Sharing Our Heritage 2014

The Centre of Melbourne Multifaith & Others Network (COMMON) celebrated International Peace Day on the afternoon of Sunday 21st September 2014. It was hosted by the Melbourne Unitarian Peace Memorial Church on Grey Street, East Melbourne. The theme of the event was ‘Sharing Our Heritage’.

Members from various faith groups attended – Aboriginal, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Unitarian, Humanitarian and Scientology.

Volunteers from the community group, Youth for Human Rights, also attended and helped with the set up and registration.

The afternoon began with a ‘meet-and-greet’ session and a variety of finger food and drinks.

Yorta Yorta Aboriginal elder Auntie Walda Blow opened proceedings with acknowledging the Wirrundjeri people, the original custodians of the land. Rachel ……… , an aboriginal musician accompanied by Hal Trapp on the yidhaki (didgeridoo) sang two indigenous renditions.

Anand Shome, the President of COMMON, addressed the audience welcoming all attendees and introducing the special topic for discussion for the afternoon – Should Melbourne have a Museum of Religions? He then introduced budding Melbourne opera tenor Shoumendu Ganguly who rendered two pieces – ‘Time to say Goodbye’ and ‘Bring him Home’ to a warm applause.

Projects Officer Jamel Singh showed a video of Museum of Religions in Taiwan, a brainchild of Master Hsien … . The video is also available for viewing on (check)

COMMON Secretary, Abraham Shwartz, talked of the vision of COMMON, brainchild of Jessiee Singh. The organisation is now ten years old.

Abraham complimented the Unitarians for a Peace Memorial building where most communities usually have war memorials!

He introduced the first speaker Mr. Peter  Abrehart, the Chairperson of the Unitarian Organisation of Victoria.

Peter Abrehart talked of the activities of the Unitarians and their commitment to the Multifaith course towards harmony within all faiths and world peace. He concluded with a saying – ‘Rejoice in our faiths but remember our common humanity.’

Various speakers with varying experiences had been invited to give their views on the idea of a Museum of World Religions.

In his introduction Abraham said this was an opportunity to consult with the community regarding the idea of establishing a museum.

The views were indeed varied.

Mr. Vaasan ….. a representative of the Indian/Hindu community and president of the Federation of Indian Organisations spoke of the efforts of his community to establish a museum of India & Hinduism in Melbourne – the obstacles and the progress. He offered some positive ideas from the experiences gained by his team in their efforts towards establishing such a museum.

Ms. Glenda Smith, curator of the Museum of Australian Democracy in Canberra, gave a brief account of the beginnings and progress of the museum and suggested that the idea of a Museum of Religions was a good one but that it should have a modest start and grow with time.

Helen Light, former Executive Officer of the Jewish Museum in Melbourne, with 27 years’ experience spoke against the idea of ‘one more’ museum in Melbourne.

She questioned the relevance of a museum in modern times and the need to regularly change  exhibitions in a museum (a necessary part of the relevance of a museum especially for regular visitors).

She recommended a ‘Multifaith spirituality centre’ and perhaps the occasional travelling exhibition.

Abraham said that it was good to get all views.

The topic was then presented to the floor and ably handled by Jamel with help from Abraham and Jessiee.

Various members from the audience spoke of their experiences about inter-faith activities and various views for and against a museum were aired.

Sam Garkawe from Lismore spoke of two other such museums – one in Edinburgh, Scotland and the other in Russia. It was suggested that some faith groups could be  more interested in running and/or establishing their own ‘museums’ rather than exerting so much effort into a ‘Multifaith Museum.

It was also suggested that it could be up to the government to initiate such a move.

An idea was put forward to have an effective interactive website where those interested could access information concerning ‘faiths’, the progress of inter-faith movements worldwide and also as a resource for teachers and students.

Someone said that a ‘virtual’ museum was perhaps a more viable preposition rather than a physical one.

A leading Jewish member of the Melbourne Jewish community, Walter Rappaport, played the Jewish ram’s horn – a tradition followed worldwide leading up to the Jewish New Year which falls a few days away – on 25th. September.

Zack Shwartz sang two songs about peace, walking together towards harmony and love, and living together, accompanied by acoustic guitar with musical interludes on a harmonica.

