The Religious Centre was seen at the time as an important ecumenical exercise and part of the process of reassessment and reform within the churches, including moves towards liturgical experimentation, greater social relevance and greater interaction with other religious traditions. Mockridge Stahle & Mitchell, with John Mockridge as the principal designer, was a prominent architectural firm established in Melbourne in 1948, and was particularly well-known for its designs for school and university buildings and churches.
Mockridge chose the circular form of the building as a symbol of unity, eternity and ecumenical feeling. With the growth of a significant non-Western student population, the Centre has been increasingly used by other religious groups, particularly Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus. The building is used for Christian and Jewish services, Muslim prayers, Bible studies, Catholic confession, meetings of the religious societies, discussion groups and social gatherings, as well as joint ceremonies by representatives of the different users.
The organ, made by Ronald Sharp of Sydney, was installed in 1978 in the Large Chapel, which is also used for organ practice, choir rehearsals, concerts, weddings and funerals.
In these troubled times, worldwide, it is important to remember the ecumenical spirituality that all great religions share and that if all the faithful, whatever their faith chose to follow their religious principles, there would be little place for violence in the world.
This post is part of the Spiritual Sunday meme,
and also part of the Psalm Sunday meme.
And here is Joseph Haydn's setting of Psalm 19:1 from the Creation, sung in German: "Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes".