Blog | Interfaith Church of Australia

Interfaith College

April 28th, 2012

At this stage the Interfaith Church doesn’t have a training arm in place however we are working on putting together a training structure and online Interfaith College. Unfortunately it will probably take a couple of years to get the course structure up and running and to convince suitably qualified people to assist in writing and delivering the training at a reasonable expense to the end user.

The Interfaith College is hoping to deliver some courses at cost (language, literacy, numeracy, basic computer skills), and others with sufficient profit margin to develop new courses. All predictions below are very loose and require trainers who can provide the courses at very low or no cost. – if this sounds like you and you have a Cert IV in Training & Assessment or greater please contact us!!!

 

In 2013 we hope to start the following courses:

  • Language skills
  • Literacy skills
  • Numeracy skills
  • Basic computer skills
  • How to use Moodle for beginners
  • Basic ICT skills
  • Document management & word processing

 

In 2014 we hope to start the following courses:

  • Comparative Religion courses for Schools (Yr 7?) – to be considered
  • Various Interfaith and Religious courses for adults (by the Interfaith Church)
  • Various Interfaith and Religious courses for adults (by the Affiliate Churches and groups)

 

In 2015-2016 we hope to start the following courses:

  • Unaccredited courses equivalent to Bachelors in Theology, Interfaith Ministry & Religious Studies

In or around 2020 we would hope to be looking for accreditation as a training organisation, preferably as a University. The cost for this is around $100 000 and as such the timing is unpredictably far into the future. This will necessitate an increase in fees.

 

The Interfaith College is currently planning to deliver online using Moodle V2.2 or greater.

If you are an educator and can donate some time towards these goals, please contact us.

Hi All,

I’ve had a few queries about becoming an Interfaith Minister in Australia and have decided to put as much as I can into a single blog which I can point future querents to.

 

My Journey:

Some of the reasons I consider myself an Interfaith Minister are:

  • most importantly, my initial self-dedication to my beliefs; my promises to them and their acceptances;
  • my course and subsequent ordination through another religious institution in Australia;
  • my ordination with a US religious institution;
  • my years of personal research and self-learning about religions and interfaith;
  • my involvement as the senior moderator of ‘Study Circle: Interfaith Dialogues’ one of the largest online interfaith discussion groups in the world since 2008; and
  • my founding of Interfaith Australia in 2008, which then became the Interfaith Church of Australia in 2011.

 

Other peoples Journeys:

The process they went through cost about $6 000 + 2 trips to New York City + 2 years full-time study.

 

In Australia:

I don’t know that there are any hard and fast rules for what is required of an Interfaith Minister so far as training is concerned, certainly there is no easy way. Even with my years of personal work and experience I expect there are many who would not accept my own claims to ministry. The requirements in Australia, at least in Christian institutions, appears to be a three year Bachelors degree in Ministry or Theology as a starting point. Currently in Australia, accredited BMin’s and BTheo’s are only delivered by Christian Universities and their affiliates, which means they are at least 50% about the Bible, Greek, Latin and Hebrew and at most 5% about comparative religion.

To the best of my knowledge there are no training institutions in Australia that provide training in Interfaith Ministry or Comparative Theology at a ministry level. Anything even close can only be gained through singular religions with a very strong bent towards their particular teaching. In the future, the Interfaith College will seek to rectify this on an unaccredited level, however accreditation as a University is upwards of $100k, so that’s on the back burner until we get the money and identify a market for it.

Probably the closest currently on offer is http://www.uq.edu.au/study/program.html?acad_prog=2000 - A Bachelor of Arts through the University of Queensland with a major or double major in Studies of Religion.

 

We are attempting to create a solution for all Australians interested in Interfaith and Religious Studies. See here for more information on the upcoming Interfaith College

I hope this answers your question but I’m equally sure it wasn’t the answer you were hoping for. I have certainly been very disheartened in my continuing search for an accredited qualification that I could gain personally and have come to the conclusion that it is not on offer in Australia at this time.

A great undertaking

April 28th, 2012

The Interfaith Church is a great undertaking that I do not expect to reach its full potential until long after I have passed from this life. If it is to go on, it will  not be my work alone that keeps it on its path, it will be the work of many that drive it to fullness and thereby bring about its long term goals of peace through education and religious acceptance amongst the peoples of many Gods.

Sometimes I wonder how I got here and where I will end up. This quote from Douglas Adams makes sense to me on these occasions.

