Planning multi-faith visits
NSW public schools enrol students from a wide diversity of cultures and communities with many different religions, beliefs and practices.
According to the 2016 Australian Census Islam and Buddhism are the two largest non-Christian religions represented in Australia today with Islam accounting for approximately 2.6% and Buddhism 2.4% of the total population. These are followed by Hinduism and Judaism. The 2016 census recorded about 100 different religious denominations within Australia.
By fostering understanding of, and respect for, diverse religious traditions, schools can promote social harmony and engender positive interactions between students, staff and community members in their local communities.
Most religious organisations welcome visitors to their places of worship. While some have regular tours on set dates, others are happy to organise visits at times convenient to schools by telephone or email.
Information on religious open days, excursions and contact details are provided for major religions and religious denominations below.
How schools can be involved
- Organize an excursion to a place of worship. Many religious venues provide tours for student groups. See the list below for a wide range of possible destinations, including Buddhist temples, Christian cathedrals, and Muslim mosques.
- Nan Tien Temple in Berkeley, Wollongong is also a great place to book a tour for your class, including a vegetarian meal and focus on mindful eating. The Temple provides materials with learning resources with direct linkages to the new syllabus outcomes in PDHPE, History and Geography.
- Invite a local community member to speak to your class about their faith and religions celebrations. Students often have contacts they can recommend from their own places of worship, or else use the list below to get in touch with a place of worship and invite a representative.
- Use Eid al-Fitras (15th June 2018) as an opportunity to learn about Islam and foods from the Middle-East. Find a recipe for the class to cook together, or invite a community member to demonstrate and share with your class.
- Use the Passover (31st March to 7th April 2018) as an opportunity to learn about Jewish beliefs and celebrations. Find a recipe for your class to cook together, or invite a community member to lead a lesson and share this with your class.
- National Mosque Open Day is held on the last Saturday of October each year. Coordinated by the Lebanese Muslim Association (LMA) and supported by the Department of Social Services this initiative aims to break down common misconceptions and stereotypes surrounding Islam and to promote understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims. Mosques, nationally, welcome the general public to a community centred day featuring guided tours, Q&A sessions and Islamic exhibitions as well as traditional food and children’s activities.
Multi-faith excursion suggestions
- Mingyue Lae Temple (Bonnyrigg) phone: 9823 3603
- Nan Tien Temple (Berkeley, Wollongong) phone: (02) 4972 0600
- Lankarama Buddhist Vihara Temple (Schofields, Sydney) email: email@example.com
- St Andrew’s Cathedral – Anglican (George St, Sydney) phone: 9265 1661
- Regional Anglican Cathedrals include St Peter’s Cathedral (Armidale), All Saint’s Cathedral (Bathurst), St Saviour’s Cathedral (Goulburn), Christ Church Cathedral (Grafton), Christ Church Cathedral (Newcastle), St John’s Cathedral (Parramatta), and St Michael’s Cathedral (Wollongong).
- St Mary’s Cathedral – Catholic (Sydney) phone: 9220 0400
- Regional Catholic Cathedrals include St Carthage’s Cathedral (Lismore), Sacred Heart Cathedral (Hamilton), Saints Mary and Joseph Cathedral (Armidale), The Cathedral of St Michael and St John (Bathurst), Sacred Heart Cathedral (Broken Hill), St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral (Wollongong), St Michael’s Cathedral (Wagga Wagga), and Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary (Waitara).
- Cathedral of the Annunciation of our Lady Theotokos – Greek Orthodox (Redfern) phone 9690 6100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- St George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral – Antiochan Orthodox (Redfern) phone 9319 4456 or email email@example.com
- Armenian Apostolic Church of Holy Resurrection – Armenian Orthodox (Chatswood) phone 9419 8056 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- St Thomas Indian Orthodox Cathedral – Indian Orthodox (Wattle Grove) phone: 9731 2611
- Saint Vladimir Church – Russian Orthodox (Centennial Park) phone: 9663 3341
- Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral - Russian Orthodox (Strathfield) phone: 9747 5892
- Sydney Congress Hall – Salvation Army (Sydney) phone: 9266 9801 email: email@example.com
- Sri Mandir (Auburn) phone: 9643 1919 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sydney Murugan Temple (Mays Hill) phone: 9687 1695 email: email@example.com
- Sri Venkateswara Temple (Helensburgh) phone: 4294 3224 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Great Synagogue (Elizabeth Street, Sydney) phone 9267 2477 email: email@example.com
- Regional Synagogues include Broken Hill Synagogue, Maitland Synagogue, and Newcastle Hebrew Synagogue.
- Ali Bin Abi Taleb Mosque (Lakemba) email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Auburn Gallipoli Mosque (Auburn)
- Al-Zahra Mosque (Arncliffe) phone: 9597 3553
- Regional Mosques include William Street Mosque (Broken Hill), New England Mosque (Armidale), and Omar Mosque in Gwynneville.