All Saints' Belmont

Parish of Belmont, Anglican Church Newcastle, NSW Australia

Category Archives: Social Action

INTERFAITH CONVERSATIONS

INTERFAITH CONVERSATIONS ON PEACE AND NON-VIOLENCE

Pax Christi Australia and the NSW Ecumenical Council invites you to participate in a four-session day to re-invigorate the practice of peace and non-violence in our lives.
When: 9.30am on Saturday 12 August 2017 (registration starts at 9.00am)
Where: Edmund Rice Centre, 15 Henley Rd, Homebush West (just one minute’s walk from Flemington Station)
Online registrationwww.trybooking.com/QVSA

Refugee Week Photos 2017

Here are some photos from the Gregson Park event at Hamilton on Saturday 1/7/2017.

A wonderful day with hundreds of people present. 

Honoring Sorry Day, the 50th anniversary of the 1967

Aboriginal Referendum and the beginning of National
Reconciliation Week - with the work of dynamic artist
Gordon Syron and an address by indigenous
theologian Dr Anne Pattel-Gray. Entry is free.

Hosted by Hunter Presbytery Social Justice Committee UCA.

5.30pm refreshments
6.30pm Opening
Adamstown Uniting Church
cnr Brunker and Glebe Rds

Sorry Day Exhibition

RSVP for catering 4957 1887 or
adamuca@bigpond.net.au
www.adamstownuca.org.au

STANDING TOGETHER WITH THE FIRST PEOPLES OF AUSTRALIA

The annual Give Us A Sign campaign emerged out of conversations within the Anglican, Catholic and Uniting Churches in the Hunter and Central Coast as a powerful initiative to highlight social justice issues across the wider community. Previous campaigns have promoted peace and called for greater compassion for asylum seekers.

This year our country acknowledges the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum, which permitted the Federal Parliament to make laws for First Peoples and included them in the Census. This is an appropriate time to reflect on both what has been achieved and what still needs to be addressed in relation to the First Peoples of Australia. There are significant questions for our nation to consider including constitutional recognition, sovereignty and treaty, and social, economic and other disadvantage experienced by many First Peoples. It is important we mark National Sorry Day (26 May), Mabo Day (3 June) and National Reconciliation Week (27 May – 3 June).

“The oldest living culture is worth listening to”

To raise awareness of this important milestone and the work that still needs to be achieved, the Give Us a Sign campaign is calling on Churches and Christian organisations to Stand Together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the First Peoples of Australia.

From 1st May to 4th June simply post a message at least one day EACH week on your church or school noticeboards to show that you Stand Together with the First Peoples of Australia. We note the signs we are suggesting have been endorsed by some of the First Australian church leaders from our communities.

Mercy Ships

There will be a documentary on one of the  Mercy Ships – Africa Mercy on 7two 6pm Sat 3 Dec

Mercy Ships is a unique hospital ship charity

We have transformed the lives of more than 2.5 million people in the least developed countries for over 38 years. Amazing surgeons, nurses and other staff volunteer their services and pay for their own expenses so we can treat more people.

NoMoreBreakTheCycle

The Diocesan Social Justice Council will be holding a dinner to raise awareness about Domestic Violence, and assist Nova Women to continue to provide support. The dinner will be held on Friday 26th August at Victor Peters Suites from 5.30pm, cost $35.00 per head to attend.

The Hon. Natasha Maclaren-Jones MLC, in her role of Chair of the Parliamentary Friend for Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse will present. Along with Robyn Donnelly, CCSS and Office of Life and Faith and Suellyn Moore, Nova Women.

Please find attached a flyer with more information. I do hope that you can attend to show support in breaking the violence.

A4_Domestic Violence

Newcastle Naidoc 2016

4th July 2016

Newcastle Foreshore

Kids come and meet Lil Mike

Come One, Come All

Health Awareness and Promotions.

Prizes and Freebies.

9.00 am. Christ Church Cathedral Flag Raising

March to Newcastle Foreshore.

Official Opening at 10.15

Naidoc2016

 

Remembering Orlando

5.40-6.30 pm

Friday 17th June 2016

AS vigil in Newcastle expressing grief, sadness, protest, solidarity and love.

This is a welcoming space open to diverse beliefs and cultures. We come together to affirm the riches found in celebrating our diversity without fear, while naming the power of love and respect.

Adamstown Uniting Church

cnr Brunker and Glebe Roads

 

“With Courage let us all combine”
Newcastle Events Program – Sunday 19th June—26th June 2016

Friday 17th June—Tuesday 21st June

Refugee Awareness Run—Michael Eccleston is embarking on a Refugee Awareness Run from Aberdeen to Mayfield over 4 days, stopping at various schools and churches.
Others are invited to join the final leg in Mayfield from the Catholic Care Refugee Service Tues 21.

Tuesday 21st June

Zara’s House Opening—Official Opening of the Refuge Women’s Handcrafts Centre.
3.30pm—5pm at 4/45 Mordue Pde, Jesmond. Afternoon Tea will follow.

Thursday 23rd June

Syrian Refugee Settlement Information Session
9.30am—12.30pm (Registrations at 8.45am)
Riddell Theatre, Ground Floor, Block P, Newcastle Campus of TAFE, Tighes Hill
Registrations Essential – please email nop@familyinsight.org.au for details on how to register.

Thursday 23rd June

Movie Night—Freedom Stories
Callaghan College, Jesmond Senior Campus, Janet St Jesmond. Parking beside auditorium.
6.00pm for movie start at 6.30pm. Supper Included.

Saturday 25th June

Refugees and the Art of Past Experiences—Wallsend Library 1pm—3pm.
Be moved and motivated by the art of Refugees presented by a panel of speakers including Safdar Ahmed 2015 Walkley Award winning artist and academic and founding member of the Refugee Art Project .

Sunday 26th June

Mid Winter Refugee Fiesta—A Celebration of Courage
3pm—7pm at Ethnic Communities Council, 2A Platt St Waratah.
Activities include jumping castle, fire truck, soccer, volleyball, face painting, traditional games
Please bring a plate of food to share. Includes Provisions and prayers for those Breaking their Fast.

Sunday 19th June & Sunday 26th June

“Bread and Asylum Seekers: tools for a long-term campaign”
Sunday 19th June with Dr Tom Griffiths and others; Sunday 26th June with Fr Rod Bower and others
Both at 3pm Sunset Lounge, 1 Maitland Rd, Mayfield.
Please book as seating is limited. Contact Niko for details lekaniko@gmail.com or 0406296141.

For more information please contact: Northern Settlement Services on 49693399

Download PDF here Refugee Week Calendar of Events – FINAL June 2016

NAIDOC Week is an opportunity for all Australians to celebrate the history, culture, achievements and contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait peoples.

Our celebration this year will particularly focus on the contributions of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders. The gathering will allow us to come together, to listen and talk with one another and share afternoon tea.

We are pleased to partner with the Samaritans and the Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council to host this important celebration at our Cathedral.

Date: Sunday 3 July

Time: 3pm

Venue: Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle

NAIDOC Week 2016 Christ Church

Please write a Letter (not an email) to one or all of the following:

The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, MP
Prime Minister
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT 2600

Peter Dutton MP
Minister for Immigration and Border Protection

Bill Shorten MP
Leader of the Opposition

Richard Marles MP
Shadow Minister for Immigration and Border Protection

PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Some points to include in your letter:

  • To respect the dignity of all men, women and children it is unacceptable that Asylum Seekers are physically, mentally and sexually abused.
  • All offshore detention centres must be closed immediately.
  • Grant employment opportunities to thousands of Refugees/asylum seekers in the community on temporary visas and free education for their children. Grant permanent visas immediately so they can all settle with dignity and unnecessary stress.
  • All applications for protection should be processed with fairness according UN Conventions. 
  • Redirect the billions of dollars earmarked for negative inhumane policies into positive, responsible refugee intakes from regions like Indonesia and Malaysia.

Interfaith2016

Tuesday 31 May – 6.30pm to 9.00pm
Light supper included
BISHOP TYRRELL ANGLICAN COLLEGE
256 MINMI ROAD, FLETCHER

An opportunity to join together with our Muslim and Christian communities to explore the true sense of what peace means to our religions. Each of us can learn and appreciate what
we have in common and our love for our God.

  • Bishop Bill Wright (Catholic),
  • Bishop Greg Thompson (Anglican),
  • Sheikh Mohamed Khamis (Imam: Newcastle Mosque),
  • Farooq Ahmed (Newcastle Muslim Association), and
  • Shaikh Muhammed Thalal (Mayfield Mosque)

will form a panel for a Q&A dialogue.

If you would like to present a question to the panel, please email your question to

Alyson Segrott email alyson.segrott@mn.catholic.org.au by 22nd May.

This years topic will be on “Peace”, we would like to explore what this means to us personally and religiously. Questions on other topics can be submitted also.

To RSVP or for further details please contact Brooke Robinson at the Diocesan Chancery Offices on 4979 1111 or email events@mn.catholic.org.au.

inter_faith_dialogue_2016_a4_lr1

Recognise

There’s been some good news in the media over the weekend. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders will shortly commence talks with their communities about the best model for a referendum. This is a crucial next step on the road to a referendum that both recognises the First Australians and deals with the racial discrimination in the Constitution.

As these talks take shape, it’s a good time for our movement to remember the important role of the RECOGNISE campaign and where we came from.RECOGNISE was established in 2012 after the Expert Panel (consisting of a majority of Indigenous members) called for the establishment of a

“properly resourced public education and awareness program”.

This mirrored a similar call by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission in 1995 for

“a major public awareness program to create an environment for change and understanding of Indigenous Constitutional perspectives”.

This was based on the knowledge that early awareness is the best way to ensure a great change doesn’t fall victim to the usual “don’t know, vote no” scare campaigns that have sunk so many referendums. The history of failed referendums shows that while a model is being thrashed out, the public must not be forgotten. Only 8 out of 44 referendums have succeeded and some of the worst results occurred when there has been no attempt to raise public awareness of the need for a change.

