Beautiful Borderless and Peaceful world – the concept of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha was conveyed to 16 different faiths gathered for the inaugural ceremony of National Inter-Faith Forum 2005, organised by Auckland Interfaith Council (AIC) at Shri Swaminarayan Mandir on Friday 11 February 2005. Around 70 members of the different faith groups attended the inaugural function.
The Forum was opened by MP, Dr. Ashraf Choudhary, on behalf of the Prime Minister, President of AIC, Dr. Michael Roberts, Deputy Mayor of Auckland, Dr. Bruce Hucker, MP, Mr. B. Ogilvy and Ambassador Ms. D. Higgie with Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade also attended the opening.
The evening started with a prayer followed by a warm welcome by BAPS children and teenagers, who presented flowers to the chief guests and then welcome speeches were delivered by a member of AIC and a representative of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, Mr. Navin Patel.
With the message of harmony and the fundamental values of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, “In the joy of others lies our own, in the progress of others lies our own”, Mr. Patel lit the lamp of Harmony amongst the faiths.
Dr. Ashraf Choudhary delivered the opening speech, in which he said that the world is looking forward for this kind of effort, especially after the tragic incident of 9/11. He also congratulated the AIC for their work in Auckland.
Thereafter, the President of AIC, Dr. Michael Roberts, gave a brief outline of the work of AIC in New Zealand.
At the end of the ceremony, Deputy Mayor of Auckland, Dr. Bruce Hucker, said that he was proud to be a part of AIC. He thanked all the members of AIC for doing such a work in Auckland. On behalf of the City of Auckland he also promised to support the movement.
Soon after all the members visited the Mandir shrine and had darshan. The volunteers explained the exhibition – “Understanding Hinduism and BAPS history & activities.” to the guests.
The members left with the message of peace and harmony, which was conveyed through the gift of such a marvellous mandir and cultural complex to New Zealand by HDH Pramukh Swami