2021 Interfaith Abraham Day event to provide ‘Hope in Unsettling Times’

13 Oct 2021

By Amanda Murthy

Bound by the united belief in the God of Abraham, Perth Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton, representing the Christian faith, will soon be participating in the much-anticipated Abraham Day event, hosted at the University of Notre Dame Fremantle.

Scheduled for Tuesday, 26 October, the collaborative interfaith event held annually, brings together leaders from the three Abrahamic faiths – Christianity, Judaism and Islam – with the aim of practising the spirit of openness, fraternity and communion.

Aptly themed “Hope in Unsettling Times,” the event is set to commence at 2:30pm, with introductory remarks on the theme, from leaders of each faith tradition, including Perth Hebrew Congregation Chief Rabbi Daniel Lieberman, and representing the Islam community in Perth, Sheikh Muhammad Agherdien will join Bishop Don for the afternoon event, opened to the public.

This will be followed by a panel discussion, followed by a Q&A audience session, then, conclude with a reading and prayer from each faith tradition.

Archbishop Costelloe speaks at a previous Abraham Day, discussing the topic ‘Abraham: Our Father in Faith.’ This year, the event will be represented by Perth Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton, and joined by Perth Hebrew Congregation Chief Rabbi Daniel Lieberman, and Islam local leader Sheikh Muhammad Agherdien on 26 October. Photo: Marco Ceccarelli.

Present at the 2016 Abraham Day, Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB offered his reflection on the mercy of God, drawing on the theme on the theme ‘Abraham: Our Father in Faith. He compared three aspects of each religion: Psalm 86 in the Torah, which speaks of God as merciful and gracious; the labelling of God in Islam as the all-merciful and all-compassionate and the figure of Jesus Christ as the embodiment of God’s mercy.

Archbishop Costelloe also spoke of God’s call of Abraham as “a key moment in God’s involvement in the world and in human history”, which the three faiths also hold in common.

At the last Abraham Day held in 2018, Rabbi Lieberman, Sheikh Agherdien and Archbishop Costelloe, took turns to dialogue and answer the question: “How do people of faith engage in a secular world?”

In her welcome address, former UNDA Vice-Chancellor Professor Celia Hammond revealed that in 2016, 30 per cent of the Australian population identified as having ‘no religion.’ She then invited the faith leaders to present their opinion on how people of religious faith, “engage with this reality.”

Archbishop Costelloe’s response to this, echoed sentiments of Pope’s Francis and Benedict, to “propose ceaselessly, but never impose.”
“I think that we need to be careful, not to accept the values of secular society around us, making them the basis of our lives and decisions, rather, to make our belief in God and our desire to know God’s will in the heart of everything we do.”

Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB (middle) deep in discussion with Perth Hebrew Congregation Chief Rabbi Daniel Lieberman, and Islam local leader Sheikh Muhammad Agherdien at the 2016 Abraham Day. Photo: Marco Ceccarelli.

All are welcomed to attend this event. For more information and to RSVP by Friday, 22 October, go to notredame.edu.au/abrahamday.