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Non-Denominational Interfaith Prayer

Andrea Dawkins

Andrea Dawkins  -  Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Tags: Religion, Multicultural Affairs

Ms DAWKINS (Bass) - Madam Speaker, tonight I rise to give comment on opportunities for further inclusion in the parliamentary ritual with regard to the recitation of the Lord's Prayer every morning.  Not all parliaments continue the tradition.  In the ACT the prayer has been replaced with a silent reflection and in the US Congress there is a rotation between prayers of different faiths.

Australia is a successful multicultural society.  I took a friend of my youngest daughter to Melbourne when they were very young, and my daughter's friend, Miss Caskie, had never been out of Tasmania before.  Walking down the streets of Melbourne she asked, 'Are we in a different country?'.  I do not really think we are aware of how multicultural Australia has become.  With that, we bring cultures and traditions that extend beyond European Christian traditions.  If we want to make Tasmania an attractive destination for people to settle and to help us recognise opportunities in the new economy, we must embrace all cultures and traditions, other religions, other ways of like and ethical lifestyles beyond religious tradition.

I understand the foundation of our western colonial lifestyles are based on parts of the Christian tradition, but we are moving on.  Unfortunately the traditions of this House are not moving on at the same pace.  I know that this will make people roll their eyes and puff and pant, and I know no change will come of this speech.  We do not have the numbers in this place to affect the kind of change I am talking about, but that should not stop me from putting on public record some alternatives to the Lord's Prayer.

After the media attention I received from questioning this tradition publicly I was approached by a number of people.  One of them was the interfaith minister the Reverend Shari Landeg.  Shari is the only ordained interfaith minister in Tasmania.  She is the only interfaith minister attached to a university in Australia and we are fortunate enough to have her based at the Launceston UTAS campus.  She was ordained in New York in June 2015.  Her training involved comparative religious study, including indigenous and earth-based studies, all aspects of ritual and rites and spiritual psychology. 

After a meeting and several conversations she has written an interfaith prayer which she has asked me to read for you here today.  Clearly this offering is longer than the morning prayer allows, but I thought it was a lovely gesture of inclusiveness and I am proud to share it here tonight. 

Non-denominational Interfaith Prayer


On hallowed ground we stand,

Voices pledged in unison.

May this, the power of our prayer,

Be heard with sincere and pure intent.

We acknowledge this land's first peoples,

Elders and generations past,

Those present and yet to come.

Respecting the rights of all,

May we celebrate our diversity,

Uphold our common humanity,

From this day forward let us meet as one.

Long may we safeguard the gift of our sacred traditions,

Honour the source which unites all people and places at all times,

Shared in a spirit of friendship, sustained in faith and in harmony.

May abiding trust and hope spring eternal and peace prevail on earth.