News Release

Young Interfaith Representatives Support Hospital Community Through Annual "Faith Matters" Initiative


An interfaith group of young adults has brightened future hospital visits for sick children by making 300 calico dolls to donate to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide.

The Trauma doll service project held on Saturday 20th July was part of a ‘Faith Matters’ event, sponsored and hosted for the fourth consecutive year in Adelaide by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

More than 100 young adults of various faith backgrounds – including Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – took part in the assembly line of drafting, cutting, sewing and stuffing the dolls which young patients will later decorate and take home as a memento of their hospital stay.

Event organiser, Debbie Foster, said that the dolls were not simply toys.

“They are used by doctors and nurses to explain to children the location and treatment of their injury or medical condition,” she explained.

“The hospital goes through thousands each year and we wanted to help meet that need. Originally, we hoped to make two hundred but the number of people who took part, and the way everyone worked together meant we achieved more.”

Guest Rabbi Shoshana Kaminsky of the Beit Shalom Synagogue commented on the focus and momentum, “I could hear the excitement building as you moved closer to that (tally) of 300 dolls!”

Organisers said that a spirit of cooperation and endeavour was a strong feature of ‘Faith Matters’, which aims to build bridges of understanding between religious groups through serving the community together and providing a forum for faith-belief sharing.

This year, each of the five religious groups gave a presentation on the topic, ‘What service to God and community means to me in my faith’.

Holly Roberts, representing the Catholic Youth Ministry and a regular attendee at the annual event, spoke about Sister Mary MacKillop, Australia’s first Catholic Saint who founded the Josephite Order, establishing schools and welfare institutions throughout Australia and New Zealand, with an emphasis on educating the rural poor.

Holly reflected on how her own upbringing instilled in her a culture of compassion and being ready and able to serve.  “Never see a need without doing something about it,” she encouraged.

Patina and Heeyal Kaur taught that within their Sikh faith, ‘seva’ is a principle of charity and serving with a “good heart” and serving and protecting the community with no expectation of reward.

“At a Sikh temple or gurdwara kindness and respect are shown to everyone (regardless of race or religion) – everyone is fed and looked after,” Patina said.

Rabbi Kaminsky spoke of the Jewish term ‘tikkun olam’ meaning ‘heal the world’ and emphasised that “God works through us and our hands”.  She explained that “the most important message in Judaism is to look after the stranger among you”.

Participants Saad Kalaniya and Sada Sheka presented on their Islamic faith. Saad highlighted how important charity and providing for the needy was to Muslims, while Sada spoke about the third pillar of faith, Zakat, which requires Muslims to give 2.5% of their income to charity.

Latter-day Saint Tad Smith, recently returned from a two-year full-time church mission in New Zealand, spoke about how service to people in the community is also service to God, concluding that service – whether within one’s own faith group or not – is the central core of religion and was about sharing God’s love.

Closing the event, Firle Stake (diocese) president and event host Rainer Korte, commended the 2019 event for continuing the tradition of service to the community.

Muslim Women’s Association of South Australia project manager Shaista Kalaniya, who attended with nine young adult Muslim participants, agreed. “We look forward to future events and interaction between our youths to develop increased understanding and friendships.”

President Korte continued, “Making 300 Trauma Dolls means that 300 children attending the Women’s and Children’s Hospital will have a better experience and is the essence of love and service in the community.”

He concluded, “One thing I always take away from these ‘Faith Matters’ events is how much we have in common even with our faith-belief differences, including our desire and commitment to share God’s love through service to each other and the community.”

Previous years’ ‘Faith Matters’ events have included assembling mechanical hands for overseas victims of land mines, creating street and home-starter packs for a homelessness charity, and preparing birthing kits for third world communities. 

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