Women Gather Together to Celebrate Diversity

Women Gather Together to Celebrate Diversity

News Release


Several women from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently joined with around 350 other women from a variety of faiths and other organisations in attending a special event in the Sydney suburb of Bankstown.

The second annual “Women of Diversity Dinner” attracted leaders and members of several faith communities and other organisations including Australia South Sea Islanders-Port Jackson; the Ethnic Communities Council of NSW; the Muslim Women's National Network of Australia; the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies; the SAHELI South Asian Women’s Network; Settlement Services International; The Uniting Church in Australia NSW-ACT; and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Many guests were from war-torn areas of the world, who had recently arrived in Australia. Some have been victims of kidnapping. Others have husbands, sons and other family members currently trapped in besieged cities in Syria and Iraq.

Notwithstanding each guest’s life journey so far, on a Saturday night in Bankstown they danced, sang and cried to a program including poetry from Ruth Fessaha and Somali Hani Abdile.

They enjoyed the music of Dalia Dior and Judy Campbell’s Community of Choirs, and were entertained with a troupe of Punjabi giddha dancers.

They were inspired with words from Australian South Sea Islander Elder Auntie Shireen and from Indian lawyer Mittu Gopalan.

Keynote speaker Dr Rachael Kohn spoke about the diversity of women in her own family and throughout the world. She shared the power of faith through several stories.

The annual event was instigated in 2016 by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies to establish a coalition of organisations.

According to NSW Jewish Board of Deputies community relations and policy manager, Lynda Ben-Menashe, "The Women of Diversity [event] isn’t just about an annual dinner—it’s about bringing women together to develop themselves and their communities for the greater good of Sydney.”

Mormon Newsroom states: “A respect for the diverse beliefs and unique contributions of all the world’s faiths is one of the hallmarks of Mormonism. From the earliest days of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith elevated the principle of religious liberty and tolerance: ‘We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may’ (Articles of Faith 1:11).”

Read more about Latter-day Saints and interfaith relations.

Twice a year women and girls from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gather in a women’s session of the faith’s worldwide general conference. Guests who are not members of the Church are always welcome to attend in person in Salt Lake City or to read, listen to or watch proceedings after the meeting, at LDS.org.

View one of the talks from the most recent women’s session of LDS general conference, given by Sister Neill F. Marriott.

Photographs courtesy Giselle Haber Photography

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