Monday, April 16, 2007

Creating a Sacred Space

Last Sunday's Encounter programme was "Creating a Sacred Space".

The City of Greater Dandenong is one of Australia's two most diversely populated municipalities and its local hospital has substituted a multi-faith 'sacred space' in the place of its old chapel.

Listen or download the transcript here:

I am not surprised that this little gem is located in Dandenong.

A few years ago I met the Mayor of Dandenong, a Lebanese, who places a high value on creating an ethos for interchange between religious communities and their leaders and religious understanding in his community. This ethos which provides the context for the initiative described in the Encounter program is outlined in the resource "Constructing a Local Multifaith Network" (in particular p25 ff).

One of the significant shifts in my chaplaincy over the past 8 years has been to place a higher priority on nurturing those who work in the background providing the underpinning that nurtures the possibility of the "Kingdom of God". It is a shift away from "church-centred" toward "kingdom-centred" concerns. (The two should not be mutually exclusive, but sometimes I wonder!)

The Encounter program, "Creating a Sacred Space" is an important resource for chaplains, particularly hospital chaplains, who are concerned about inclusive pastoral practice.

But equally, more attention is needed to support the construction of contexts that allow such initiatives to emerge.