Project Officer Jamel Singh announced that while proceedings had been ongoing she has been able to secure two websites along the lines discussed earlier.

Dya Singh led a ‘multi chant’ rendition accompanied by Rachel, Auntie Walda, Abraham Shwartz, Jessiee Singh and Jamel Singh.

Please visit:

The gathering then moved outside to release five white doves symbolising, as mentioned by former President and convenor of COMMON’ Ms. Jessiee Singh, the longing of freedom  for billions of people around the globe; the refugees who longed for peace in their home countries and the ongoing efforts of those who live in free countries to help those in distress.

Sharing the Wisdom of Marriage 2013

International UN World Peace Day was celebrated jointly by COMMON and WIN foundation on 21st.September 2013 from 6.30pm at the East Melbourne orthodox Synagogue, 488 Albert St, East Melbourne, Australia.

Rabbi Dovid then carried out a very touching end of Shabbath ceremony and declared the evening open.

Rabbi Dovid Gutnick described the closing ceremony of Shabath whereby all Jews began their weekly ‘retreat’ from dusk on Friday. No one was to work, even cook, use any modern technology (phones, television, internet, etc.) including driving cars, but spend the next 24 hours with family and talking of God or discussing passages from the Torah and other Jewish religious books and attending synagogue. He explained that this ‘retreat’ would come to an end at 6.57pm on this day with the lighting of candles.

COMMON/WIN Foundation President Jessiee Kaur Singh (in place of the dearly missed and departed president, Uncle Reg Blow) first called for a minute silence for the beloved Late Uncle Reg Blow then asked faith representatives to give the view of marriage from their faith perspective. She thanked Auntie Walda, the wife of the late Uncle Reg Blow for gracing the occasion. Acknowledged an apology from Auntie Diane Kerr (Wurundejeri Council Elder) who could not come due to illness.

She then introduced each faith representative as they spoke on the topic of marriage from their faith’s viewpoint.

Aboriginal- Rachel Shields

Buddhist- Sirini Kularatne-Samarapathi Baha’i- Elham

Christian- Brigid Walsh Humanist – Judy Peiris

Hindu- Dr Dinesh Sood Islam- Naila Beg

Sikh: Bhai Sahib Jasbir Singh Suropada.

Zoroastrian : Dya Singh read a note on behalf of the Zoroastrian faith
All the faith speakers brought gifts and notes of gratitude for Aunty Diane, for us sharing this beautiful Melbourne with the (Kulin Nation) first nation brothers and sisters, the original custodian of these lands.

The theme offerings seemed to suggest that all is not well with the institution of marriage.

The remedy seems to lie in revisiting our respective scriptures and awakening the spiritual aspects of uniting two persons.

For many it was the first time we were welcomed into an Orthodox Synagogue.

COMMON (Centre of Melbourne Multifaith and Others networks) stalwart Anand Shome then spoke of the lighter side of marriage from various countries. He also spoke very highly of Jamel Singh daughter of Jessiee Singh for ensuring that all Jewish requirements were met for the preparation of the food for the evening.

Jessiee then thanked Rabbi Dovid and his community for their generosity in allowing members of other faiths to be a part of their congregation for the evening and permission for other faiths to speak within his community.

The evening ended with the rendition of the Multi-chant by Rachel Shields, Dya Singh, Jamel Kaur Singh and other faith representatives.

The attendees then filed into the synagogues back room where vegetarian food, was served to all.

COMMON member Avraham Schwarz and Jessiee Kaur Singh did a sterling job of mediating between COMMON/WIN and the East Melbourne Synagogue to ensure that the evening went smoothly. A big gratitude to Jamel Kaur Singh for cooking with help of Mrs Rabbi Dovid , a lovely Kosher vegetation meal of Dal, Biryani Rice , salad and many other goodies giving an opportunity for all to mingle and socialize coming to know each other better and one big happy family.

Report by Dya Singh

Sharing Universal Values Exploring Unconditional Love

“Unconditional Love as a Universal Value”

The proposition is that there is a universal value which forms the paradigm for living. This value is the expression of unconditional love. A love which differs from the myriad other little loves expressed through our living process.

