Whittlesea Interfaith Network, WIN, hosted its annual Carnival of Connections earlier this month, uniting cultural and faith groups in a colourful celebration of harmony and peace.
A not-for-profit organisation in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, WIN has a long, proud history of developing platforms for interfaith dialogue in the City of Whittlesea, with the purpose of promoting peace, understanding and harmony across faith and culture.
About 500 people attended this year’s event at Epping Memorial Hall, and were treated to the beats of Punjabi dancing, Bollywood singing and the booming sounds of Malay traditional percussion and drums.
The Chaldean and Punjabi troupes inspired the audience from their seats when attendees were asked to join in the rhythms and dance in front of the stage.
Prior to the entertainment, WIN president Gurinder Kaur started the night with an official acknowledgement of country.
Long-serving member Glenys Southurst, who was acknowledged for her ongoing dedication to the organisation on the night, then read an interfaith prayer.
A minute of silence for worldwide peace and all victims of natural and man-made disasters was also observed on the night before the entertainment took to the stage.
The event’s keynote speaker, Member for Scullin and Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural affairs Andrew Giles, said it was an important gathering at any time, but especially in the current world climate.
“That sense of sharing and understanding is more important than ever before,” he said.
“The essence of the importance of the interfaith network is that we have so much more in common than what divides us, and we gain so much in our individual lives by seeing the world through the perspective of other people.”
Ms Kaur said the event would not have been possible without the effort and support of sponsors, including RS Global Immigration Australia, REX Real Estate, Gorkha Flooring, RJ Outdoor Experts, Ratana Jewellers Melbourne and Nest or Invest Buyer Agents.
She also thanked the student volunteers from Al Siraat College, in Epping.