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​Hamilton Interfaith Leaders Discuss ‘Serving Humanity’

“Despite many different religious practices [in the world], I’ve found in my journey in this life that there are a couple of things that hold and bind us all together.”

These were the opening remarks of Elder Ronald K. Hawkins, director of the Hamilton New Zealand Visitors’ Centre as he spoke to interfaith leaders in Hamilton last week.

Elder Hawkins told the interfaith gathering, that for him, these universal truths are “the concept of God who we love and honour, and the necessity of taking care of one another and serving one another.

"It doesn’t matter where we find ourselves in society, there’s always some who are more in need than we are.” 

As part of Islamic Awareness Week, several interfaith leaders addressed the theme “Serving Humanity.” They used examples of service being extended by many people of faith to the Hamilton community as well as around the world.

 For Elder Hawkins, serving humanity “goes far beyond the scriptural rhetoric. If we’re really going to serve humanity it requires action.”

“One of the greatest examples that I know of is our [Latter-day Saint] missionaries,” he said. “They give up their lives for two years or 18 months, they pay their own way, they don’t get any compensation and they go out and try to help humanity.

Sometimes it’s in teaching the gospel but sometimes it’s in fixing somebody’s garage door or whatever else they might do to help society.”

Catholic leader, Deacon Peter Richardson, said, “We work in partnership with a number of other churches and faith communities. I think there’s strength in partnership.”

Anglican representative, Karen Morrison-Hulme, said, “In this Islam Awareness Week the generosity that has been extended tonight towards other faiths has been extraordinary. This is our little expression of serving humanity but I think there’s a greater call here, to serve humanity together and not just individually. I look forward to us building on that dream.”

“I think that what we celebrate here tonight,” Elder Hawkins said, “is that whole idea of administering relief to one another, and being the Good Samaritan or whatever that “type” may be in the different religious beliefs and backgrounds.”

The event was held on Tuesday evening, 8 September at Hamilton City Council’s reception lounge at Garden Place.


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