Year 11 Study of Religion Students visit Brisbane

Date: November 2, 2016     Posted by: Ashlee Hansen

Year 11 Study of Religion

Article written by Ainsley Wyeth, Emmaus College.

The Year 11 Study of Religion students were privileged to be educated

by many different religious authorities and adherents throughout

Brisbane recently.

75 students and 5 staff members travelled to Brisbane to discover, explore and admire various different religious places of worship.

After an early start at 7am on Thursday morning (20 Oct) the students endured a lengthy bus trip, arriving at our destination in the late afternoon.

Our first religious visit (21 Oct) was at the Gayatri Mandir Hindu Temple.We eagerly listened to one of the newest council members of the Hindu temple who taught us about the history of the religion, the cycle of reincarnation and the Gods of the religion.

We travelled to the extravagantly decorated Evergreen Daoist Temple. Our guide explained to us the rich history of Daoism, and the philosophical views and beliefs that accompany it. All the students were blown away by the intricate details of the architecture in the many buildings of the temple, as well as the stunning altar designs and statues.

Father Anastasios explained the phenomenal iconography covering the entirety of the inside of St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church. He gave us a brief introduction to the Orthodox Church and the history of the religion before delving into the extravagant iconography. The familiar stories and names were seen in a new light as he explained the symbolism behind the iconography and the design of the church.

St. Stephen’s Cathedral and Chapel is a heritage listed cathedral and holds the seat of the Bishop of the diocese. The Cathedral exhibits multi-million dollar architecture and décor, alongside a long history being one of the oldest buildings in Brisbane, and claims to be the oldest standing church in Queensland.  Students were given the opportunity to tour the buildings, guided by volunteer tour guides, who exposed the history of the church to us.

We were then welcomed into the meeting hall at the Quaker House, which we learnt to be a lot of different views combined. Roger and Frances went into great detail about the interesting history of the Quaker’s. We were then given the opportunity to experience the ritual of silent prayer.

Our first visit on Saturday (22 Oct) was the Chung Tian Buddhist Temple, which was highly anticipated by all the students. We were greeted by a Venerable Buddhist nun, who welcomed us into a conference hall and gave us a brief history of the temple. We then got to visit the main temple, where some of the symbolism and beliefs of Buddhism were explained.

Students were then split into groups and got to visit different sites around the temple including the Pagoda, where we got to practice meditation and Chinese calligraphy. We also got to visit a tea room and take part in a tea ceremony.

We then visited another highly anticipated place of worship, the Holland Park Mosque. Imam Uzair Akbar and Ali Kadri, Islamic Council of Queensland spokesman, spoke about the religion of Islam and addressed the controversy surrounding it. We got to witness one of their five daily prayers or Salat, as it is known is Islam. Both of the presenters gave very in-depth answers to all of our questions.

Our final destination was the Brisbane Temple, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Latter-Day Saints, more commonly known as Mormons, was a very new religion for all of us. The guides were all very knowledgeable and explained the beliefs and values of the religion.

Finally, after a jam-packed three days we headed back to Rockhampton via bus on Sunday (23 Oct).

Some of the experiences were once in a lifetime opportunities for some of us, such as entering a mosque or a temple. The knowledge gained from these experiences are insights that will stay with us forever.

The students and staff are so grateful that we are so warmly welcomed into these worship spaces every year. The trip was a chance to develop spiritually and academically as a group and as individuals.


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