The major faiths were represented at the International Peace Day event which took place at Brighton’s Classic Residence. With around 100 people in attendance, it was a a morning filled with diversity, expression, spirituality and friendship – followed with an amazing lunch but on with the compliments of Brighton Classic Residence. There were many new faces to the Interfaith scene an many committed followers.

The objective was to dialogue on unconditional love – what that means, the role it plays in our faith, the role it plays in our lives and moving forward how we can all embrace this very important value. 

A huge thanks to the COMMON team. Another amazing event.

Photos Sharing Our Environment 2011

Sharing Our Environment was held at Brunswick Town Hall on the 21st September 2011. These photos are a glimpse of the evenings program. Thank you to all our sponsors, supporters, presenters & the participants.

Global Love

Poets Night “Global Love” In Conjunction with: SLAM

Global Love – A Poets View

On May 1, declared Global Love Day by the Global Love Foundation, COMMON and SLaM sponsored a poetry evening at Lentil as Anything in Collingwood. The theme of the poetry was to address the issue of global love from whatever perspective the contributing poets decided.

Expressing the intensely emotional and spiritually abstract concept of global love lends itself to being described from within the perspective of the world possessed by poets. Swami Chinmayananda once said that a yogi must have the mind and heart of a poet in order to appreciate the suggestive quality of the sacred mantras of scripture.

The poetry read during the evening at Lentil proved this point. There was a spirit which pervaded the performances which was sufficiently infectious to motivate one of the cooks and two of the waiters to spontaneously take to the microphone to recite poetry.

The evening was woven together with song as Christie Heart contributed her brand of balladering. Songs which captured the concept of love from various musical genres.

The recognition that the sensitive spiritual perspective of a poet is available to all people at heart level is a primary motivator in this engagement of poetry. Through presenting expressed poets it is hoped that the un-expressed poetic nature of others will be stimulated. The collective awareness of the great love which we share in common will then become more apparent to all.

In pursuit of this objective it is intended to hold more poetry readings.

Hyper Haikus, Rapper’s Delight and a Down-Under Duet at the Lentil.

A fine selection of Melbourne’s budding and bloomin’ poet population congregated at Lentil as Anything in Abbotsford Convent, in order to spread a liberal helping of love and peace over the globe. Norman slammed all hatred with his exquisite rhymes whilst our resident sage Charles enlightened us with his technologically advanced mobile-phone verse. Christine created a friendly vibe with her beautiful music which helped everybody open up, talk and get to know each other.

Hot topics, in typical Lentil style, included “are fish organic?”, “are sultanas simply flies with no legs and wings?” and also “What are we going to eat?”

The evening proved to be a success with a chef, a waiter and some other random people adding to the pool of prose.

We had all, from haiku’s and rap to a very hard to hear, yet simply enduring duet; by the end however, words did not matter – love was in the air to the extent that even Eros would be proud of us. A great way to highlight Global Love Day was achieved in style, amongst good friendly brethren (and sister-en) all whilst eating good food; a welcome bonus!

I also take great pride in the fact that I had the privilege to contribute to the evening’s activities; I shared a freshly written poem with all those on board. I really felt that I was amongst people, who I could reach out to, and who would inturn receive me with open arms. It felt reassuring that in today’s day and age, I could find the opportunity to celebrate and support global love with a group of such great people.

My one wish is that in the future, more people attend an event like this; it proved itself to be a great way to get to know each other and share thoughts and ideas, with stylo mucho.

– Jagdeep (Jag) Singh Shergil

Healing Charity Concert

UNESCO Clubs Australia in conjunction with the UNESCO Observatory, Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning at The University of Melbourne, and COMMON are delighted to announce their first concert, “Healing” Multi-faith Unity in Diversity on Friday, 7.00pm, 9th June at Carillo Gantner, Sidney Myer Asia Centre, University of Melbourne. The performance will attract people from the COMMON network including Indigenous, Bahai, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh and other communities.

COMMON is a recently formed multi-faith organisation bringing together people of all faiths and beliefs for cultural understanding, spiritual development in a social atmosphere. Numerous events are planned for the future such as ‘The Multi-faith forum’ on the 29th June in the Prince Philip Theatre, Faculty of ABP at the University of Melbourne, and the International Day of Peace Performance at Federation Square Melbourne on the 21st of September.

