In Australia, Harmony Week recognises the United Nation’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. It is a time where Australians come together to celebrate our multicultural society. Read on for five great ways to celebrate Harmony Week, from Friday 15 to Thursday 21 March.
1. Attend an event or hold your own
Each year, Harmony Week in WA sees a range of community events take place across the state. It’s a great way to connect with community and celebrate multiculturalism. Attend an event, or, why not organise your own?
Events organised by non profit organisations celebrating Harmony Week can be promoted on the Harmony Week event calendar. Connect with community groups in your area: you could hold a community dinner inviting people to bring a dish from their culture, host an inspiring speaker, or hold a film night.
Check out omi.wa.gov.au/EventsInitiatives/Pages/HarmonyWeek.aspx for more info.
2. Diversify your bookshelf
Love to read? Incorporate books into your library written by authors from around the world. Reading about someone’s experience of the world that is so different from your own will foster greater understanding. You’ll hear voices from people or characters who are marginalised, while supporting diversity in the industry. You’ll learn about culture, empathy and maybe even some history you didn’t already know about.
Actually, why not expand this to all of the arts? Film, visual arts, performance, music… even blogs. Diversify what you consume and your mind will grow.
3. We are a multicultural church
In 1985 the Uniting Church in Australia declared itself to be a multicultural church. The church is committed to building respectful relationships between cultures, developing culturally sensitive and appropriate policies, and fostering models of cross-cultural ministry.
All across Australia, there are 195 groups worshipping in languages other than English, bringing life, faith and joy to the Uniting Church.
The Uniting Church in Australia website has a range of stories, videos and resources available for congregations, including in a range of different languages. Visit assembly.uca.org.au/mcm to find out more.
To join the national ‘Being a Multicultural Church’ Circle, visit assembly.uca.org.au/circles-of-interest
4. Be informed
In WA, the Multicultural and Cross Cultural Committee works hard to create a network between Uniting Church WA congregations and faith communities of different cultures. They regularly run events encouraging all Uniting Church groups to attend and participate. Get along to an event and meet some new people!
Going Deeper, a one day retreat for young people aged 15 to 35, will be held on Saturday 16 February, 10.00am to 4.00pm, at Manning Park, Spearwood. The event will bring people from different cultures around the church together for a day of spiritual refreshment.
For more info on multicultural ministry in the Uniting Church WA visit unitingchurchwa.org.au/uniting-church-centre/discipleshipwitness/multicultural-ministry
5. Build relationships
Local congregations and faith communities can connect to culturally diverse congregations by reaching out and building relationships. This could be with congregations who share the same building, or who have their own worship space nearby.
Perhaps hold a special service together, a shared meal or a social activity. You never know what can blossom when new friendships are made.