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Religious Youth Service

RYS-Australia Joins Sikh Service Program

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Sydney, AustraliaRYS has been very active hosting International RYS projects and in addition during the last two years it has designed one and two day programs of service and religious understanding which are hosted by various faith groups. This program was hosted by the Sikh community and brought together 40 youth from various religious traditions for service and understanding.

The program was highlighted with a variety of interreligious programs including joining pilgrims in the Allure Festival. The community was deeply moved with the heart and spirit of the volunteers who worked on the local school. Our cooperation became a substantial model of the peace building spirit of reconciliation so needed in this nation.
 This was the second RYS project in New Zealand and the 1 st international program. This project drew much support from Australia and pulled in participants from a wide variety of nations and religious traditions. Networking with organizations was a key to the programs success as Habitat for Humanity, the local civic leaders and the Moreau Youth Movement worked to model the pattern of cooperative living so critical in building a culture of everlasting peace. Peace Summit being held in New Delhi as part of the preparation for the Parliament of World Religions. Organizing Staff of the RYS, Mr. Eric Wenzel and Mr. Koru Omer helped coordinate a meeting on Youth and the Culture of Peace at the summit. Participants could take part in the large interfaith event and contribute. Attending the conference were: His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Honorable President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
     The work service was given in Jaffarabad, an East Delhi community plagued by a history of communal violence between Hindus and Muslims. The example of interreligious service and cooperation the RYS offered is a very important and practical example of how to heal division.
     The group visits included the famous Sis Ganj Gurudwara, the Jama Masjid, the Laxmi Narayan Hindu Temple, the Sisters of Charity and The Bahá’í House of Worship (the Lotus Temple). Special visits with the Imam of India’s second largest mosque; Dharma Master Hsin Tao of the Museum of World Religions; Baba Virsa Singh Ji of Gobind Sadan; Peace Activist Ela Gandhi, granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi; Dilip Kolhatkar of the Everest Peace Project; caretakers of a community Gurudwara; members of the Central Baptist Church; and devotees from Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living Foundation enhanced the interfaith learning experience.
     At the end of the program was a day of reflection at Gobind Sadan, a beautiful religious retreat center welcoming all faiths. On the final day, a small group traveled to Vrindaban, the holy city of Lord Krishna and Aggra, home of the Taj Mahal, to complete their journey discovering India and its people.

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