One of the performing groups at the ‘Healing’ Charity Concert is ‘Dya Singh World Music Group’ ( ) who played before the Queen at a Royal Command Performance at The Royal Albert Hall, London in 2004. The outstanding entertainment will also include the Aboriginal Healing Ceremony led by Uncle Reg Blow a charismatic Sudanese Catholic Choir and the spine-tingling sound of Parvyn Kaur Singh – whose CD will be released this year in the USA.

For bookings please call 0424 391396 or email A minimum $10 donation is payable on the night and will go towards UNESCO Clubs Australia aid projects, currently supplying computers to children in the Soloman Islands, aiding farming projects and other multi-faith activities.

If you have any enquiries please do not hesitate to contact Helen Greenway, UNESCO Clubs Project Officer on 0424 391 396.

Many thanks,
Saeed Sabri, National Coordinator UNESCO Clubs, Australia
Jessiee Singh, UNESCO Clubs Victoria Coordinator
Lindy Joubert, UNESCO Observatory Project Leader, Senior Lecturer Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, The University of Melbourne.

Power of Peace Day 2015

COMMON (Centre of Melbourne Multifaith & Others Network) supported by WIN (Womens Interfaith Network) Foundation and Youth For Human Rights

Venue: Church of Scientology, Melbourne.

Over 150 attendees from various religious, faith and human rights groups attended the event. The theme for this year’s International Day of Peace was ‘Partnerships for Peace – Dignity for all.’

Vegetarian Lunch was served at 11.30am.

At noon, a gong was struck leading to a one-minute silence to commemorate the occasion.

Master of Ceremonies Gareth Hill acknowledged the original inhabitants of the land, the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nations and introduced the entertainment segment.

Australian superstar: Kate Ceberano sang four songs of peace. Strongest ingredient for Peace is Love. Kate spoke briefly – Peace within first is most important. That brings peace around you.

Jessiee Kaur Singh the President of COMMON and WIN Foundation addressed the audience and spoke of the challenges towards world peace and the need for continual effort on the part of all towards world peace as one community of humanity and also how blessed we are to be in Melbourne, Australia. A special gift of white peace rose was given to Kate Ceberano and her two backing vocalists and musicians given peace lilies members who are all Scientologists.

Faith Offerings: Faith representatives made religious offerings from their faiths Some touched on the role of education towards peace and initiatives within their faith groups towards world peace.

Jamel Kaur-Singh and Abe Schwartz represented the Aboriginal peoples by talking about and paying their respects to former President of COMMON, Reg Blow,  who passed away two years ago.

Christian – Frank Di Blasi
Bahai – Faezah Parkes

Hinduism – Nawal Kishore Moudgil
Human Rights  – Elana Saks
Humanist – John Russel
Islam – Imam Mohsin Mohammed
Judaism – Abraham Schwartz
Scientology – Glenda Walsh
Sikh – Dya Singh
Zoroastrian – Dilnaaz Billimoria

Various videos were screened by Elana Saks, the representative of Youth for Human Rights International on the subject of Human Rights and also the role played by the Church of Scientology in Human Rights endeavours globally.

2015 Power of Peace Awards were bestowed to the following for volunteer work towards human rights, peace and multicultural harmony:

Dr. Berhan Ahmed – African Think Tank
Maria Jeffries – Planetary healing Artists Association
Deepak Vinayak – South Asia Community Link Group
Ven. Phuoc Tan – Quang Minh Temple
Satinder Kaur – United Voice of Australia
Gurinder Singh – Australian Multicultural Organisation
Andrew Gason – Careers World
Pam Mamouney – Casey Interfaith Network
Kalpana Trivedi – Brahma Kumaris
Dilnaaz Bilimoria – Whitehorse Interfath Network
Yasseen Musa – African Australian Multicultural Youth Services
Berhaan Jaber – Eritrian Australian Humanitarian Aide
Dr. Sonia Singh – South Asia Community Link Group – Youth Ambassador
Nawal Kishore Moudgil – Sangam Kala Group
Hari Yellina – Festivals of South Asia
Frank De Blasi – Moonee Valley Interfaith Network
Rehmat Mohammed – Ahmadiyya Association
Bom Yonzon – Nepalese Association of Vic.
Ellana Saks – Youth for Human Rights
Dr. Dinesh Sood, – Indian Senior Citizens Association
Bhagat Kawal Singh – Indian Senior Citizens Association
Katrina Horvath – Volunteer Minister Disaster Response Team