That’s why RECOGNISE has driven a strong national awareness campaign for the past four years. With your support,awareness of the issue has almost doubled;

  • nearly 300,000 Australians have signed up to support a referendum and support has held steady;
  • more than 75% of the general community support a change as does 85% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; and
  • the Journey to Recognition has travelled more than 35,000kms across the country, engaging with 260 communities through 344 events attended by 26,560 people.
  • All this has been against a backdrop of unprecedented political upheaval; four changes in Prime Minister, shifting timelines and a stop-start process to finalise a model- all factors beyond our control.

And there’s much more to do.With a 2017 referendum getting closer, we continue to appreciate the enthusiasm and contributions from our ever-growing number of supporters and volunteers. Your positivity and support will be a crucial part of a successful referendum. Thanks for walking with us, we couldn’t do it without you.

Africa Day celebrates with live Music, Dance Performances, African Food Stalls, Arts, Crafts, Jewellery Stalls, African Fashion, Kids Workshops, Live DJ, So Much Fun and So Much More….

AfricaDay

Harmony Day – Hamilton Community Picnic – Everyone Belongs – Celebrating the different cultures that make Hamilton a great place to be.

Harmony Day Poster

Magnificat (The Song of Mary)

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour;
he has looked with favour on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed;
the Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is his name.

He has mercy on those who fear him,
from generation to generation.

He has shown strength with his arm
and has scattered the proud in their conceit,

Casting down the mighty from their thrones
and lifting up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away empty.

He has come to the aid of his servant Israel,
to remember his promise of mercy,

The promise made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Luke 1.46-55

copyright © The Archbishops' Council of the Church of England.

Could this have a Political Edge?

For those who like to keep religion and politics separate, Mary's Song, the Magnificat is a bit of a challenge. Once you get past the glory of Festal Evensong and the fabulous choir and musical setting, you hear the words calling us to strive for a more just society. Mary recognises that in the face of the power and dominion exerted by the Roman Empire on its vassal states, it was God working through one, young, unmarried, girl from a town of little account, that God was working his purposes out.

And she recognises that God's Kingdom is the upside down world, where the mighty are brought low and the lowly highly exalted. And yet this is not simply an event, but method, not a ruler, but a new rule, not a new power, but a new understanding of power. And yes, this most certainly has a political edge, because in this new kingdom the politics are not the most important thing.

The challenge always for us as Christians is not that we are not political, but that our faith informs our politics, and not the other way around.

His mercy is on those who fear him from one generation to another

Paris Climate Summit

At the end of November, delegations from nearly 200 countries will meet in Paris for a most important climate meeting.  Officially the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP-21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (the 1992 treaty that designated that phenomenon a threat to planetary health and human survival), the Paris summit will be focused on the adoption of measures that would limit global warming to less than catastrophic levels. If it fails, world temperatures in the coming decades are likely to exceed 2 degrees Celsius (3.5 degrees Fahrenheit), the maximum amount most scientists believe the Earth can endure without experiencing irreversible climate shocks, including soaring temperatures and a substantial rise in global sea levels.

Pray

Holy God,
earth and air and water are your creation,
and every living thing belongs to you:
have mercy on us as climate change confronts us.

Give us the will and the courage
     to simplify the way we live,
to reduce the energy we use,
to share the resources you provide,
and to bear the cost of change.

Forgive our past mistakes and send us your Spirit,
with wisdom in present controversies
and vision for the future to which you call us
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

  

© Anglican Church of Australia Trust Corporation. Used by permission.
This text may be reproduced for use in worship in the Anglican Church of Australia

Be Informed

Climate Change impacts our world, and its people in many ways. It is linked to rising sea levels, extreme weather events and prolonged and more extreme weather events, both drought and storm.

Climate Change reduces available resources, like water for agriculture and drinking. Such reductions sees a rise in conflict between people for access and control.

There have been times in the history of earth where shifts in climate happened, such as the ice age which destroyed entire species. Since the industrial revolution the rise of human civilisation has led to more carbon based emissions in the atmosphere. These include rising pollution, reduction of the the forests, increased population densities, and greater energy needs.

It is clear that humans contribute to the problem. We understand our responsibility as stewards of creation, and look to improve the outcomes for all people.

Some Hard Questions

There has been a great deal of media emphasis of late placed on the Syrian Refugee Crisis. There has been some volatile response on the part of some, both those in favour and those against. And one may ask why it is in a world gone quiet on the plight of over 50 million refugees do we now see this as the crisis. Is this because it has finally tipped the balance, or is it because it is impacting Europe?

Governments clearly have some responsibility to maintain peace and stability for their citizens, and to keep the nation safe. Taking that responsibility away from them does not seem to be a sensible solution. Yet we are called to live as people with heart and compassion. There are many reasons why people may choose to leave their homeland, and we must acknowledge that not everyone's homeland enjoys the safety and security that we do. 

Who is a Refugee?

A dictionary definition is likely to read:

a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.

The 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol relating to the status of refugees reads like this

owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country;

or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.

Success

Since 1951 under the provisions of the Refugee Convention somewhere around 50 million people have been resettled and establish new lives in different countries. The is no doubt a great success in many ways and we should acknowledge and celebrate that reality.

Sadly also we acknowledge that there are around the same number who are yet to be resettled.

Economic Refugees?

The world today is very different. The gap between the the poor and the rich is extenuated, and the gap between poor and rich nations is also widening. There is a growing call to recognise poverty as another oppressor and the recognise those who flee poverty to improve their economic circumstances as refugees as well. Formally making such a change happen in the accepted documents of the UN is likely to be a very long way away. 

Justice and Speed

Australians have been dealing with refugees from various areas arriving by boat and recognising that this proves challenging to assess the status of  those who claim asylum who have not yet been assessed by the UN as refugees. There is no doubt that delay in processing is bad for everyone, expensive politically and financially, and in some sense confirms the maxim that justice delayed is justice denied.

Deuteronomy 26:4-9

When the priest takes the basket from your hand and sets it down before the altar of the Lord your God, you shall make this response before the Lord your God: A wandering Aramean was my ancestor; he went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien, few in number, and there he became a great nation, mighty and populous. When the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, by imposing hard labour on us, we cried to the Lord, the God of our ancestors; the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with a terrifying display of power, and with signs and wonders; and he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.

We are all on a journey

The passage from Deuteronomy reminds us that we are all the people the people of the journey. Time stands still for no person. One way or another life is a tapestry of summer and winter, abundance and need, and none of us has the right to have it all one way. We are also here to help others on their journey. 

In the comic movie 'Oh God' where George Burns play God and John Denver was chosen to deliver the message, on being told the message 'you can make it', John Denver replied 'But we need help', and God says 'That is why I gave you each other'.

One Thing we Lose

There is no doubt that there has been a rise in the impact of violence in the west, and reported in the media, where that violence has something of an apparently religious motivation, and clearly as reported often Islamic. The clearly have been times in history (and some quite recent) where such violence has been perpetrated under a Christian banner as well. One of things we tend to lose in times like these is the ability to recognise brother and sisters in humanity when we mask it with the name of enemy.

God as Creator

Pierre de Chardin reminds us that God is the Alpha Point of all existence and remains also the Omega Point of all that is. The planet is our temporary home, and whilst here we all must find home upon it, and make room for all that all may find home upon it to. 

For many of us there was a time when we, our parents or forbears, had no place to be at home, even if they had a place to call home. We are always at home in God, but still we need a temporal home, and we would wish that for all our sisters and brothers in humanity regardless.

Our Father

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins as we forgive
those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen.

The Syrian Refugees

Like all Refugees, the Syrian Refugees in Europe, each has a name. Each has a story. Each has immeasurable wealth in the sight of God. At the moment we must conclude that we may need better answers, maybe even better questions, and maybe it can work, because God has given us each other.

It is a little older now, however this statement from a meeting of Orthodox Patriarchs is worth reading and calls to mind some of how we should address some of the problems that beset the Church today. Much of this is fairly timeless and certainly still apposite, if not more so. 

Phanar, March 6-9, 2014

Message of the Primates of the Orthodox Churches
(Phanar, March 6-9, 2014)

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Through the grace of God, the Primates of the Most Holy Autocephalous Orthodox Churches, to the Orthodox faithful throughout the world, all of our Christian brothers and sisters as well as every person of goodwill: we extend God’s blessing and our greeting of love and peace.

“We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith, labor of love, and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thess. 1.2-3)

  1. Having convened by the grace of our compassionate God, at the invitation of the Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, at the Phanar, from March 6-9, 2014; having deliberated in fraternal love on matters concerning our Holy Church today; and concelebrating in the Patriarchal Church of St. George on the glorious occasion of the Sunday of Orthodoxy, we address you with these words of love, peace and consolation.

    Inasmuch as our One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Orthodox Church dwells in the world, it also experiences the challenges of every age. Faithful to Holy Tradition, the Church of Christ is in constant dialogue with every period of time, suffering with human beings and sharing their anguish. For “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and to the ages” (Heb. 13.8).

    The trials and challenges of history are especially acute in our days, and Orthodox Christians cannot remain uninvolved or indifferent to them. This is why we have assembled “together in one place” (Acts 2.1) in order to reflect on the problems and temptations facing humanity today. “There is fighting without and fear within.” (2 Cor. 7.5) These Apostolic words are also valid for the Church today.
     

  2. In reflecting upon people’s suffering throughout the world, we express our support for the martyrdom and our admiration for the witness of Christians in the Middle East, Africa, and other parts of the world. We call to mind their dual martyrdom: for their faith as well as for the safeguarding of their historical relationship with people of other religious conviction. We denounce the lack of peace and stability, which is prompting Christians to abandon the land where our Lord Jesus Christ was born and whence the Good News spread to the entire world.

    Our sympathy extends to all victims of the tragedy in Syria. We condemn every form of terrorism and defamation of religion. The kidnapping of Metropolitans Paul and Youhanna, other clergymen as well as the nuns of St. Thecla Convent in Maaloula remains an open wound, and we demand their immediate liberation.

