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Auckland Young Adults Discuss Religious Freedom and Peace at Interfaith Gathering

"It breaks down barriers and you see humanity as they really are"

Young adults from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hosted an interfaith devotional on Sunday 10 March in the Auckland suburb of Takapuna.

The theme of the devotional was "Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God."


Dawit Arshak, a New Zealand Red Cross settlement case worker, originally from Ethiopia, spoke about his experience as a refugee and his resettlement journey.

His love of the Bible, having faith in God, and the prayers of his mother were integral in his search for freedom and truth.

Dr Katrina Lantos Swett, President of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, and former Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, participated via video. She emphasised the need for religious freedom for all countries.

Stephen Dil, who serves as the bishop of the Church's Takapuna young single adult congregation, said to attendees: "How fortunate we are in New Zealand to have the freedoms we do have." 

He further stated that there is a need for all faiths to come together to protect these privileges.

Peniata Junior Endemann, a young adult from a Latter-day Saint congregation in Panmure, called Dawit Arshak's remarks "truly inspiring and very uplifting."

Another attendee, Stephen Chan, said that religious freedom "breaks down barriers and you see humanity as they really are."

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.