Discussion: What role does education play towards world peace? Jamel Kaur introduced the topic and each table was requested to discuss the role of Education in achieving World Peace.  A representative from each table then gave a gist of each discussion. Following is a brief synopsis.
Study of  ‘all’ religions.  Not to ‘use’ Religious Education as an excuse by one ‘religious’ group to proselytise. Perhaps the subject should be called ‘Multifaith Studies’.
Love thy neighbour. Help each other. Be of service to others. Treat others as you would like them treat you.
Education – from ‘studying’ to be able to – ‘Learn to Earn’. We must ‘Learn’ to better ourselves. Life isn’t just about earning but it is also about becoming more productive and balanced human beings.
Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.
Greater Cultural Education in schools which includes the study of ‘all’ religious beliefs should be introduced into the Education System of Australia. 
WOW – World of Wisdom.
The children attending then came in and showed off pictures about world peace they had drawn and spoke individually of salient features of peace like Harmony, Love, Compassion, Equality and so on.

The proceedings ended by a rendition of a Multichant – various chants from various faith groups led by Dya Singh. The attendees then filed outside whilst singing, “We are all connected” to release 21 white doves to signify peace and freedom for all humanity.

The use of premises and also logistical support from the Church of Scientology is gratefully acknowledged. Food was catered by Tandoori Junction. Our thanks to the Victorian State Government for funding and support.

At the point of writing this report, a number of emails have come in: below are a few pertinent comments:

*Many thanks to COMMON and Church of Scientology for organizing such a successful event to commemorate UN International Peace Day today – 21 September. My husband and I enjoyed the event as did Carol from the Whitehouse Interfaith Network. It gave us all the opportunity to meet like-minded peers representing so many faiths and cultures. We met so many old friends and made new ones. Thank You so much for presenting Whitehouse Interfaith Network with the Power of Peace Award. The release of the doves of peace was a wonderful surprise! …Dilnaz and Homi Billimoria

*”It was truly a humbling and fun experience! Thanks a million for making me a part of the energy!”

Said Faezah from the Bahai community.

* It was an honour to be invited and the children stole our hearts. Yes, this is the way to peace. There is great promise and hope. Thank You for all the selfless service that you do.

Uma Dhume

* It was such an honour to prepare food for such lovely people. May there be more such occasions which bring people from diverse backgrounds together to enjoy and celebrate each others company.

Karan Singh of Tandoori Junction Restaurant.

Report by, Jamel Kaur and Dya Singh

21st September 2015

Peace Day 2016

UN International Peace Day Celebrations – 20th September 2016 – Presented by Youth for Human Rights

Host: Church of Scientology, Melbourne.

Supported by COMMON (Centre of Melbourne Multifaith & Others Network) and

WIN (Women’s Interfaith Network) Foundation

COMMON (Centre of Melbourne Multifaith & Others Network) and WIN (Women’s Interfaith Network) Foundation partnered with Youth for Human Rights and the Church of Scientology to stage a very successful Peace Day event.

200 attendees from various religious, faiths and human rights groups attended the event.

A vegetarian Dinner was served at Guests were able to meet like-minded people who shared common understandings of peace in the world.

After dinner the guests were seated in the hall.

Wurundjeri Elder Uncle Ian Hunter acknowledged the original inhabitants of the land, his people, the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation.

Master of Ceremonies Preeti Daga, Executive, South Asia Community Link Group spoke about peace.

Preeti introduced a feature performance by Australian superstar Kate Ceberano – who sang three songs to celebrate this important United Nations Day.

A special Peace Day activity was held for the children.

Many Australians from diverse backgrounds, cultures and religions enjoyed the event. 

Jessica Fairlie, Youth for Human Rights International, Victoria Chapter Coordinator, addressed the audience speaking of the Human Rights challenges faced today. She also said, “Thanks to a groundswell of advocacy that picture is changing.”

