For healing and reconciliation within, between religions...

Letters to the Editor

For healing and reconciliation within, between religions...

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

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Dear Editor,

World Religion Day, an initiative of the Baha'I community, is observed on January 19 each year. The aim is to promote inter-faith understanding and harmony among religious groups, individuals and institutions. Through a variety of events and activities held around the globe, in which adherents/followers participate, every religion is encouraged to acknowledge the similarities different faiths have and celebrate ways in which these promote inter-faith understanding and harmony.

The Jamaica Council of Churches takes seriously the theme 'Religion – The solution for troubled times'. It does so in the context of Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”

World Religion Day is an opportunity for all people of faith to work towards unity of disparate groups and to foster acts of reconciliation between factions. In this way, adherents of religion in Jamaica are encouraged to address prejudices and misconceptions and show kindness, open heart and mind and compassion towards all religions that exist.

World Interfaith Harmony Week is an annual event observed during the first week of February.

Proclaimed by the UN General Assembly, in resolution A/RES/65/5 adopted on October 20, 2010, this event encourages mutual understanding and inter-religious dialogue. Its emphasis is on a culture of peace as a means of promoting harmony between all people regardless of their faith. Harmony, which is the act of forming unity from differences, is also a way to recognising the imperative and need for dialogue among different faiths and religions. This dialogue, done effectively, enhances mutual understanding, cooperation among people and states and spreads the message of interfaith harmony and goodwill.

Following on the heels of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, World Interfaith Harmony Week is an opportunity for churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, and other places of worship to voluntarily pursue righteousness, justice and peace while affirming religious traditions and convictions.

Jamaica has a long and distinguished tradition of religious harmony. To this end, the council is of the view the observance of World Religion Day and World Interfaith Harmony Week are consistent with our Lord's injunction to live in unity (John 17:21). We pray for healing and reconciliation within and between religions and commend these two observances to our stakeholders for prayers and support.

Rev Gary Harriott

General secretary

Jamaica Council of Churches

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