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From L-R, Alicia Buring, Belinda Maric with (centre) the Hon Zoe Bettison MP's adviser Nyanwell Agoth, Sada Sheka and Jill Foster

From L-R, Alicia Buring, Belinda Maric with (centre) the Hon Zoe Bettison MP’s adviser Nyanwell Agoth, Sada Sheka and Jill Foster.

A group of young adults of different faiths in Adelaide is gearing up for a ‘Faith Matters Week’ (August 19-26) interfaith event by visiting parliamentarians to share experiences and seek input regarding this year’s incorporated service project.

“We enjoyed last year’s interfaith activity which brought six different faiths together and helped develop friendships and understanding,” shared Latter-day Saint Jill Foster.

“It was a great forum designed to help us appreciate similarities and differences across religions, but also to join together for a good cause because service – helping the community – is a major aim of  ‘Faith Matters Week’ as well.

“In 2016, we assembled prosthetic hands for overseas victims of landmine injuries which was a really uplifting experience, and this year we want to take on a project that will help South Australians; we thought some of our political leaders might like to know about this initiative of ours, and that they would have ideas for us to consider as the linked-in community project.”

The eight young adults, of LDS, Catholic and Muslim backgrounds, met with Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs John Gardner MP at Parliament House on 31 January, and with Nyanwell Agoth, adviser to Multicultural Affairs Minister Zoe Bettison MP at her city offices on 9 February.

Latter-day Saints (at left) Heath Rusby, Amber-Jean Mutton, (back R) Jill Foster and (6th from L) Caroline McIlwaine with the Hon John Gardner MP at Parliament House, joined by (3rd & 4th from L) Sada Sheka and Kate Day of the SA Muslim Women's Association and young Catholics (R front) Tahlia Sully and Victoria Markovic.

Latter-day Saints (at left) Heath Rusby, Amber-Jean Mutton, (back R) Jill Foster and (6th from L) public affairs director Caroline McIlwaine with the Hon John Gardner MP at Parliament House, joined by (3rd & 4th from L) Sada Sheka and Kate Day of the SA Muslim Women’s Association and young Catholics (R front) Tahlia Sully and Victoria Markovic.

They discussed the benefits to the wider community of interfaith connection, and also identified several local needs that could be met via the ‘Faith Matters Week’ project, including youth homelessness and refugee assimilation and support.

Belinda Maric, of the Catholic Office for Youth and Young Adults, appreciates the ‘active service and open conversation’ of the initiative spearheaded by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in South Australia.

‘I believe these young people have a genuine understanding that working together is the best way forward,” said Belinda.

“They are paving the way for a more inclusive, diverse and harmonised future – recognising that no matter which faith you belong to, we are deeply rooted in unity, and that love, justice and being a good human being are what’s most important.

“I hope to see the faith matters project and its efforts grow and look forward to what this will mean for South Australia and our young people.”

The 2017 service project day will be held on Saturday 26 August and will again be hosted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Adelaide. Visiting various places of religious worship to continue building bridges of understanding and respect is also being discussed as a lead-in to the major event.

Friendships are being created and understanding of respective religious beliefs increased though interfaith activity: Belinda Maric of the Catholic Office of Youth and Young Adults greets Sada Sheka of the Muslim Women's Association of SA during the interfaith group visit to Zoe Bettison MP's office.

Friendships are being created and understanding of respective religious beliefs increased though interfaith activity: Belinda Maric of the Catholic Office for Youth and Young Adults greets Sada Sheka of the Muslim Women’s Association of SA during the interfaith group visit to Zoe Bettison MP’s office.