It does this in a variety of ways. One is to see what the three faiths have in common, their common heritage, and appreciate one another’s distinctive beliefs and practices.’
Public meetings are held several times a year on contemporary issues as viewed through the eyes of each faith tradition. Recent presentations have included Mercy, Inequality, Peace and Reconciliation, Holy Days, Fasting. Each year a day of shared meditation is held. There is also a monthly scriptural meeting, where themes such as fasting, holiness, caring, sacrifice, prayer, revelation are discussed through individuals sharing their understanding of the meaning of relevant passages from the scriptures of their tradition.
Go online and Google the name Wellington Abrahamic Council to find out more about the Council. You can also find information on the website abrahamic.nz including events, how to join the community, how to subscribe to publications, or how to make contact.