    We appeal to all involved for the immediate cessation of military action, liberation of captives, and establishment of peace in the region through dialogue. Christians in the Middle East are a leaven of peace. Peace for all people also means peace for Christians. We support the Patriarchate of Antioch in its spiritual and humanitarian ministry, as well as its efforts for reconstruction and the resettlement of all refugees.
     

  3. We fervently pray for peaceful negotiation and prayerful reconciliation in the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. We denounce the threats of violent occupation of sacred monasteries and churches, and pray for the return of our brothers presently outside of ecclesiastical communion into the Holy Church.
     
  4. A fundamental threat to justice and peace – both locally and globally – is the global economic crisis. The ramifications of this are evident on all layers in society, where such values as personal integrity, fraternal solidarity and justice are often wanting. The origins of this crisis are not merely financial. They are moral and spiritual in character. Instead of conforming to the worldly idols of power, greed and hedonism, we emphasize our vocation to transform the world by embracing the principles of justice, peace, and love.

    As a result of self-centeredness and abuse of power, many people undermine the sacredness of the human person, neglecting to see the face of God in the least of our brothers and sisters (cf. Matt. 25.40,45). Many remain indifferent to the poverty, suffering and violence that plague humanity.
     

  5. The Church is called to articulate its prophetic word. We express our genuine concern about local and global trends that undermine and erode the principles of faith, the dignity of the human person, the institution of marriage, and the gift of creation.

    We stress the undisputed sanctity of human life from inception until natural death. We recognize marriage as the union of man and woman that reflects the union between Christ and His Church. Our vocation is to preserve the natural environment as stewards and not proprietors of creation. In this period of Great Lent, we exhort our clergy and laity to observe a spirit of repentance, to experience purity of heart, humility and forgiveness, bearing witness to the timeless teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ in society.
     

  6. This Synaxis of Primates is a blessed occasion for us to reinforce our unity through communion and cooperation. We affirm our commitment to the paramount importance of synodality for the unity of the Church. We affirm the words of St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, that “the name of the Church signifies unity and concord, not division.” Our heart is set on the long-awaited Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church in order to witness to its unity as well as to its responsibility and care for the contemporary world.

    The Synaxis agreed that the preparatory work to the Synod should be intensified. A special Inter-Orthodox Committee will work from September 2014 until Holy Easter of 2015, followed by a Pre-Synodal Pan-Orthodox Conference to be convened in the first half of 2015. All decisions at the Synod and in the preparatory stages are made by consensus. The Holy and Great Synod of the Orthodox Church will be convened by the Ecumenical Patriarch in Constantinople in 2016, unless something unexpected occurs. The Synod will be presided by the Ecumenical Patriarch. His brother Primates of the other Orthodox Autocephalous Churches will be seated at his right and at his left.
     

  7. Inseparably interconnected with unity is mission. The Church does not live for itself but is obliged to witness to and share God’s gifts with those near and afar. Participating in the Divine Eucharist and praying for the oikoumene, we are called to continue this liturgy after the liturgy, sharing the gifts of truth and love with all humankind, in accordance with the Lord’s last commandment and assurance: “Go ye, and make disciples of all nations . . . And lo, I shall be with you until the end of the ages” (Matt. 28.19-20).
     
  8. We live in a world where multiculturalism and pluralism are inevitable realities, which are constantly changing. We are conscious of the fact that no issue in our time can be considered or resolved without reference to the global, that any polarization between the local and the ecumenical only leads to distortion of the Orthodox way of thinking.

    Therefore, even in the face of voices of dissension, segregation, and division, we are determined to proclaim the message of Orthodoxy. We acknowledge that dialogue is always better than conflict. Withdrawal and isolationism are never options. We reaffirm our obligation at all times to be open in our contact with “the other”: with other people and other cultures, as well as with other Christians and people of other faiths.
     

  9. Above and beyond all challenges, we proclaim the good news of a God, who “so loved the world” that He “dwelt among us.” Thus, we Orthodox remain full of hope. Despite all tensions, we nevertheless dare to hope in the “almighty God, who is and who was and who is to come” (Rev. 1.8) For we remember that the last word – the word of joy, love, and life – belongs to Him, to whom is due all glory, honor and worship to the ages of ages. Amen.
     
    At the Phanar, the 9th of March, 2014

+ Bartholomew of Constantinople

+ Theodoros of Alexandria
+ Theophilos of Jerusalem
+ Kirill of Moscow
+ Irinej of Serbia
+ Daniel of Romania
+ Neophyte of Bulgaria
+ Ilia of Georgia
+ Chrysostomos of Cyprus
+ Ieronymos of Athens
+ Sawa of Warsaw
+ Anastasios of Tirana

Winter - Refugees in Europe

19 October 2015

Representatives of the World Council of Churches (WCC) visited Greece from 14 to 18 October to strengthen efforts in support of refugees in Europe and the Middle East.

Although windy autumn weather has affected sea crossings from Turkey over the past few weeks, refugee and migrant arrivals in Greece continue to climb. Greece remains by far the largest single entry point for new arrivals in the Mediterranean.

The total number of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean this year now stands close to the 530,000 mark. In September, 168,000 people crossed the Mediterranean, the highest monthly figure ever recorded and almost five times the number in September 2014.

In a visit on Friday to a refugee camp in Idomeni near Polykastron Idomeni at the border of Greece with Serbia, the delegation joined with Metropolitan Dimitrios of Gomenissa to listen to the experiences and expectations of the people there.

The head of the WCC delegation, general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, stated, “It was good to see how the residents and volunteers there met people, affirming their human dignity in such a situation. I was even more struck by how the refugees keep their human qualities of care, dignity, and hope. This is a lesson for us all, including the churches in Europe.”

He added: “This is a critical moment for the churches and their societies. I see a strong witness of Christians in Greece. We are proud to see how churches have responded with love and solidarity. We must continue to be faithful to our mission and values. Let’s stay together, as one fellowship.“

The WCC solidarity visit was hosted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Church of Greece. The delegation also included H.E. Metropolitan Prof. Dr Gennadios of Sassima, vice moderator of the WCC central committee; and Marianne Ejdersten, director of WCC Communication. Prof. Dr Dimitra Koukoura, member of the WCC central committee, joined the delegation in Thessaloniki.

In Greece, the delegates met Archbishop Hieronymos of Athens and All Greece and Metropolitan Gabriel of Nea Ionia.

The Church of Greece was represented in discussions by Metropolitan Klimis of Methana
Chief Secretary of the Holy Synod, Metropolitan Athinagoras of Ilion, Acharnon and Petroupoli, President of the Integration Centre for Migrant Workers – Ecumenical Refugee Program, Archim. Chrysostom Simeonides, director the Integration Centre for Migrant Workers – Ecumenical Refugee Program, Archim.Ignatius Soteriades, secretary of the Synodal Commission on Inter-Orthodox and inter-Christian Relations; Archim. Maximos Pafilis of the Synodical Committee on Inter-Orthodox and inter-Christian Relations; and Mrs. Evelina Douris, Secretary for Refugees, Ecumenical Refugee Programme The delegation also met the leadership of Apostoli Mission and the UNHCR representative in Greece, Alessandra Morelli, senior operations coordinator.

On Thursday morning, the delegation met Church of Greece representatives, and they had the opportunity to exchange views and find ways of further cooperation between the WCC and the Church of Greece.

At the meeting extensive reports detailed the difficulties that the country is facing due to the refugee situation in Europe and the humanitarian crisis caused by the massive population movements, mainly from the regions of Syria and through Turkey and Greece to the rest of Europe.

Metropolitan Klimis of Methana referred to the work done by the Ecumenical Refugee Program in Greece in collaboration with local churches and many volunteers. Archimandrite Chrysostomos Simeonides mentioned the specific and individual actions of the Centre and the partnerships it has developed with the UNHCR, the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Health and other agencies in Greece and abroad.

Archimandrite Ignatius Soteriades spoke about the activity of the Committee on Inter-Orthodox and inter-Christian relations, while Mrs. Evelina Douris stressed the need to find immediate safe passage for migrants to Europe, so that they are not further exploited by traffickers, and the need for rapid provision for immigration documents.

In the afternoon of the same day, the delegation visited Archbishop Hieronymus. At the meeting, also attended by Metropolitan Gabriel of Nea Ionia, participants discussed the political dimension of the migration, the positions of primates of the churches in Europe and humanitarian impacts from further worsening the problem.

Archbishop Hieronymos, expressing his gratitude to the WCC for its visit to Greece, underlined the need for an international solution to help the refugees and respect the international laws. Having returned that same day from one of his weekly visits to the affected areas in the country, the archbishop said, “This is only the beginning. We do not know what is waiting the next months. The winter is coming soon, and it will be a very critical situation for the refugees.”

UNHCR representative Alessandra Morelli stressed, “The pace and scale of the movement into Greece continue to put enormous pressure on the government and many communities. While authorities have worked to improve reception and registration facilities and operations in the islands, bottlenecks still occur.”

UNHCR is concerned that the lack of reception capacity in Greece could seriously jeopardize the relocation programme agreed upon by the European Council, as eligible refugees have nowhere to stay while awaiting relocation. If this is not immediately addressed, secondary movements to neighboring countries are likely to continue.

Morelli said also “Our efforts are focused on supporting and working with local authorities, NGOs, churches and the central government to improve the response; supporting the registration process; providing information to refugees; identifying and referring people with specific needs; and providing support to help improve reception conditions. UNHCR is also delivering basic humanitarian assistance.”

