On the last weekend of May 2016 I attended a workshop at Grantville down on the Bass Coast.
I'm part of a group called Uniting Journeys which is helping to promote responsible travel. Members of our group were invited to join the workshop which was organised by the Uniting Church primarily to assist a group of Sri Lankans returning to Sri Lanka to help promote peace and reconciliation, following the civil war, in their homeland.
As one of the organisers, Larry Marshall, writes: “It was so very good to have … the conversation partners accompany us on this important first step in our special journey to our homeland. These eight Sri Lankans are made up of two Buddhists, two Christians, two Hindus and two Muslims. There are a man and a woman in each pair. This Inter-faith journey will help us heal our community”.
I commend the Uniting Church for their work in bringing together these people of various faiths and inviting Pádraig O’Tuama, a catholic from Northern Ireland, to facilitate the workshop and share his experiences around reconciliation following The Troubles in that place.
One of the exercises in the workshop was for each attendee to write the opening sentence of a book about their lives as they felt at that moment. After reading the sentence the rest of the group was invited to comment on what they thought the sentence meant without immediate response from the writer. What soon became apparent was the message being received by one party was not necessarily the message intended by the writer.
An important lesson when strive towards healing communities after civil commotion.