News Release

Local Faith Groups & Traditions Unite to Celebrate Human Rights and the Family

The Ipswich Stake Centre hosted a United Nations celebration of human rights organised by Ipswich and District United Nations Association. Various faith groups and traditions in cluding the local charity organisation, 'Families in Need', along with leaders and members of the Ipswich congregation gathered together on Saturday 10th December to celebrate the 63rd anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. They recognised and celebrated each other's contributions and achievements towards protecting the family unit in society with particular reference to the 3rd section of the 16th article of the Declaration which states:

"The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the state."

The annual event was an evening of brief and thought provoking presentations by individuals from each of the eleven represented groups. The Mayor of Ipswich, Councillor John Le Grys and the Mayoress Mrs Doreen Aldridge attended as special guests.

Bishop Paulo Pereira shared paragraphs 7 and 9 of "˜The Family: A Proclamation to the World' and expressed how the family can only be as strong as its weakest member. He quoted Winston Churchill when he said; "There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of human society, are created, strengthened and maintained." Bishop Pereira expressed how it is the family's responsibility to strengthen individuals.

A common thread throughout the presentations was the importance of individuals feeling happy and loved and the recognition of the family, as a unit of people that love and care for one another, being responsible for positive growth, stability and security for individuals and the cultivator of good citizens and social order.

Jean Gitten, of the Seventh Day Adventists, said that: "Love is the path that we should be treading" and shared her belief that we are all of one family and should care for one another as stated in the Bible. She also spoke of the example of the Mother in the family as being an unavoidable and vital influence on the choices children will make in the future.

Margaret Nelson, a Humanist Celebrant, said that: "Humans need love to thrive - and they need laughter."

Richard Togher of the Bahai shared his feeling that "The family is a nation in miniature" and therefore reflects how society around them is or will become.

A representative of the Pagan Council, Beverly Price, shared at the conclusion of her speech that: "Man and woman should dwell as one in accordance."

Much common ground was realised and shared. The event was an indicator of real progress for Inter-Faith relations in the Ipswich Stake and was a great platform for better understanding between some of the faiths and traditions in the Ipswich area.

Maureen Reynel, founder and Chair of local charity, Families in Need (FIND) was the concluding speaker. She bravely shared a brief outline of her life story and tragic circumstances which inspired her to make a difference and set up FIND. She stated that: "We have a hungry town"¦we have a needy town" and shared how FIND is based on the foundations of "Hope, Faith and Love." When asked by families "Why do you do this for us, Maureen?" She simply replies: "I want to share the love that Christ has given to me."

Ipswich ward members and attendees of the event collected over a car boot-full of toilet rolls, baby food and laundry detergent for FIND to distribute to needy families in the town.

Charles Croydon, the Chair of Ipswich and District United Nations Association, felt that: "All of the speakers were thought provoking and gave different insights into issues concerning the Family and Human Rights. I was grateful for the contribution from members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

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