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The terms reconciliation” and unity” are an invitation to move forward to live together in peace and harmony. In line with that, during the assembly, several workshops prepared participants to discuss these matters. Religious life has a different context and dynamic in different places, therefore listening and sharing experiences is necessary in order to learn and respect other people. Munther Isaac, in one of the workshops, shared his experience living in the  West Bank. He creates interreligious curriculum for the schools in order to teach about interreligious dialogue and a basic awareness in how to live together in diversity. However, in Indonesia, the situation is quite the opposite as many students from universities have been involved and are being recruited by radical groups. Ironically, some lectures and teachers were also indicated to spread the radical ideas.

During the assembly workshops, some groups addressed such issues by raising questions such as: ”How can interreligious encounters and dialogue pave the way to address challenges and conflicts together? What are the potentials of shared public statements, mutual advocacy, and joint action of different religious representatives and communities as a public sign of peace? How can interreligious encounters, dialogue, and cooperation contribute to consolidate dialogue as a basis of life for society?"

Look for the common ground

Religious leaders have an important role in promoting tolerance to bridge misunderstandings that often happen in society. Religious leaders can negotiate peace. We may have different ways of praising and worshipping, different dogma, different teachings, and different places to worship but we're all praying and worshipping one God. Realizing that everyone has the same rights to live, praise, worship, express their feelings, and pray will enable us to honour and respect other religions. It is important to look for the common ground based on mutual respect and understanding. Recognizing and accepting other people as human beings and appreciating human dignity can transform hostility into cooperation. As Mother Teresa said, "If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” This statement of belonging to each other reminds us that we live in the same world, and hence we have the same calling and responsibility. 

Calling for action together

As everyone has the same calling and responsibility for a better world and the community where we live, religious people should work together and collaborate in order to preserve a just community. People of faith can play the role of preventer of radicalism and spread the message of peace. In addition, religious leaders can shape the conscience of the society as they have a strong influence in the society—even more than the government. Hence religious leaders need to collaborate and work together to build awareness that the conflict, injustice, poverty, gender discrimination, climate change, and many other issues are our responsibility and everyone needs to participate in order to make a better world.

About the author :

Rr. Manda Andrian graduated from Jakarta Theological Seminary in 2003. Her 5,5 years of studying in seminary made her wonder about a lot of things, especially about her "pilgrimage to seek God and truth".

She was born in a family who try to keep tradition as a part of life values and philosophy. Her parents were Moslem, but after their divorce, long time ago, her mom converted to Christianity. Fasting on certain days, meditation, following some Javanese rituals and celebrations as well as practicing our Christianity are things that Manda sees as a richness in her life deepending her understanding of God and her faith.

From 2005-08 she served on the core group of the Ecumenical Network of Indonesian Students and Youth (ENISY), and from 2008-11 on the YMCA Indonesian National Council. In 2007-09, she worked in an interfaith NGO called Society for Inter Religious Dialogue.

She also participated in various interfaith and peace programmes at local, national and international level, including the ecumenical youth leadership training "Building an Interfaith Community" at the WCC's Ecumenical Institute Bossey in Switzerland, a School of Peace in South Thailand, and the WCC's Youth in Asia Training for Religious Amity (YATRA) in Cambodia. Currently she works as a teacher in an international Christian school in Jakarta.


The impressions expressed in the blog posts are the contributions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or policies of the World Council of Churches.