On this day I thank the Gods for the people who cross my path, those that have the same goals as I and who will continue spreading a message of peace with or without the Interfaith Church…

Allegory of the long spoons

April 27th, 2012
Rabbi Haim of Romshishok was an itinerant preacher. He traveled from town to town delivering religious sermons that stressed the importance of respect for one’s fellow man. He often began his talks with the following story:”I once ascended to the firmaments. I first went to see Hell and the sight was horrifying. Row after row of tables were laden with platters of sumptuous food, yet the people seated around the tables were pale and emaciated, moaning in hunger. As I came closer, I understood their predicament.

“Every person held a full spoon, but both arms were splinted with wooden slats so he could not bend either elbow to bring the food to his mouth. It broke my heart to hear the tortured groans of these poor people as they held their food so near but could not consume it.

“Next I went to visit Heaven. I was surprised to see the same setting I had witnessed in Hell – row after row of long tables laden with food. But in contrast to Hell, the people here in Heaven were sitting contentedly talking with each other, obviously sated from their sumptuous meal.

“As I came closer, I was amazed to discover that here, too, each person had his arms splinted on wooden slats that prevented him from bending his elbows. How, then, did they manage to eat?

“As I watched, a man picked up his spoon and dug it into the dish before him. Then he stretched across the table and fed the person across from him! The recipient of this kindness thanked him and returned the favor by leaning across the table to feed his benefactor.

I suddenly understood. Heaven and Hell offer the same circumstances and conditions. The critical difference is in the way the people treat each other.

I ran back to Hell to share this solution with the poor souls trapped there. I whispered in the ear of one starving man, “You do not have to go hungry. Use your spoon to feed your neighbor, and he will surely return the favor and feed you.”

“‘You expect me to feed the detestable man sitting across the table?’ said the man angrily. ‘I would rather starve than give him the pleasure of eating!’

“I then understood God’s wisdom in choosing who is worthy to go to Heaven and who deserves to go to Hell.”

 

 

The Difference Between Heaven and Hell is Not the Setting


– It’s in the Way People Treat Each Other

 

Reference: http://www.hodu.com/parable.shtml

 

My ANZAC rememberance

April 25th, 2012

On this most special of Days I remember those who have passed over.
I remember my family members, but most especially those who have passed that I served with and those that have helped forge our way of life.

Saul Dost – My best mate for many years. We both served at sea on the warships HMAS Hobart and HMAS Torrens and were lucky enough to meet up ashore for training at HMAS Cerberus and HMAS Nirimba. I am glad I crossed your path for you helped my form my own. It saddens me that we fell out of touch, but then that was always the way with our group of friends. When I found you again, you had already passed and I miss you. I look forward to the day our paths will cross again.

Happy Hammond – The happiest bloke I knew. We crossed baths at Cerberus and on the Green Ghost and you too had some influence on who I have become. I was very sad to hear you have passed from this life, stabbed on ANZAC day ’99 when trying to stop an ATM robbery. Your beautiful heart and radiant nature has been an inspiration to me for many a year even though we weren’t besties during our time in the service.

Everyone who has ever served – Your dedication, your service, your skills and training are what was used to forge our way of life. Your limbs have been used as the girders of our society, your blood for the hydraulics.
My thanks goes to each and every one of you that donated a part of your lives to ensure the comfort and protection of the majority. You sacrifice and your service is the greatest gift and for it, I can only be eternally grateful.

Some people remember them on ANZAC Day.
Those that served remember them every day.

Warriors

April 24th, 2012

Sitting Bull, great ancestor. The future of humanity is in our hands. We shall fight for it until we draw our last breath in the hope that our children will continue the fight for peace.

Fred Hollows Foundation

April 19th, 2012

Hi All,

I just had someone at the door from the Fred Hollows foundation.

For those that don’t know, Fred Hollows was an ophthalmologist who became known for his work in restoring eyesight for countless thousands of people in Australia and many other countries. It has been estimated that more than one million people in the world can see today because of initiatives instigated by Hollows, the most notable example being The Fred Hollows Foundation.

Fred Hollows was a recipient of many awards and honorary doctorates because of his humanitarian work in Australia and overseas but refused the Order of Australia medal in 1985 because of the governments apparent lack of care for the sight of Australian Aboriginies (he accepted a Companion of the Order of Australia in 1991).

Though Fred Hollows passed from this world in 1993, his work continues on through The Fred Hollows Foundation which he founded in 1992 a few months before he lost his own fight with cancer.

75% of blindness in the world is curable. For only $25 The Fred Hollows Foundation can restore the sight of a child, a parent or a farmer that will improve the life of all those around them. Like all charities, that is not where every dollar goes. In 2010 the had to spend a lot on fundraising, you can spread the word and reduce this cost, or at least help the out a little.

