Interfaith Pilgrimage to India: MELA Interfaith Association

From February 06, 2016 00:00 until February 06, 2016 18:48

Interfaith Pilgrimage to India: MELA Interfaith Association

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MELA Interfaith Association is seeking expressions of interest to participate in:

An Interfaith Pilgrimage to India

Proposed dates: Saturday 6 February to Friday 19 February 2016
Proposed locations: Delhi, Varanasi, Bodh Gaya, Kolkata
RSVP date: Saturday 7 November 2015

Led by: Rev. Dr John Dupuche

The MELA Interfaith Association is organizing a multifaith pilgrimage to India from Saturday 6 February to Friday 19 February 2016. The group will consist of a maximum of fifteen people. The focus is pilgrimage not tourism.

The purpose of the pilgrimage is to visit religious sites that are sacred to Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity, to study texts from our sacred writings, to discuss points of agreement and disagreement, and so sense the religious experience that is proper to these faiths. In this way, members of the group will truly ‘meet’ each other in spirit. The major locations they will be visiting in this vast and varied land are Delhi, Varanasi, Bodh Gaya and Kolkata.

The group will come together before the trip and also, following the trip, seek to communicate the impact of their experiences with their respective religious communities and the broader community.

The cost per participant will be AUD3900, which includes airfares, train fares, taxis and accommodation. Food costs, travel and health insurance and incidental expenses will be up to the individual pilgrim. Detailed information is available. Please contact John Dupuche, on  Mobile: 04 1756 0087.

Those interested should provide a written response to the criteria listed below and send their application to the planning committee care of John Dupuche ( before 7 November 2015. The planning committee will select the participants of the pilgrimage according to the criteria; all decisions remain
confidential and final.

Criteria for Selection:

1) Before the journey

  •  Participants should be committed to, and knowledgeable of their tradition
  •  Participants should be able and willing to actively participate in group discussion on major texts in these traditions.
  •  Participants should be willing to face the ‘shadows’ of their tradition and acknowledge the truth that is found in the other.
  •  Though not a requirement, preference will be given to those who have already engaged in interfaith relations.
  •  Participants need to commit to participate in the preparation sessions in order to establish good relations with each other, and begin to raise questions, to share reflections on texts.

2) During the journey

  • This is a spiritual journey. Participants agree not to discuss politics. Participants will help facilitate prayer times for all members as desired.
  •  Participants will participate in discussion of texts.
  •  Participants will take part (both leading and participating) in debriefing each day and briefing the next day.
  •  Participants will enter the sacred spaces of the other faiths.
  •  Participants will meet with various groups that promote reconciliation and interfaith relations.
  •  There will be free time for participants to explore the various cities in their own way.

3) After the journey

  •  Participants will report in various ways to groups in the months following.
  • Hopefully, participants will use the experience to further interfaith relations, where possible.

To apply for the trip, please provide a statement with the following information:

  •  Name and title
  •  Email address
  •  Mobile phone number
  •  Religious allegiance
  •  Denomination within that tradition,
  •  Previous interfaith experience
  •  Reasons why you wish to be a participant in this pilgrimage
  •  Ways in which you may contribute to interfaith relations as a result of this experience.

Tour Leader: Rev. Dr John Dupuche is a Senior Lecturer in the University of Divinity (Melbourne), an Honorary Fellow at Australian Catholic University, a Member of the Warburton Interfaith Ashram, extensively involved in interfaith activities, and a frequent visitor to India.

More Information: Please contact John Dupuche, on Mobile: 04 1756 0087

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