She told of the Youth for Human Rights materials, the thousands of teachers using these materials in Australian schools and how she and her group, with the support of the Church of Scientology, are working to grow these numbers with every child, in every school being educated on the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

2016 Power of Peace Awards: Ms Fairlie presented 25 awards to leaders of interfaith, religious, cultural and community groups – like-minded people who represent diverse sections of the community, people who volunteer their time to create positive social change.


Preeti Daga – South Asia Community Link Group

Satinder Kaur – Landmark Community Sports Club

Pam Mamouney – Casey Interfaith Network

David Cowen – Melton Interfaith Network

Essan Dileri – Melton City Council

Jama Farah – Ethiopian Community

Yasseen Musa – African Australian Multicultural Youth Services

Frank De Blasi – Moonee Valley Interfaith Network

BomYonzon – Nepalese Association of Vic.

Priya Bedi – United Voice of Australia

Rakesh Raizada – Ramon Helps Inc

Gurmeet Sran – Redhill Production

Monica Raizada – Women of Wyndham

Manpreet Brar – Gulzar Production

Aqeel Shah – Pakistan Youth Association Inc

Jessiee Singh – WIN (Women’s Interfaith Network) Foundation and COMMON (Centre of Melbourne Multifaith and Others Network)

Deacon Biruk – Saint Mary Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church

Mmaskepe Sejoe – Applied Human Rights Services

Narinder Kumar Garg – Gurukul

Kareem Nowan – Helping Hands Foundation

Avaraham Schwartz –Abe’s Tikun Olam Hour, J-Air Radio

Yadata Saba – Australian Oromo Community Association in Victoria Inc

Ranjodh Singh – Radio Haanji

Honoring and Awarding Uncle Boydie Turner, oldest surviving member of the Yorta, Yorta and grandson of famous Aboriginal Human Rights activist William Cooper

Uncle Boydie had travelled almost three hours by train to participate in the Peace Day celebration as the guest of honor. It was such an honor to award him with a Power of Peace Award – honoring the work of his grandfather in the past and the current work of Uncle Boydie himself for his work as an indigenous rights campaigner.

The entertainment continued:

Keynote Speaker, Abdi Aden – who as a young boy of 12 years was forced to leave war torn Somalia. He lost his mother and sister and eventually after years of struggle and loss he made it to the Australian shores. He spoke no English and had very little to call his own. He was eventually reunited with his mother and sister after ten years. Now he is a university graduate who speaks to thousands of children about how anything is possible – which he has proven. He recently released his first book ‘Shining’. He presented a copy to singer Kate Ceberano.

Mr. Aden’s presentation was followed by an amazing rendition of a Multifaith chant – various chants from various faith groups led by Dya Singh and joined by his daughter Jamel.

The final three songs were performed by Andrew Williams singing of happiness and being all ‘one people’.

Report by, Jessica Fairlie, Youth for Human Rights Coordinator,

Youth for Human Rights International has a representative on the committees of WIN (Women’s Interfaith Network) Foundation and COMMON (Centre of Melbourne Multifaith and Others Network) as both groups support human rights for everyone, everywhere.

20th September 2016

Sikh Networks

Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara                                                                                           
344 Hume Highway, Craigieburn
Jagdeep Singh    Mobile: 0431 417 533
Time: Sikh service every Sunday at 11:00 am followed by a vegetarian lunch (langgar)

Gurdwara Sahib                                                                                                                       
127 Whitehorse Road, Blackburn (near Blackburn station)
Gurdarshan Singh Gill
Time: Sikh service every Sunday at 11:00 am followed by a vegetarian lunch (langgar)

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Gurdwara                                                                                       
196-206 Perry Road, Keysborough
Nirmal Singh Tel: 0413 300 890
Time: Sikh service every Sunday at 11:00 am followed by a vegetarian lunch (langgar)

Sikh Simran Society                                                                                                                        5 James Street, Noble Park 3174, Melbourne
Dya Singh Tel: (03) 95478958
Time: Sikh meditation followed by light refreshments every saturday morning. Please ring to ensure it is on.

Sikh Council of Australia                                                              

United Sikhs