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
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
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 Maharaj.