Apostoli in Greece http://lists.wcc-coe.org/ct.html?ufl=c&rtr=on&s=jazjt,1h477,usx,41v6,m09a,i60p,kjba
IOCC in Greece  http://lists.wcc-coe.org/ct.html?ufl=c&rtr=on&s=jazjt,1h477,usx,m1xp,ftqc,i60p,kjba
ACT Alliance in Greece http://lists.wcc-coe.org/ct.html?ufl=c&rtr=on&s=jazjt,1h477,usx,bjuj,glc3,i60p,kjba

Local press release (In Greek)  http://lists.wcc-coe.org/ct.html?ufl=c&rtr=on&s=jazjt,1h477,usx,8t6c,dfrm,i60p,kjba
The Church of Greece report on the Solidarity Visit (In Greek) http://lists.wcc-coe.org/ct.html?ufl=c&rtr=on&s=jazjt,1h477,usx,4jbp,fmy,i60p,kjba

Statement on refugees, ExCom June 2015 http://lists.wcc-coe.org/ct.html?ufl=c&rtr=on&s=jazjt,1h477,usx,35qv,ezdw,i60p,kjba

Safe passage, ccme
http://lists.wcc-coe.org/ct.html?ufl=c&rtr=on&s=jazjt,1h477,usx,hq41,8mb4,i60p,kjba

***
The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 345 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 550 million Christians in over 120 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, from the [Lutheran] Church of Norway.

There is no doubt that the Syrian Refugee Crisis is enormous. With something like 54 million Refugees we can really deal with another 4 million. One of the key differences here is that they have reasonable access to Europe from Syria, so they have become a group who impact of the life of Europe. The sad thing about giving priority to Syrian Refugees is that it draws attention away from the other refugees, many of whom are in Africa and the Middle East. The video posted here explains some of the background in a fairly balanced way.

There is no doubt this is a very complex issue, which calls for hard heads and tender hearts. 

The European Refugee Crisis and Syria Explained

SocialJusticeTrainingDay

Social Justice Training Day

Faith in Action

Saturday 26 September 2015
9.30 am to 12.30 pm

Jesmond Park Uniting Church
15 Robert St, Jesmond

Cafe Conversations:
Indigenous Matters
Refugees/Asylum Seekers
Environment Issues
Other Issues
Morning Tea Provided
No RSVP required

An Activity of the Newcastle and Hunter Ecumenical Social Justice Network 
Enquiries to: justice@hunter.uca.org.au, 0437 879 442 or Teresa Brierley 49791157

ALightInTheDarkBy now, you’ve probably seen the heartbreaking photo of Aylan Kurdi, a young Syrian boy found drowned on a beach in Turkey. His family’s search for safety in Europe ended in tragedy, and the image has brought the world to its knees. Yet all that Tony Abbott’s had to say – all he ever seems to say – is: “stop the boats.”1

It was a response as disgusting as it was predictable – but for once, Tony Abbott seems to be out of step with his own party. Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce, Liberal MP Craig Laundy and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop have all spoken publicly about the need for Australia to ‘play its part’ in the worst refugee crisis since World War II.2,3,4

It looks like it might be possible to push the Abbott Government into doing the right thing and commit to increasing our intake of refugees. So GetUp members are organising to make it happen.

Hosting a vigil is easy. You can choose to invite as few or as many people as you’d like, and you can bring them together in your lounge room, at the pub or in a local park. All you have to do is light a candle and spend some time reflecting on what is happening to people seeking asylum around the world, and how Australia should be responding. It doesn’t need to be a formal event, just people coming together in a show of compassion. You or someone else might like to say a few words.

Don’t forget to take some photos to capture the event, and post them to social media using the #lightthedark hashtag.

Can you bring the message to your town, Dr Niko? Click here to find out more about hosting a vigil: www.getup.org.au/aust-welcomes-refugees

Aylan’s brother was named Galip, and his mother was called Rehan – their lives also ended in the waves. When Aylan’s father spoke publicly for the first time of his loss, this is what he said:

“We want the world’s attention on us, so that they can prevent the same from happening to others. Let this be the last.”5

All around the world, people have rallied around his call and governments are responding. Overnight in the UK, public pressure forced Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron to give into demands that Britain take in more Syrian refugees.6

But Australia was in the headlines for another reason. The New York Times took on Tony Abbott, decrying his refugee policies as “inhumane, of dubious legality and strikingly at odds with the country’s tradition of welcoming people fleeing persecution and war.”7 We agree, and we are demanding change.

So on Monday night, we will light a candle. We will shine a light in the dark to remember Aylan Kurdi. We will stand in solidarity with people across the world who are forced to flee across borders to safety, and in protest of Australia’s abandonment of the world’s most vulnerable.

On Monday night, we will say with one voice: refugees are welcome here. www.getup.org.au/aust-welcomes-refugees

In hope,

Aurora and Sally for the GetUp team

PS: All across Australia, GetUp members will be lighting the dark for Aylan with the help of our amazing friends at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Love Makes A Way, Chilout, the Refugee Council of Australia, Save the Children and Welcome to Australia. Click here to be a part of it: www.getup.org.au/aust-welcomes-refugees

PPS: Don’t want to host a vigil, but still want to get involved? Chip in to help us run the major city vigils here – we’re expecting thousands, and we need to cover the cost of candles, PA systems, and printing. Click here to help fund Light The Dark.


References:
[1] ‘Tony Abbott defends asylum seeker policies amid European crisis, New York Times criticism’, ABC News, 4 September 2015
[2] ‘Barnaby Joyce calls for more Syrian refugees to be resettled in Australia’, Guardian Australia, 4 September 2015
[3] ‘Liberal MP’s impassioned plea for refugees’, Sydney Morning Herald, 5 September 2015
[4] ‘Govt faces pressure on Syria refugee help’, SBS News, 4 September 2015
[5] ‘European migrant crisis: ‘Let this be the last’: Father of drowned Syrian toddlers calls for action, prepares to take bodies home’, ABC News, 4 September 2015
[6] ‘Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 200,000 back our campaign’, The Independent, 3 September 2015
[7] ‘Australia’s Brutal Treatment of Migrants’, New York Times, 3 September 2015

Re CLOSURE of BELMONT OFFICE of the RMS (previously the Motor Registry or the RTA, as we knew it).

Robin Gordon writing to you as a matter of urgency for our Belmont Community.

I am the President of the Belmont & District Residents’ Action Group Inc. (We are a modern name for what could be called a Progress Association)

We are quickly circulating, to as many groups as possible, this notice, below,  of the meeting we have called as a matter of urgency to attempt to have the NSW Government reverse their decision to close our Roads & Maritime Services office (RMS) in Belmont. (our R.T.A or Motor Registry Office, as we have known it.)

Would you please circulate this notice of meeting to all you are able to tell. We need to have huge support from our entire community to show we do NOT wish this office to close and it is only with numbers, huge numbers that we could stand a chance that we may be heard.

With this message, you have my email address.

My phone number, should you wish to speak to me is  :49 454 382

Looking forward to seeing you on Monday 7th September 2015 at 5.45pm at  the 16Ft. Sailing Club.

Further message and  Notice of Public Meeting, below…and below!!!

 

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Meeting to protest the  closure of Belmont RMS.

Hello Residents of Belmont and surrounding areas – everyone  from north south east and west of the RMS office who use and need this facility.

Below is a notice about the  meeting we hope will reach all the residents of Belmont and the surrounding suburbs who use the Belmont RMS office.

This is an extremely well used and very busy office. The services provided in this office are far more than we are able to access online.

There are many in the districts that are served by this office  who do NOT have the use of a computer and rely on our Belmont office to service their needs for essential services.

For these services  to be relocated  at Warners Bay from the areas presently served by the Belmont office is  a transport nightmare if not, close to impossible to be reached by public transport.

May I ask please that you attend this meeting & help us to publicise it, far and wide.

Thank you in anticipation.

Robin Gordon

President.    Belmont & District Residents’ Action Group

—————————————————————————————————————————————————-

PUBLIC MEETING at BELMONT

The Belmont & District Residents’ Action Group Inc. (B&DRAG)

Invites all residents of Belmont and surrounding suburbs to join us to discuss and protest against the closure, by the NSW State Government,  of the ROADS AND  MARITIME  SERVICE  office (Motor Registry Office)  at Belmont.

Meeting will be held on Monday 7th September  2015 commencing at 5.45pm.

at the Belmont 16 Ft. Sailing Club, Ross St. Belmont. NSW.

SocialJusticeTrainingDayFaith in Action

Saturday 26 September 2015
9.30am to 12.30pm

Jesmond Park Uniting Church
15 Robert St, Jesmond

Cafe Conversations:

Indigenous Matters
Refugees/Asylum Seekers
Environment Issues
Other Issues

Morning Tea Provided

No RSVP required

An Activity of the Newcastle and Hunter Ecumenical Social Justice Network

Enquiries to: justice@hunter.uca.org.au, 0437 879 442 or Teresa Brierley 49791157

PopeFrancis_ARCICAuthor: George Conger

Christian unity does not mean Christian conformity, Pope Francis told a gathering of 50,000 Catholic Charismatics held at St Peter’s Square on 3 July 2015.  The Pope stated the Anglican Martyrs of Uganda — 23 young Anglicans killed by King Mwanga of Buganda in 1886, along with 22 Roman Catholic young men — should be venerated as Catholic martyrs to the faith too. The pope’s remarks came at the close of the 38th National Convocation of the Renewal in the Holy Spirit Movement held in Rome from 3-4 July 2015. In his impromptu address to the conference, which included “Orthodox and Catholic oriental Patriarchs, Anglican and Lutheran bishops, and Pentecostal pastors,” reported Vatican Radio, Pope Francis said unity does not mean uniformity. It is not a “spherical” unity in which “every point is equidistant from the centre and there is no difference between one point and another. The model is the polyhedron, which reflects the confluence of all the parts that nonetheless maintain their originality, and these are the charisms, in unity but also diversity,” he said. Francis also spoke of the “unity of the blood of martyrs, that makes us one. There is the ecumenism of blood. We know that those who kill Christians in hatred of Jesus Christ, before killing, do not ask: ‘But are you a Lutheran, Orthodox, Evangelical, Baptist, Methodist?’ They say, ‘You are Christian’, and behead them. … Fifty years ago, Blessed Paul VI, during the canonisation of the young martyrs of Uganda, referred to the fact that for the same reason the blood of their Anglican companion catechists had been shed. They were Christians, they were martyrs. Forgive me, and do not be scandalised, but they are our martyrs! Because they gave their lives for Christ, and this is ecumenism of blood. We must pray in memory of our common martyrs.”

