We need to go back to August 1988 when the then City of Springvale embarked on a 2 year Access & Equity Project. The CEO Mr Ian Tatterson asked the Project Officer Ms Joyce Rebeiro to come up with a proposal for a community relations strategy aimed at promoting harmonious relations among Springvale’s diverse communities. Being both a multicultural and multi-faith area, Joyce thought that perhaps the leaders of the faith communities could provide the credible leadership that would be required for the Project.

Through contacts pursued by Joyce, she and two of the clergy from the local Ministers Fraternal Fr Anthony Fox OFM and Rev Malcolm Homes did house/venue visits to several faith leaders/communities in the area, resulting in positive response and the 1st Meeting of Faith Communities of Springvale took place on May 10, 1989, with 19 faith representatives attending.

Rev Malcolm Homes, later took on the role of Chairperson and served continuously in that capacity for several years.

  • Common Statement, this was drawn up by “a sub- committee” of volunteers and it was approved at the Meeting.
  • 1st Annual Gathering took place on August 21, 1989 at the Supper Room, Springvale. There was a large number in attendance from the various communities, and from that the Faith Leaders/Representatives took the signed Common Statement to the Council Meeting and presented it to the then Mayor, Cr Noelle Trembath.

 This annual presentation to the Mayor and Councillors continues to date.

  • Following Council amalgamations, of the City’s of Springvale and Dandenong, the First Annual Gathering of the Faith Communities of Greater Dandenong (later to become known as the Interfaith Network) took place in 1995, in Springvale Town Hall, and in 1996 it was held in Dandenong Town Hall.

The on-going, unwavering support from Council/s throughout the years has been and remains evident and much appreciated by the Network.

The Network continues to evolve, in 2015 the first ever Interfaith Network Office in our City was established, it became a reality. Then with the employment of an Interfaith Development Officer, Mrs Helen Heath OAM, it has grown and developed in a meaningful way, through her passion, commitment and guidance, the result of which can only be of benefit to the wider community as a whole.

Written by Agnes Kean – March 2024