New Faith Affairs Council meets for first time

New Faith Affairs Council meets for first time

The NSW Faith Affairs Council held its first full meeting on Wednesday 29 November at NSW Parliament House.

Members elected the first Chair of the NSW Faith Affairs Council, the Rev. Dr Michael Stead. Rev. Dr Stead has been the Bishop of South Sydney, Anglican Church Sydney Diocese, since 2015. He is also Chair of many committees and subcommittees in General Synod and Sydney Diocese, including the Religious Freedom Reference Group.

The new chair said it was an honour to be elected to the role.

“I know that we will not always agree on matters unanimously, but I look forward to working with my colleagues across the faith spectrum to address the issues facing our communities,” Rev. Dr Stead said.

The first act of the Council was to pass an ‘Interfaith Resolution.’

The resolution read:

Interfaith Resolution

New South Wales is proudly multifaith and multicultural. We acknowledge the oldest continuous living culture on Earth. We come from 300 ancestries, speak 280 languages and practise 130 religions.  

We value the freedom to express our views and practice our beliefs. Whether it is private or public, in celebration or in protest, we understand our actions must align with our commitment to mutual respect and social cohesion.

The faith communities of New South Wales have consistently demonstrated our ability to engage and coexist in harmony.

We recognise many of us maintain deep connections with other countries through family, heritage, or shared beliefs. This means our perspectives will often contrast sharply, but this only strengthens our desire to understand one another better.

We unequivocally reject speech, violence and actions which incite hatred towards others.

We affirm our belief in diversity as a great strength of our State. We affirm the right to disagree with one another in a way that is respectful and compassionate.

We ask all the people of our State – whether they have faith or not – to keep NSW a peaceful and welcoming home for all.

We, the NSW Faith Affairs Council, commit ourselves to interfaith collaboration and ongoing cooperation for the betterment of our communities and New South Wales.

The members also agreed on the Terms of Reference and the Code of Conduct for the council.

Establishing multifaith prayer rooms in Government hospitals, and other buildings and government chaplaincy programs were discussed at the first meeting.

Steve Kamper is Minister for Multiculturalism. He said the meeting was a momentous occasion.

“To see representatives from across the faith spectrum come together to discuss common issues and to work on a way forward was a unifying moment, Mr Kamper said.

“I commend the Faith Affairs Council members for their commitment to interfaith harmony, and I look forward to working with them through the challenging issues facing our multifaith and multicultural communities.”


1 thought on “New Faith Affairs Council meets for first time”

  1. I’d like to know if the new NSW Faith Affairs Council thinks NSW still needs a 19th Century law that stops normal classes and school activities for all public school students while some leave class to attend faith-based Special Religious Education on school grounds. And if so: why? Insights readers who, like me, think this isn’t the best or fairest use of class time in public schools will be interested in a simple solution that I’ve set out in this parliamentary e-petition:

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