On Sunday March 22, Fr Andrew Hayes presented a concert in Ararat as a fundraiser for a proposed mosque. “Minaret” filled the Performing Arts Centre and raised $7,200. As Fr Andrew explains, the money, although substantial, was never the reason for the concert. “The Muslim people are intending to build a holy place in Ararat. It was a privilege to support their effort to build the kingdom of God. Wherever peace and holiness are flourishing, God is there.”

He has also said that “a few people are troubled by my support of the Muslims when there are atrocities happening in the name of Islam. My response is that Christians and Muslims are indeed struggling to co-exist in some parts of the world. Surely the Christian response is to show love and support and to enable minority groups to move in from the margins. They want a church? Let’s help them build it!”

The Catholic ladies in Ararat have invited the Muslim ladies to a social afternoon. Next year, on Australia Day, the Christians and Muslims will pray together for peace in Australia and the World. The next e-conference offered by the Broken Bay Institute on June 23 is titled, “Religion: Catalyst for Violence or Peace? Probing the Abrahamic Traditions for Answers.” Fr Andrew says, “There are many ways to bring about peace and understanding. We’re giving it our best.”