PopeFrancisThe Encyclical may be downloaded here.  Laudate-Si

Pope Francis’ second encyclical “Laudato Si”  Praise be to you is on ecology, the environment, creation, and much, much more!

Whilst the conventional media hype will be all over the clime change aspects, and his reflection that we are treating the planet like a rubbish tip. There is indeed a great deal more covered in the encyclical. You can read the whole text on the link above, and here are a few points covered in the encyclical that may not be covered in the secular media.

Relativism

In the absence of objective truths or sound principles other than the satisfaction of our own desires and immediate needs, what limits can be placed on human trafficking, organized crime, the drug trade, commerce in blood diamonds and the fur of endangered species? Is it not the same relativistic logic which justifies buying the organs of the poor for resale or use in experimentation, or eliminating children because they are not what their parents wanted?” (123)

Consumerism

Many people know that our current progress and the mere amassing of things and pleasures are not enough to give meaning and joy to the human heart, yet they feel unable to give up what the market sets before them. In those countries which should be making the greatest changes in consumer habits, young people have a new ecological sensitivity and a generous spirit, and some of them are making admirable efforts to protect the environment. At the same time, they have grown up in a milieu of extreme consumerism and affluence which makes it difficult to develop other habits.” (209)

Gadgets

Since the market tends to promote extreme consumerism in an effort to sell its products, people can easily get caught up in a whirlwind of needless buying and spending. Compulsive consumerism is one example of how the techno-economic paradigm affects individuals. Romano Guardini had already foreseen this: “The gadgets and technics forced upon him by the patterns of machine production and of abstract planning mass man accepts quite simply; they are the forms of life itself. To either a greater or lesser degree mass man is convinced that his conformity is both reasonable and just”. This paradigm leads people to believe that they are free as long as they have the supposed freedom to consume. But those really free are the minority who wield economic and financial power. Amid this confusion, postmodern humanity has not yet achieved a new self-awareness capable of offering guidance and direction, and this lack of identity is a source of anxiety. We have too many means and only a few insubstantial ends. (203)

Scientism

…many problems of today’s world stem from the tendency, at times unconscious, to make the method and aims of science and technology an epistemological paradigm which shapes the lives of individuals and the workings of society. The effects of imposing this model on reality as a whole, human and social, are seen in the deterioration of the environment, but this is just one sign of a reductionism which affects every aspect of human and social life.” (107)

Family

Underlying the principle of the common good is respect for the human person as such, endowed with basic and inalienable rights ordered to his or her integral development. It has also to do with the overall welfare of society and the development of a variety of intermediate groups, applying the principle of subsidiarity. Outstanding among those groups is the family, as the basic cell of society.” (157)

Here, though, I would stress the great importance of the family, which is “the place in which life – the gift of God – can be properly welcomed and protected against the many attacks to which it is exposed, and can develop in accordance with what constitutes authentic human growth. In the face of the so-called culture of death, the family is the heart of the culture of life”.[149] In the family we first learn how to show love and respect for life; we are taught the proper use of things, order and cleanliness, respect for the local ecosystem and care for all creatures. In the family we receive an integral education, which enables us to grow harmoniously in personal maturity. In the family we learn to ask without demanding, to say “thank you” as an expression of genuine gratitude for what we have been given, to control our aggressivity and greed, and to ask forgiveness when we have caused harm. These simple gestures of heartfelt courtesy help to create a culture of shared life and respect for our surroundings. (213)

Throwing Food Away

Besides, we know that approximately a third of all food produced is discarded, and “whenever food is thrown out it is as if it were stolen from the table of the poor”. (50)

Population

Yet “while it is true that an unequal distribution of the population and of available resources creates obstacles to development and a sustainable use of the environment, it must nonetheless be recognized that demographic growth is fully compatible with an integral and shared development”.  To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues. (50)

The Eucharist

It is in the Eucharist that all that has been created finds its greatest exaltation. Grace, which tends to manifest itself tangibly, found unsurpassable expression when God himself became man and gave himself as food for his creatures. The Lord, in the culmination of the mystery of the Incarnation, chose to reach our intimate depths through a fragment of matter. He comes not from above, but from within, he comes that we might find him in this world of ours. In the Eucharist, fullness is already achieved; it is the living centre of the universe, the overflowing core of love and of inexhaustible life. Joined to the incarnate Son, present in the Eucharist, the whole cosmos gives thanks to God. Indeed the Eucharist is itself an act of cosmic love: “Yes, cosmic! Because even when it is celebrated on the humble altar of a country church, the Eucharist is always in some way celebrated on the altar of the world”. The Eucharist joins heaven and earth; it embraces and penetrates all creation. The world which came forth from God’s hands returns to him in blessed and undivided adoration…” (236)

There are a number of things of note in this encyclical and we will no doubt read a reflect on what the Pope says. There is no doubt that he is addressing the whole inhabited earth, and it is very interesting/important that he refers to the Patriarch Bartholomew and builds on some of what the Patriarch has said. This seems to be a beautiful reaching out across 1000 years of schism.

Laudate Si

ClimateChangeHoly God,
earth and air and water are your creation,
and every living thing belongs to you:
have mercy on us as climate change confronts us.

Give us the will and the courage to simplify the way we live,
to reduce the energy we use,
to share the resources you provide,
and to bear the cost of change.

Forgive our past mistakes and send us your Spirit,
with wisdom in present controversies
and vision for the future to which you call us
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

© Anglican Church of Australia Trust Corporation. Used by permission. This text may be reproduced for use in worship in the Anglican Church of Australia

The Next Ten Years

The Video here produced by the Post Carbon Institute is a quick overview of human development and asks us to think about the future we want to create.

As Christians we celebrate the many gifts we have from God in this Blue Planet, and recognise as part of a Christian stewardship we honour the giver when the treasure the gift. In the Anglican Communion the fifth mark of mission we acknowledge and celebrate is:

To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth

 

We began with an Interfaith Prayer for Peace

O God, you are the source of life and peace. Praised be you name forever. We know it is you who turns our thoughts to peace. Hear our prayer in this time of crisis. Your power changes hearts.

Muslims, Christians, and Jews remember, and profoundly affirm that they are followers of the one God, Children of Abraham, brothers and sisters; enemies begin to speak to one another; those who were estranged join hands in friendship; nations seek to way of peace together.

Strengthen our resolve to give witness to these truths by the way we live. Give to us: Understanding that puts an end to strife; mercy that quenches hatred, and Forgiveness that overcomes vengeance. Empower all people to live in your law of love. Amen.

This was followed by an incantation of some verses from the Glorious Quran in Arabic.

About 120 people met together at St Pius X in the Factory for this gathering. There was a good representation from all three traditions of faith represented – Roman Catholic, Anglican and Islam. There were 5 people from All Saints in the gathering. The question that were addressed were for the most part pre-lodged so the respondents had had time to reflect upon their answers. They covered areas from who are God’s people, the place of Abraham (peace be upon him) in our traditions, matters of respect and some thought as to how to approach the question of radical fundamentalism.

It very quickly became apparent how important Augustine’s ‘City of God’ is in the construct of Christian thinking, and both Bishop Bill Wright and Farook Ahmed made quite a bit of the writing. It also became clear that much of the perceived notions of the Catholic Church had been reshaped to a significant extent on the basis of Vatican II. Sheik Mohamed Khamis read quite a bit to us in his responses quoting the Quran from his iPad. Bishop Greg reflected on the sign he had seen driving to the venue urging cyclist and pedestrians to be mindful of each other on the path, and also nearly quoted Fr Mel’s Sunday Sermon is discussing Andre Rublev’s icon of the Old Testament prefiguring of the Trinity with the Angelic visitation to Abraham.

ShareThePath

Some of the things that came out in speaking was the common thirst for Truth and Goodness, a strong understanding of the Mercy of God. Ideas of belief in God, belief in a Day of Judgement and the importance of right action where all underlined. Hospitality as a spiritual discipline seemed to become a repeated theme in the discussion. The task of religion is to help us align our will to be one with the will of God.

The evening was marked with a great deal of respect.

_  _  _  _  _  _

I preparing for the evening I found the in the 1st pastoral letter of his Beatitude John X the Patriarch of Antioch whose region and responsibility includes much of the Levant, and in that setting his words stand in stark relief to violence of which we read so often.

We should stress here the fact that our Muslim brothers, our co-citizens, have a special place in our heart and mind. Our relations with them go beyond the mere living together in peace. With them we share all the concerns which face the development of our countries, and the peace of our people. With them we build the common future of our children, with them we face all dangers. We shall work on rejecting every negative spirit that could negate our presence on this land of ours or could limit our role in serving our country. We will work faithfully to get rid of ignorance through strengthening the ways of dialogue and communion, asking God to shed on us His grace in the spirit of togetherness for the best of the people in this region of the world.

Source: First Pastoral Letter from Patriarch John X of Antioch

RohingyaAt this stage, around 7,000 Rohingya asylum seekers are still stranded on the same boats they have been on for over two weeks, with countries in the area continuing to refuse to accommodate them.

As you probably are aware, our own government is also still refusing to help.2 It is a devastating situation for those of us who believe that all people are created in the image of God.

The reality is that, as Christians, we know a Saviour whose response is one of inclusion and acceptance. Who says ‘Yes, yes, yes’ to the ‘whosoever’ that would come, and extends unconditional love to all. Yet we can find our earthly leaders’ response is the opposite, as rigid policies and political slogans take precedence over compassion and common sense.

Yet even in these times, we can hold on to the hope we have in Jesus, and bring our concerns to him in prayer.

Let’s all join together this weekend and pray specifically that:

  • The Rohingyas are helped off the boats and given shelter.
  • A search and rescue operation is launched to find other boats from Myanmar.
  • Governments work together to end the persecution of the Rohingyas.
  • Governments provide a clear ‘front door’ for refugees to seek asylum in our region so that they aren’t forced to come on boats.
  • Australia takes a lead in the region by giving the Rohingyas and other refugees a permanent home.
  • The people of Australia will be generous and offer welcome to those in need.

