His Excellency the President and Mrs. Konrote, distinquished guests and friends and fellow workers for justice and peace.
A deep spirituality permeates the communities of the Pacific and is at the heart of the Pacific people’s relationship with each other and the environment.
Spirituality is integral to the way we interpret, understand and interact with one another, and with the natural world. This spirituality is enhanced by the many faith traditions of the world which have grown roots in our diverse Pacific communities. These faith traditions are shared with 85 percent of those who share this planet.
Acknowledging and embracing the significance and centrality of such life-affirming spirituality has the potential to provide important catalyst for grass roots action.
In Fiji, just as in many other parts of the Pacific and the world, faith communities were the pioneers of education, healthcare and social justice work. They will always be a part of the social-politcal milleau in which Civil Society engages – in some places they are the largest Civil Society Organisations.
This evening we have representatives from 3 world faith communities present, to offer words of scripture and reflection to inspire and challenge us and prayers for the blessings of the divine on the gathering tonight and the days ahead.
Pundit Vigyan Sharma, National Treasurer - Shree Sanatan Dharm Pratinidhi Sabha Fiji;
Maulana Abdul Alim, Head Imam of Samabula Mosque - Fiji Muslim League;
Rev. Dr. Epineri Vakadewavosa – General Secretary and President-Elect of the Methodist Church in Fiji, Chair of the Bible Society of the South Pacific.
For those of other paths of spirituality or worldviews, I invite you to use this spiritual pause as a way to affirm the work the work you do, to receive some positive vibrations and energy and experience the unity in diversity many of us in Fiji strive for…
I now invite Pundit Sharma to begin:
(…. After prayers)
I said earlier that Spirituality is an integral part of the worldview of Fiji and the Pacific. That spirituality is not only experienced through faith communities but also through indigenous culture – that deep sense of vanua – of rootedness not only to land, rooted in respect and in celebration of just relationships with all creation.
I invite you to experience that now with the traditional i-Taukei ceremony of welcome....