Selected students from Years 10 to 11 attended the Building Bridges Creative Day at Melbourne Grammar on Thursday, 28 July. The Building Bridges in Schools Program promotes mutual understanding, respect and ethical behaviour across our cultural and religious diversities. History illustrates that one of the primary causes of hatred is ignorance. Without developing relationships with those we consider to be different, our perceptions of those people are too easily defined by stereotypes born out of prejudice. The more we engage with people who are different from us, culturally and religiously, the more we realise how similar we really are.
This group of Year 10 and 11 students from Siena attend a series of rich and challenging sessions in interfaith dialogue and ecumenism at a range of Christian, Jewish and Muslim schools in the Central region. Our Creative Day began in the beautiful Melbourne Grammar chapel, featuring a prayerful service which was student led. We walked the labyrinth, created art, and journaled while focusing on Big Questions around the Climate Crisis and/or Peace. We shared a meal together and enjoyed some games which helped to consolidate friendships.
Some student reflections include:
"During the Building Bridges Creative Day at Melbourne Grammar School, other participants and I were granted opportunity to reflect upon our faith through connection with our mind, body and soul. Various rotations guided us with journaling, art and poetry to find clarity in big world issues, such as, World Peace and Climate Change, as well as our own personal struggles. Furthermore, central to the teachings of the day was the Labyrinth, a maze/pathway used by different faiths and cultures around the world for contemplation, mindfulness and prayer. Overall, through this reflective session we were able to strengthen our friendships with students of different faiths as well as with ourselves, gaining clarity on our stresses while connecting to our spirituality."
"The Building Bridges program is one that I would highly recommend to all students. It has been an amazing opportunity to meet lots of new friends and learn that despite our diverse faith backgrounds we are actually quite similar. The program itself has provided us with a forum where we can reflect on what faith means to us and broadly, how we choose to live our lives by the things that shape it. Through sharing a meal and making new connections, which was enhanced by the Creative Day, I believe the program has empowered me to be a more open minded and empathetic person towards everyone."