At the moment there seems little hope, yet we believe in a God who raises the dead and for whom nothing is impossible. Together, let’s believe God will work miraculously to bring a solution to this crisis.

 

IslamChristianityAn opportunity is coming to join together with our Muslim and Christian communities to explore the common good that each of our religions share.

Bishop Bill Wright [Catholic], Bishop Greg Thompson [Anglican],

Sheikh Mohamed Kharmis  [Iman: Newcastle Mosque] and Farooq Ahmed [Newcastle Muslim Association]

will form a Q and A dialogue at this event.

When:             6:00pm, Tues 2 June 15

Where:           St Pius X High School Adamstown

RSVP:             Brooke Robinson  4979 1111.

TheHoleInTheBoatThere is no doubt that we are assaulted in our living rooms day after day with news of carnage from all the corners of the planet. Of late of course much of this has come from the various conflicts in Syria, Iraq, The Levant in General and also Kenya, Egypt, and Libya.

Much of the horror of which we read focusses on Islamic State, Boko Haram and Al Qaeda. The people undertaking these attacks and brutalities understand that they are waging a holy war or in their terms jihad. As 21st Century Western Christians we have long since concluded that there is nothing holy about any war.

Our understanding of God, as a God of Love, a God of forgiveness, a God of Peace, Life, and Wholeness. Muslims in our own communities stand and tell us that this is not Islam, for Islam is for Peace. As a community we have stood determined not to allow a sense of Islamaphobia take hold and divide our community.

One of our inherent problems is that we know little about Islam. We have some information provided by a media interested in selling advertising and offering news takes that are often too short to me helpful, one sided to be informative, and opinions introduced as fact.

We are living in the largely secular west where the media are largely secular and have very little comprehension of what any faith is about. We all suffer the insults of commentators whose view is so secular the best description they have of faith is ‘talking to your imaginary friend’. Jews, Christians and Muslims are all offended by this kind of remark, and perhaps some part of that is our failing to communicate, and part of it may be a fundamentalist atheism which is being presented by some as science.

Another of our problems is as Western Christians that we do not always take seriously that we share this one body-in-Christ with Eastern Christians of various of the Orthodox Churches. The quiet of the western church as so many eastern Christians are slaughtered because of their faith is to be lamented. Our divisions are chronic and to our detriment, and though fabulous work has been done to repair this, with the Moscow Agreement and more recently the Cyprus Statement, most of our lay people have not even heard of these documents.

It is easy to feel that the matter is beyond us, over there, and not our problem. Some see the optimal solution to raise a fence around the Arabian Peninsular, let no-one in our out and let them get on with it. These kinds of solutions are trivial and are never going to work.

It is likely that we will never respond appropriately to the challenge posed by Islamic State Al Qaeda and Boko Haram if we do not understand what they are on about. Dismissing religious motivation when it seems that they claim a religious imperative seems destined to fail. We must at least evaluate the claim to understand the issues.

Christians are called to have hard heads and tender hearts. We need to understand our own faith more solidly. We need to find better expressions of unity across the Christian Churches – and especially Eastern Christians. And we need to do a little work on understanding Islam a little. We need to pray:

Pray strength and protection for Christians, Jews, and all people being persecuted

Pray that the perpetrators might turn their hearts to peace

Pray that those who hold council in the world might have wisdom and courage

Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord – heaven and earth are full of your glory

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

Bringing Humanity Back is An Initiative by Actor Varun Pruthi to bring Happiness and Difference in the Lives of Underprivileged. They produce a number of videos and have embarked on a social media campaign to make a difference,

 

wedgewood

Josiah Wedgwood (1730-95), was an English potter who founded the Wedgwood company and is credited with the industrialisation of the manufacture of pottery. A prominent abolitionist, Wedgwood is remembered for his “Am I Not a Man And a Brother?” He was a nonconformist, was keenly interested in political and social questions, like his friends Thomas Day, the social reformer, and Erasmus Darwin, inventor and poet, who both wrote in condemnation of the slave trade.

Wedgwood issued this jasperware medallion in 1787. It has an applied relief of a kneeling slave and the inscription ‘Am I not a man and a brother?’ and was modelled after the seal for the Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade founded in that year by Thomas Clarkson. Wedgwood sent medallions to Benjamin Franklin in Pennsylvania in February 1788, and they were an immediate success. Clarkson wrote: ‘some had them inlaid in gold on the lid of their snuff-boxes. Of the ladies, several wore them in bracelets, and others had them fitted up in an ornamental manner as pins for their hair. At length the taste for wearing them became general, and thus fashion…was seen for once in the honourable office of promoting the cause of justice and, humanity and freedom.’ The design was also used in printed form on plates, enamel boxes for patches, as well as on tea caddies and for tokens.

It took from 1786 when Clarkson published his Essay on the Slavery and Commerce of the Human Species until 1807 for a bill in Parliament for the abolition of the slave trade to receive Royal Assent. However, trafficking in slaves continued. The anti-slavery society was founded in 1823, by the efforts of William Wilberforce, but British slaves did not finally gain their freedom until 1838.


 

Whilst this historically interesting, it is also a timely reminder that Christians have since the beginning of the Church worked for social reform, and for better outcomes for all people.

 

dungogOn Friday 24/4 I was one of 7 Newcastle Samaritans Disaster Recovery team who travelled to Dungog.

Our mission was to deliver much-needed supplies , particularly items needed by babies & the elderly. Some items were then dropped by helicopter to isolated towns, others supplied to residents of Dungog.

We were unable to door knock due to the amount of asbestos in the devastated homes.
However our team split up and along with a Red Cross team from Lake Macquarie went to 3 central points in dry parts of town.

We met with those residents in most need. My team partner & I felt most humbled and very emotional when sitting with, listening to & providing advice on available help to the couple who own the first home washed away. They lost everything including 3 much-loved cats and also 3 well-known & loved neighbours. The area where they had lived looked like a bomb had hit there.

Some of our team will be involved at recovery centres next week, particularly Cessnock.

I hope & believe our time there made a little difference to these people and I pray they find solace through the local & external support now beginning to come their way.
May they know God’s love through this  difficult time.

Helen Edwards.

Samaritans

DetentionIsNoPlaceForChildrenMost Australians have concluded we would prefer not to see children in detention. In the midst of a large amount of media spin on the issue, and a lot of turbulent noise seeing this issue as a means of attacking the present government it is sometimes sensible to look at the real facts and recognise what the government has accomplished.

The former Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Scott Morrison,  observed at one point that the best place for children in the main was with their parents – the implication being that if their parents are in immigration detention it is clearly better to keep the family unit  together rather than torn apart.

Currently there are around 85 children (Feb 28) in immigration detention in Australia. This is clearly an improvement on numbers in excess of 2000 that existed a couple of years back, and as a part of the community that has argued for the release of children in detention, we acknowledge and congratulate the Government on what has achieved to date.

That is not to say it is a ‘job done’ and some urgency remains as these last 85 children and more precisely their families have their claims for asylum reviewed.

The next area which will require some further action on the part of the government of the day is the matter of children part of families in detention on Nauru, where there are current 107 children (Feb 28).


In order to hold a level of perspective we recognise that this is the tiniest speck in terms of the global problem of around 52 million Asylum seeks, refugees, and Internally displaced persons. To qualify for refugee status you must have  fled your home for safety, security or fear of persecution. Wanting to live in a more prosperous country with better social security does not make you a refugee (though of late the term economic refugee emerged – yet this does not make you a refugee in any real sense of the word). Equally fleeing from a country where you have committed a crime does not make you a refugee (this area becomes more complex where some jurisdictions have introduced or perpetuate barbaric, unreasonable or seemingly excessive punishments).


serenityWe ask you to continue to pray for the children in immigration detention (and their families) and for clear thinking and tender hearts for those responsible for reviewing and assessing the claims for asylum that are not yet resolved.

We also as a people need to continue to pray for all refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons, and for wiser heads for those who make decisions in the world, that we can address this massive problem.


 

WelcomeRefugees

For those interested in travelling to Sydney.  There is not an equivalent event in Newcastle.The proposed fund raiser for refugees on Manus and Nauru has been shifted to May.  More details to follow.

Welcome refugees
Close Manu and Nauru
Peace, no racism

Rally and march 1pm Sunday 19 April, Belmore Park

 

Speakers include:

Ged Kearney, President ACTU

Dr Sue Wareham, Medical Association for the Prevention of War

Kyol Blakeney, President Sydney Uni SRC

Lydia Shelly, Islamophobia Register

Shokufa Tahiri, Hazara refugee

 

For more info phone Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713 Peter Murphy 0418 312 310, Penny Howard 0402 355 205

  • Endorsed by: Arab Council Australia;
  • Asylum Seekers Centre;
  • Australian Kurdish Association—Sydney;
  • Australian Progressives;
  • Australian Services Union – NSW & ACT;
  • Australian Tamil Congress;
  • Benedictine Abbey, Jamberoo;
  • Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group;
  • Bosco Social Justice Group Engadine;
  • Cana Communities;
  • Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes (NSW);
  • Carmelite JPIC;
  • Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay;
  • Catholics in Coalition for Justice and Peace;
  • ChilOut; Columban Mission Institute;
  • CPA (M-L);
  • Edmund Rice Centre for Justice and Community Education;
  • Evatt foundation;
  • GetUp;
  • Grandmothers Against Detention of Refugee Children;
  • Hazara Youth Perspective Organisation;
  • Independent Education Union;
  • Josephite Justice office;
  • Labor for Refugees (NSW);
  • Marist Asylum-Seeker Refugee Service;
  • Maritime Union of Australia;
  • Mercy Sisters (Parramatta Province);
  • Metropolitan Community Church;
  • Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Justice and Peace Centre;
  • Mums 4 Refugees;
  • National Tertiary Education Union (NSW);
  • National Union of Workers (General branch);
  • NSW Ecumenical Council;
  • NSW Ecumenical Council Council Peace and Justice Commission;
  • NSW Greens;
  • NSW Nurses and Midwives Association;
  • NSW Teachers Federation;
  • Pax Christi Australia (NSW);
  • Presentation Sisters (Wagga);
  • Refugee Action Coalition;
  • Refugee Council of Australia;
  • Search Foundation;
  • Socialist Alliance;
  • Solidarity;
  • Sydney Peace & Justice Coalition;
  • The Grail (NSW/ACT);
  • Unions for Refugees;
  • Unions NSW;
  • Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom;
  • Women and the Australian church

It’s time to RECOGNISE Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia’s Constitution and ensure there's no place for racial discrimination in it. It’s the right thing to do.

