The Waikato Interfaith Council is a voluntary non-profit association of persons who collectively represent the diversity of religious and faith communities that exist within our wider society. The Council exists:
(a) To foster mutual appreciation and good relations between these traditions and communities;
(b) To coordinate action, and/or to act, on behalf of any or all of these communities in respect of religious issues and relationships to society at large; and
(c) To act in an advisory and consultative capacity to the community at large
The objectives of the Council are:
(a) To provide a forum for its members to consult and discuss matters of interfaith concern;
(b) To promote, within our society at large, the appreciation and understanding of the distinctive beliefs and practices, and sympathetic awareness of the unique heritage, of the various faith communities that exist within our society;
(c) To promote acceptance and respect for each others faith among religious leaders and representatives of the faith communities, especially those who serve on the Council;
(d) To promote good collegial and cooperative relations (i) among the members of the Council and (ii) among the diverse faith communities;
(e) To promote the elimination of religious discrimination and racism;
(f) To promote a more just, informed and tolerant society;
(g) To act in a liaising and consultative capacity in respect to the media, local bodies, and other community groups and organisations;
(h) To conduct and perform all such acts and deeds as are incidental or conducive to the attainments of the Statement of Purpose, and allied to the objects, of the Council;
(i) To promote the universal themes, values, ethics, and norms common to all faiths;
(j) To promote equal standing between faith communities;
(k) To ensure that all faith communities have equal opportunity in official functions and ceremonies;
(l) To challenge injustice and fight against human rights abuses – especially when perpetrated in the name of religion.
Activities of the Waikato Interfaith Council:
(a) Council members meet once every two months, on the second Tuesday of the month. Each meeting is hosted by a different faith community.
(b) The Waikato Interfaith Choir practices on the fourth Sunday of every month at the Lady Goodfellow Chapel, from 3pm to 4.30pm. The Choir also performs at various events by invitiation.
(c) The Council hosts a multifaith service during the Week of Prayer for World Peace in October each year. Various faith communities particpate in the service, with prayer and/or song.
(d) Every two years, the national interfaith community runs the National Interfaith Forum, and Wifco sends representatives to these, as well as hosting the event at regular intervals. The Forums are an opportunity for faith communities to gather at a national level and discuss issues of relevance.
(e) Members of the Council are often invited by community and faith groups to speak either on the topic of interfaith or to present their own faith perspective on a topic requested. As an example, members of the Council speak at an interfaith evening hosted for Islam Awareness Week, on the chosen theme. Council members have presented to school assemblies, religious training events, church groups and other events.
(f) Council members participated in the opening prayer for Hamilton City Council meetings for several years, until the election of the current Mayor.
(g) Once every two years, the Council hosts an interfaith tree planting event, supported by Hamilton City Council staff.
(h) The Council supports the development of new interfaith groups such as the one in Tauranga Moana and a proposed group in Te Awamutu.
(i) From time to time, the Council engages with central or local government on issues of relevance to Council members. Often, the Council will support a specific faith community on an issue or problem that is not being addressed adequately.
(l) The Council is currently working on a City of Compassion project intended to highlight local stories of compassion.