Fred Hollows Foundation Statistics for 2010.
For the $35 Million they spent less than $500 000 was spent on Admin in Australia and about three times that overseas. $24M on programs, $2M on education, and $7M on fundraising (ref: 2010 financial report).

For this they performed 195 000 eye treatments and operation, trained almost 13 000 medical and support staff, conducted 1.3M eye screenings, delivered $3.5M in medical equipment and constructed/ renovated 41 medical facilities.

Over the last five years The Foundation has:

  • Performed eye operations and treatments on 784,378 people
  • Supported training for 31,121 medical and support staff
  • Looked into the eyes of 6,614,085 people
  • Provided $10,131,837 of medical equipment
  • Built or upgraded 119 eye health facilities
  • Expanded to work in more than 55 Indigenous communities

 

That is an awful lot of bang for the buck.

If you can afford it, please consider donating to this very worthy cause. If you cannot, please pass the word on so that the work of Fred Hollows can continue.

 

Yours in Faith

Rev. Peter Brabyn

 

New banners

April 18th, 2012

As we will soon be conducting public events around Brisbane, I have ordered some banners to put up outside the locations we use.

This one was ordered a while back and has arrived…

I was so impressed with it, I have ordered another one which is slightly different…

Please tell us what you think by leaving a comment below.

 

Afternote: Banners have been modified to remove the Baha’i Faiths ‘ringstone’ emblem due to a complaint from a facebook user

Assessment is no fun

April 17th, 2012

Having just completed an assessment item for my current university course, I am reminded of the joys of assessment from the other side of the fence.
Assessment as a student isn’t a lot of fun.

I find I get distracted and wander off after some new piece of information which while important and interesting, is often irrelevant to the assessment. Stopping right in the middle of a well thought out train of thought to participate in the mundane (preparing or eating food, answering the door or the phone) can set me back an hour or three. I often feel I learn a lot, but I seem to miss so much because I am trying to stay on the assessment task instead of expanding my knowledge.

As a student, the real killer for me is the deadline. I feel it impedes my learning experience by restricting what I have time for. I love learning but learning to a deadline is no fun for me, and I often go back an continue my research long after the assessment is handed in.

 

Assessment as an educator is no fun either.

For starters, you need to have an assessment which is worded in such a way as there is no confusion as to the requirements of the assessment. This, I think, is where many educators fall down. They use double negatives, complex words and are often overly verbose when writing an assessment item, all of which can detract from the students understanding of the task. The Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) philosophy is often ignored to the detriment of all concerned. High levels of literacy are not usually part of the assessment, however due to the often advanced literary skills of the person writing the assessment an unfair level of literacy can be needed just to understand what is required.

Giving the assessment (for in person assessment) is an opportunity to correct the errors made above. If the examiner and the assessment author are different people, this opportunity is lost. Not only does this make it hard for the student, it leaves the assessor in a case where reasonable adjustment must occur simply because they failed to get their point across to the student. To me, this is a failure of the assessor to recognise that the student (any student) may have a lesser vocabulary and grasp of the language than the assessor themselves.

Marking is the hardest part of assessment. It is the time when the assessor should be taking into account that the student may have misunderstood the requirements of the task they have been given. Sometimes this is a failing of the student and should be taken into account and thereby marked down, other times it is a failing of the assessment item and the student should not be penalised. This is a hard call for the assessor and we are prone to making mistakes given such a hard decision to make. If a good percentage of the students being assessed make the same determination, it becomes easier, however it still makes marking hard as we as assessors need to decide if the learning outcomes have been evidenced and if they haven’t how we can assist the student to provide sufficient authentic evidence to achieve a positive outcome.

Another difficulty is providing feedback within a reasonable time frame. For a student to be able to continue their learning, and for it to fully sink in, they need to know where they went right and obtain good feedback for these areas. They also need to know where they went off track, or failed to achieve, so that they can make up the shortfall prior to grading or to a second attempt at the assessment or course of study. Six weeks later, much of the assessment has been pushed from the front of the mind. The pertinent information has been stored in memory, whether it is correct or not, and may remain there. Feedback within the shortest possible time can delay this process and ensure the correct information is stored in long term memory. It is part of the assessors role to ensure this happens and delays in feedback can be neglectful of the student.
Regardless of if you are a student or an educator, assessment is no fun, however it is a requirement of the final outcome that the student should provide evidence of the learning process and retention of knowledge. Many forget or disregard the full responsibilities of the assessor in the learning process.

These are things the assessor should take responsibility for, and that the student should demand, for the learning process to work.

Omnipotence and apathy

April 14th, 2012

Even in antiquity, God was seen as fallible.

If we are apathetic to, or fail to take action on our own situation God will not help us. We must shape our own destiny, for we are the greatest instruments of Gods work.

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