Meet the 2015 Candidates

Hear what they have to say.

We will host a pre election public forum in the Church hall at 7.00 pm on Thursday 19th March 2015.

A number of candidates for Swansea will attend. This is YOUR opportunity to hear the policies and ask the questions you need answers to from these political party hopefuls.

Candidates have been invited to address a very generalised agenda. This will be headings under which we wish to hear their responses. Housing & homelessness, environment, health, education (especially SRE) proposed referendum re constitution and maybe transport. 

Ballot Paper

Candidate Name Party
CUBIS Luke Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile)
UIDAM Johanna Liberal
AGLAND Joshua Animal Justice Party
OSBORNE Chris Independant
DOUGHTY Paul No Land Tax
EDWARDS Garry Independent
CATLEY Yasmin Labor
PARSONS Phillipa THE GREENS

NB

A number of the candidates have been late registrations, and as yet photos and details remain unclear. As they are sourced this article will be updated. There is no intended bias in this article, and statements have been obtained from candidates published material or essentially neutral sources. Searching on the net has failed to locate much for three of the candidates. If you are the candidate or know where the information can be sourced, please let us know.

ABC Interviews with five of the candidates can be listened to on this link.   6021_abc-logo-b-

Luke Cubis

Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)

Luke Cubis was an independent candidate for Charlestown at the October 2014 by-election. He described himself as having recently left the education sector having worked as a teacher locally for almost a decade. He hopes for a career in politics and currently works as a Guest Services Officer for Charlestown Square. He states that he has been interested in politics since meeting Prime Minister Bob Hawke as a child at the Sydney Cricket Ground in the 1980's.

Phillipa Parsons

The Greens

As a resident of the Lake Macquarie region for twenty-five years and a former Councillor, I'm committed to protecting the local environment and heritage of the region and advocating for fair and equitable resourcing of our public services.

Garry Edwards

Independent

64 year-old Edwards was a conveyancer and company director before he won this seat at the 2011 election. He had previously been the unsuccessful candidate in this seat at the 2007 election. Edwards served on Lake Macquarie Council 2008-12 and was Deputy Mayor at the time of his election. He was denied Liberal endorsement after the it was stated at the ICAC that he had accepted an illegal developer donation.

Yasmin Catley

Labor

Catley grew up in Summerland Point and now lives in Swansea. She previously worked as a librarian for Lake Macquarie City Council and at the Refugee Review Tribunal. For the past decade she has worked in the offices of Federal Labor MPs Greg Combet and Anthony Albanese. She is married to Robert Coombs, who was defeated as member for Swansea at the 2011 election.

Chris Osborne

Independent

Chris Osborne has lived in the electorate for 20 years, and highly active in the community on environment & development issues through the Pelican-Blacksmiths Progress Association and Landcare Group. In 2003 he was involved in 'Friends of Belmont Airport' lobbied for the re-opening of the airport achieved last year. Osborne was a life member of the ALP and resigned over Labor drifting from its original purpose, including the ICAC revelations on corruption. He ran as the Labor candidate for Warringah at the 1977 federal election. He describes himself as an avid trade unionist for over 40 years and is currently an IT and Industrial Relations Consultant with his own business.

Johanna Uidam

JohannaUdiamLiberal

Johanna Uidam is the Liberal Candidate for Swansea at the March 2015 election. Johanna worked as a nurse at Newcastle Hospital and currently works for her family-owned business. As a member of the Baird Liberal Team, Johanna will work hard to ensure essential services such as health, transport and education are delivered to Swansea.

AGLAND Joshua

JoshuaAglandAnimal Justice Party

The AJP provides a voice for policies and practices that promote respect, kindness, compassion and understanding towards animals and as a result provide an opportunity for better outcomes for society and the environment. We all have our vulnerabilities and it is the quality of our response to these in others that determines the health and worth of our society.

DOUGHTY Paul

NoPhotoNo Land Tax Party

The No Land Tax Campaign has been formed to fight for a fairer deal for property investors in NSW. Over 150,000 people (and their families) paying land tax. Now is the perfect time to put pressure on the NSW state government. We intend to stand candidates to fight for our rights (just like the Shooters Party does for gun owners). It can be done. Land Tax can be abolished.

Thankyou

Thankyou to all the candidates who either attended or submitted statements. We understand that there is a lot to do when an election is coming up, however we trust that there was value for you as much as we can assure you that there was value for us. 

Meeting and hearing candidate speak does give one the assurance of the good heart and will of all those who seek to represent us. 

AWABAKAL LOCAL ABORIGINAL LAND COUNCIL

RallyWHEN: Saturday, 14 March 2015 10AM
WHERE: Grassed Area, 42 Honeysuckle Drive, Newcastle West, followed by March to Foreshore Park
WHY: The NSW government has ceased the public use of the railway corridor, declared the land surplus and has set about privatising this historic traditional Aboriginal land.

The ALALC has commenced proceeding to claim the land under Native Title. The railway corridor Aboriginal artefacts will play an important role in remembering our history. They must not be lost to our descendants. If successful we will do what this NSW government has failed to do and consult with our community before decisions are made about our future.

Speakers Include:

  • Tim Crakanthorp, Newcastle MP
  • Michael Anderson, Aboriginal Rights Activist
  • Richard Green, Deputy Chair ALALC
  • Daniel Wallace, NTHC Secretary
  • Cr Michael Osbourne, Newcastle City Council
  • Sean Gordon, CEO Darkinjung LALC

A campaign to achieve respect, provide recognition and to preserve our lands history for future generations.

Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council
Proudly supporting our communities Authorised by Debbie Dates, Chair ALALC

Download Brochure: March 14 Community Protest Rally Awabakal

The election kit from NetAct a project for Catholic Social Justice can be downloaded here: 2015 Election Kit

As Christians we are actively concerned about the welfare of others, especially those less advantaged, and a range of issues that surround the way we are governed. We like to live as a people whose political stance on any issue is governed by our faith position, and whilst some of us may be members of one Political Party or another, and it is to be hope that where we are our membership can be for good and have good outcomes.

Most of the Parish is in the State Seat of Swansea. At present we are aware of four candidates who have declared their candidacy for the Election on March 28, 2015.

Garry Edwards

The Sitting Member, Garry Edwards (who was elected at the last election as a member of the Liberal Party) in running as an independent. His website has been deactivated by the Liberal Party, suggest you search for him on facebook

Yasmin Catley

The wife of the Former Member for Swansea, Yasmin Catley (husband Robert Coombes) is running for the Labor Party. Website is http://www.yasmincatley.com

Phillipa Parsons

Philippa Parson is contesting the seat as a member of the Greens Party. Website is http://www.lakemacquariegreens.org/phillipaparsons

Luke Cubis

 Luke Cubis is contesting the seat as a member of the Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group). Website is http://www.christiandemocraticparty.com.au

Presently the Liberal Party have not declared a candidate and as nominations close tomorrow it may well be that they will not contest the seat.

Please be faithful in your consideration of the issues that matter for you and for us a Christians, and in you intercession for our State.

ShellMay God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain in to joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done. To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.

Amen.

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  • Paperback book by Megan Davis and George Williams

  • $19 You can but the book here

  • ‘Everything you need to know about the referendum to recognise Indigenous Australians’ by Megan Davis and George Williams.

    This book explains everything that Australians need to know about the proposal to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our Constitution.

    It details how our Constitution was drafted, and shows how Australia’s first peoples came to be excluded from the new political settlement. It explains what the 1967 referendum – in which over 90% of Australians voted to delete discriminatory references to Aboriginal people from the Constitution – achieved and why discriminatory racial references remain.

    With clarity and authority the book shows the symbolic and legal power of such a change and how we might get there. Concise and clear, it is written by two of the best-known experts in the country on matters legal, Indigenous and constitutional. Recognise is essential reading on what should be a watershed occasion for our nation.

AsylumSeekersMeet at The Clocktower, Beaumont St, HAMILTON for a time of silent prayer every Friday during Lent, from 5.30 pm to 6.15 pm, beginning on Friday 20th February 2015.  All are welcome to participate.

Organised by Christians for Peace, Newcastle, with Anglican, Catholic, Quaker and Uniting members

Contacts:

Philip Thirlwell 4963 4334  ~  Doug Hewitt   4969 6336  ~  or doug.isabel35@gmail.com

MutedVoicesThe combined Anglican, Catholic and Uniting Church Social Justice groups of the Hunter have put in a joint submission in response to the latest proposals about Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Our concluding points can be summarised as –

  1. The recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Australian Constitution is important and long overdue.  Through a process of consultation with both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people across the Hunter region of NSW, led by the churches named in this submission and by local Aboriginal organisations, we have concluded that it has strong support from the whole community.  There is a regret that it has taken so long to correct a severe deficiency in the constitutional basis for our nation.
  2. Recognition must be truly comprehensive. Recognition cannot be a minimalist act.
  3. There is apparent universal support among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and across political parties for removing the racist elements of the Constitution. However, if that is all that is done through a referendum, then we are not doing anything to rejuvenate the soul of our nation and cannot call the referendum a Referendum on Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
  4. We believe Constitutional Recognition should be the first step towards a Treaty with the First Peoples of our nation, which would truly recognise and acknowledge Aboriginal and Islander custodianship and sovereignty of this land.  This desire has been strongly stated by most of the Indigenous people with whom we have consulted and is an ambition of many of the members of our churches.

