INTERFAITH

L-R, Grace Frick, Sada Sheka, LDS public affairs director Caroline McIlwaine and Rory Pilkington

For young Muslim Sada Sheka, Catholic Grace Frick and Latter-day Saint Rory Pilkington, keeping the faith might be an individual journey but they are learning they have a lot in common.

The trio are among 100 young adults of several faith backgrounds who are building bridges of understanding between religious groups during ‘Faith Matters Week’ (August 19-26), an initiative of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in South Australia. They visited the Al Khalil mosque at Woodville this week for a photo shoot organised by The Advertiser which is covering the upcoming activities.

The activities include hosted visits to various places of worship across Adelaide this Saturday, 19 August, followed by an interfaith community service project next weekend.

“We soon learned we have lots of shared belief, which is great,” Rory said. “And we’re looking forward to the organised visits to find out more about what happens at a mosque and Sikh temple, and the other houses of worship.”

Sites to be visited include the Al Khalil Mosque (pictured), the Saint Francis Xavier Cathedral, the Sikh Gurudwara at Prospect, Saint Aidan’s Anglican Church at Payneham and the Beit Shalom Synagogue at Hackney.

‘Faith Matters Week’ is hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Co-organiser Caroline McIlwaine says the events are designed to help build a more cohesive community.

“Just spending time with each other breaks down a few barriers,” Caroline said.

“Next Saturday (26 August) the participants will work side by side assembling street packs and home starter packs for the SA charity, RuFus, They steered the donation drive in the lead up to the event, and now they get to connect again across faiths and work together for a good cause.”

Grace sees other benefits too: “I love getting to know someone and learning about their faith and how it shapes them, because that gives me a new appreciation and understanding of my own Catholic beliefs.  And promoting that awareness and understanding of others can lead to more compassion and tolerance, which is so important in a world that is currently so divided.”

Round table discussions about benefits and challenges for young people in living their religions are part of the event.  Jenny Richards from RuFus, and Dylan Chown from the Centre for Islamic Thought and Education (CITE) at the University of South Australia are guest speakers.

“This initiative is supported by many SA faith leaders,” Caroline said. “It’s not hard to see the value of interfaith activity, especially when it strengthens or makes a difference for the wider community.”

Read about the service project here.