Uniting held its first Interfaith Prayer Service to promote justice and treatment for people living with drug and alcohol dependency. It was held on June 27 at the State Library of NSW. Religious leaders across a range of different faiths united for a common purpose and extended their compassion and support.
We’d like to thank everyone who came to the prayer service. Special thanks also goes to our speakers – Rev Simon Hansford, Moderator of the Uniting Church Synod of NSW & ACT, Brendan Kerin from the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council, Rabbi Mendel Kastel from Jewish House and The Great Synagogue Sydney, Wies Schuiringa from the NSW Ecumenical Council, Anne Carroll a former board member of Uniting NSW.ACT, Rev Andrew Sempell from St James Church Kings St. and Sister Margaret Guy from Sisters of Charity.
The need to treat drug dependency primarily as a health and social issue has gained increasing acceptance. We have seen this reflected in recent shifts in Canadian policy and proposed legislation in Canberra. Among the Australian public, recent polling has shown a consistent trend towards less punitive responses to drug use and dependency. Drug policy and treatment is being reconsidered across Australia and around the world. Consequently this Service was a timely opportunity to affirm the inherent dignity and value of all people.