Opening of the Queensland Community Centre
It’s been 25 years since I helped cut the tape at the opening ceremony of the previous Qld Centre in Annerley as a representative of the future division. Since then so much has happened and we, both as individuals and as a group have grown so much. So today, it was a great privilege to be a part of the opening ceremony for the new Qld Centre located in between Brisbane and the Gold Coast as our new centre of activities. It was really encouraging to see both new and old faces, each person with their own individual challenges, but also working together on a common goal. As mentioned by a few of the speakers this really is the birth, the beginning of a new journey for Queensland that we must all help nurture and develop, as it is the people that truly makes a SGI Centre. Greatly looking forward to the next 25 years and beyond! – Kenji Kimura.
Youth Friendship Day in New South Wales
On the beautiful Sunday morning of 15th March, a hundred youth members gathered at the ACC in commemoration of the 2015 ‘March 16’ meeting. It is my second official meeting of the year in Sydney and it felt so good to see the meeting started with a vigorous morning prayer, followed by a candid welcome by the masters of ceremony.
The focus of the meeting was on SGI President Ikeda’s message to the youth members around world. My personal takeaway from the speech that felt rather impactful for my life was when I read, “Even if you are filled with pain, hold on to hope.” It is at this very point that my mind flashed back to a very dark moment in my life about 2 years ago when I was undergoing a relationship setback. I was deeply saddened, hurt and lost then. The only thing I had to hold on to was hope, to overcome the fear and gain courage to move on in the direction that is best for me.
As President Ikeda writes in his message, “It is precisely by persevering and challenging the situation before you that you will be able to transform uncertainty, anguish and torment into the cause of your great development. By advancing cheerfully with an indomitable spirit, you will become the victor in life and a champion for kosen-rufu without fail.” How true are these words!
The vibrance of the meeting continued to be upheld with an experience followed by a brilliant performance of the song by Sarah Barellis ‘Brave’ performed by our own in-house talents Rachel Chang and Adam Cohen (vocals) and Bill Crossland on Bass Guitar, Raman Menon on Guitar, Ming Chang on Piano and Greg Johns on Drums. The participants broke out in smaller groups for further discussion on President Ikeda’s speech as well as to share impressions. Some groups like mine had the fortune to have one of the women division members to provide such a strong encouragement to forge on in our lives no matter what may come!
Feeling so uplifted from the morning’s meeting and delighted from the new friendships formed as well as reconnecting with old friends, I read President Ikeda’s message again on my way back home. This time, the line, ‘I entrust the future to all of you. I’m counting on you – counting on you to accomplish kosen-rufu!’ felt so powerful that I decided to pledge myself. I personally made a promise that I will take ownership for my happiness, reach out and build trust on my communities and society wherever I am! – Renugah Jagadisan
Youth Friendship Day in Victoria
This year’s Youth Friendship Day in Victoria was a huge success with approximately 150 youth and friends attending the meeting. I was given the opportunity to be Person In Charge, in the Soka and Jacaranda Group, for the event and was determined to make this meeting enjoyable and to carry Sensei’s spirit in everything I did. It was great to meet other youth and listen to their victories and struggles during the small group discussion. It created a ripple effect, where each person felt encouraged by the person before them to share their challenges. It was deeply inspiring to know that today’s youth are caring, compassionate and determined to work towards their own happiness and the happiness of others. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Women’s Division and the youth planning committee for their contribution and support behind the scenes. – Victoria Na
Seekers Hub Conversation: Advancing Australia Fair
ON 15 February 2015 at the SGI Australia Culture Centre in Sydney a forum was held discussing the theme ‘Advancing Australia Fair’. The panel for the forum included Imam Afroz Ali of Seekers Hub International (Initiator of the event), Father Rod Bower Anglican Arch Deacon of the Central Coast of NSW and Greg Johns Vice General Director of SGI Australia.
Attended by over 50 people from many faith and non-faith backgrounds the forum began with speeches by the three panellists. After a historical and poetic expression about Australia, its history and significance by Father Bower, Imam Ali spoke passionately abut the importance of our shared humanity and the actions needed to move ahead as a nation and as individuals. Concluding the presentations Greg Johns spoke about the need to preach less and empower each individual to become leaders themselves, standing up as an example to others and responding to the poor leadership in politics, media and business through our own efforts of dialogue based on hope.
Following the speeches by the three faith leaders, Jeena Joyan, a young mother of Islamic faith moderated a discussion of the themes raised in the speeches and wider issues regarding humanity and its future. Finally questions were opened to the audience and there were insightful exchanges between guests and forum members. As the children of the guests played joyfully throughout the afternoon it was clear that their example was one of hope and possibility for humanity’s future. The day concluded with vibrant dialogue for over an hour over tea and coffee. The sentiment was overwhelmingly positive and the need to continue such exchanges expressed universally.
Western Australia Men’s Division Meeting
45 participants were welcomed to the WA Men’s Division Meeting by the MCs Jim Travis and Terry Neel. This was followed by a screening of the inspiring SGI Video – Our Shared Humanity. James and Sean elaborated on the meeting theme Global Citizenship. Paul Williams gave a short experience on his recent operation. The meeting ended with a sumptuous meal prepared by some of the Men’s Division Iron Chefs.
New Brisbane Centre Groundbreaking Ceremony
1 November 2014 – 170 SGIA members from Queensland gathered at the building site of the new SGIA Community Centre, in Meadowbrook for a groundbreaking ceremony. Construction of the centre has now begun.
From the Future Group to the Diamond Group, members were united in their joy at seeing the site. Chris Steains, SGIA General Director, spoke at the ceremony, encouraging all the members to create victory in their own lives leading up to the opening of the new community centre in 2015.