You can find our full submission at –   (Submission number 102)  http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/Constitutional_Recognition_of_Aboriginal_and_Torres_Strait_Islander_Peoples/Constitutional_Recognition/Submissions  or you can email and ask for a copy of the submission to be sent to you.

Understanding Asylum Seekers and why Churches are reaching out with compassion

Saturday 14 February 2015
9.30am to 12.30pm
Jesmond Park Uniting Church
15 Robert St, Jesmond

For all people and churches with an interest in social justice and a Christian response to asylum seeker issues

Speakers

Teresa Brierley – Principles of Social Justice – Vice Chancellor Pastoral Ministries, Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
Justin Whelan – Mission Development Manager at Paddington Uniting Church, One of the Co-initiators of #Love Makes a Way

Morning Tea Provided
No RSVP required

An Activity of the Newcastle and Hunter Ecumenical Social Justice Network
Enquiries to: justice@hunter.uca.org.au, 0437 879 442 or Teresa Brierley 02 4979 1157

 

Asylum Seeker Training Day – 14 Feb 2015.2

Transcript

The destruction of the earth’s environment is the human rights challenge of our time.

Over the 25 years that climate change has been on the world’s agenda Global emissions have risen unchecked while real world impacts have taken hold in earnest.

Time is running out.

We are already experiencing loss of life and livelihood due to intensified storms, shortage of fresh water, spread of disease, rising food prices, and the creation of climate refugees.

The most devastating effects are visited on the poor, those with no involvement in creating the problem. A deep injustice.

Just as we argued in the 1980's that those who conducted business with apartheid South Africa were aiding and abetting an immoral system, today we say nobody should profit from the rising temperatures, seas and human suffering caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

We can no longer continue feeding our addiction to fossil fuels as if there is no tomorrow. For there will be no tomorrow.

 

We are on the cusp of a global transition to a new safe energy economy. We must support our leaders to make the correct, moral choices.

Freeze further exploration for new fossil sources. We cannot maintain a livable temperature and climate for humanity if we burn more than a fraction of the fossil fuels already discovered.

Hold those responsible for climate damages accountable. Change the profit incentive by demanding legal liability for unsustainable environmental practices.

Encourage governments to stop accepting funding from the fossil fuel industry that blocks action on climate change.

Divest from fossil fuels and invest in a clean energy future. Move your money out of the problem and into solutions.

There is a word we use in South Africa that describes human relationships: Ubuntu. It says: I am because you are. My success and my failures are bound up in yours. We are made for each other, part of one family, the human family, with one shared earth.

God bless you.

YouTube

Justin WelbyThis article is an extract from the New Your Times January 23 2015 – omitting the specifically USA based questions. To read the original please follow this link

In the two years since the Most Rev. Justin Welby was installed as archbishop of Canterbury, he has traveled the world to talk with other church leaders, and his assessment of those visits has been, in many ways, grim.

He has declared the Church of England, which he leads, to be declining in numbers and influence, and has deemed the Anglican Communion, where he is viewed as first among equals of bishops around the world, to be so fractured over gender and sexuality that it is not worth trying to meet collectively any time soon.

But he has remained focused on evangelism, and he has emphasized areas where the Anglican Communion of 85 million people is strong, like using its bully pulpit to influence public policy, particularly about economic injustice and peacemaking.

This week, Archbishop Welby is in New York for a conference on inequality at Trinity Wall Street, which, as an Episcopal church, is part of the American province of the Anglican Communion. On Thursday, he spoke with Michael Paulson, a religion reporter for The New York Times. Below are edited excerpts from their conversation.

Q. Why is income inequality a religious issue?

A. It tends to result in the development of overmighty areas within society, and at the same time of people who are excluded and forgotten. Therefore it becomes an issue about the nature of the value of the human being, the dignity of the human being, which is a religious issue. The human being for whom Christ died is of equal value, whoever they are.

Q. Should the church have a preference for the poor over the rich?

A. Liberation theology in Latin America talked about God’s preference to the poor, God’s bias to the poor. There is emphatically in Scripture a tradition, a sense of God’s bias to the poor, and you see that in the origins of the Christian church. And the church around the world is generally poor, including the Anglican Church and the vast majority of its membership.

I think there is such a thing as God’s bias to the poor. It’s not God’s bias against the rich, it’s not a zero-sum game. It’s not that God sort of has only a certain amount of preference he can give, and if he doesn’t give it to the rich he has to give it to the poor; and if he gives it to the poor, he can’t love the rich.

We see within the life and ministry of Jesus a challenge to the rich to love the poor as God loves the poor: in the same way, with the same intention, and with the same generosity.

Q. In the wake of the attacks in Paris, do you think Islam is a religion of peace?

A. It’s an incredibly complex question, and as Christians we have to recognize the slightly thin moral ground, the slightly thin moral standing, that we have. We only have to go back to the Balkans 20 years ago and Srebrenica to find Christians killing 7,000 Muslim men. So there’s an element of, Let’s not be too quick to stand in a glass house and throw stones.

However, there is within many faiths, traditions, at the moment, a stream that says: “We need to change things, we need to change them quickly, and the way to do that is through violence.”

There are aspects of Islamic practice and tradition at the moment that involve them in violence, as there are, incidentally, in Christian practice. The answer to that is not to condemn a whole religious tradition with one simple sentence, but nor is it to pretend it’s not happening.

Q. Do you think that these terror attacks are primarily a result of some kind of political or sociological phenomenon, or primarily religiously driven?

A. There are undoubtedly economic and sociological causes. But it is a massive error of a secular worldview to say that explains it. There are also religious elements, some of them more authentic than others, and the issue of pushing back against terror requires not merely a robust criticism of those places that fund and finance and support terror, but also a long-term ideological campaign to provide alternative narratives that are as exciting as the one the terrorist organizations run.

Q. In Europe, and to a certain extent in the United States, we’re seeing the rise of conservative, anti-immigration political forces, in part driven by the terrorist attacks. What do you make of this phenomenon?

A. You have to be realistic about the fears of communities that, for one reason or another, have a sense that the world around them is changing, and they find it very difficult to cope because of new people coming in. But you can’t then collude with the kind of racist language that we see. And so you’ve got to find that balance.

There’s a sensible politics of immigration, and there is a hateful despising of foreigners. And there is a foolish politics of immigration that says, “Well, communities just have to deal with the changes that happen.” It’s a failure of politics more than a failure of people.

Q. Speaking of the Church of England, you said recently, “We are falling in numbers and there’s a change in the attitude to the Christian faith generally across the country.” Do you see the march of secularism as unstoppable?

A. Oh no, good heavens, no. Anything but. In fact, I think the march of secularism has stopped in many, many ways. The church’s challenge is to be seen as something that is not just a very old institution talking largely to itself. The church doesn’t depend on archbishops. The church depends on what it’s like at the local level.

Q. Over the last decade, or longer, there have been a lot of divisions over gender and sexuality. Some people think it’s just a matter of time for Christian leaders to all come around to embracing equality, others think there’s a fundamental, immutable divide. What do you think?

A. In the last two years I’ve visited 37 provinces of the Anglican Communion, and you get a different view of what is inevitable in each place. We’re in the middle of guided conversations about that in the Church of England, so I’m not going to say where I think we’re going to end up. I am deliberately avoiding that question, so I won’t pretend I’m not.

Q. Do you think that the Anglican Communion will ever have leadership that is African or non-Western, and should it?

A. Yes and yes. You’d have to sort out the legal and regulatory issues, but the process has changed many times over the years.

Q. Do you expect that Pope Francis will make substantive changes in the Catholic Church, or is it all tone?

A. He’s making very significant, substantive changes. The next session of the synod on the family, this autumn, is going to be very, very important. But the change in tone is already resulting in substantive change across many parts of the Catholic Church. I mean, he is the most extraordinary leader, a courageous leader and remarkable man.

Q. What difference does the pope make for Christians who are not Catholic?

A. Inspiration. People like me, you look to him and you think, “Oh, if I could do a hundredth of what he’s doing, I’d be quite pleased.” He is, in many ways, re-centering the ministry of the church on the love of Christ for the human being. And on the dignity of the human being, whoever they are, particularly where they’re marginalized.

 

Household Lighting is one of the places where we consume electricity. Power Generation is one of the great contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. Recent Technology has made a considerable amount of change here.

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For a long time when you went to buy a light bulb, there was only one fitting and the choice was about the wattage. Those light bulbs were what is called an incandescent light bulb and the fitting was a bayonet filling, normally called today a B22. Then came fluorescent lighting, and then Compact Fluorescent Lighting and Halogen Lighting. Now we have LED Lighting.

Incandescent Incandescent globes look like the traditional shaped light bulb, with a filament strung across two metal bars in the centre of the globe.Due to government regulations, as of November 2009 you are no longer able to purchase standard incandescent globes. These globes were extremely inefficient because they only converted 5-10% of the energy they produced into light, while the remainder was converted to heat. The result was an extreme waste of electricity.
Halogen Low-voltage halogen globes are the most often used light globes in Australia. However, they are a type of incandescent globe, so although they require lower voltages, they are not energy saving. Low voltage halogen downlights are connected directly to transformers and cannot be retrofitted with CFLs, but they can be with LEDs. Most of the LED downlights and LED globes are replacements for halogen products.
Eco Halogen Halogen globes look similar to incandescent globes, but it uses an envelope filled with Halogen low pressure Halogen gas to help burn the filament to produce the visible light. In addition, regular 12 volt downlights that have not been changed to energy saving fittings are likely to be halogen.These globes have often replaced incandescent globes. Eco-halogens are now available and are about 30% more efficient than incandescent globes.
Compact Fluorescent CFLs are fluorescent tubes twisted into shape to fit a standard light fitting. CFLs are about 80% more efficient than incandescent globes but have some restrictions, such as dimming size and the appearance.Until the advent of the LED lights these were the most energy efficient lights, though the light is a little harsh and could flicker.The other environmental downside is that they contain mercury which is an environmental toxin.
LED LED lights are the latest technology in energy efficient lighting. LED stands for ‘Light Emitting Diode’, a semiconductor device that converts electricity into light.LED lights are super energy efficient, using approximately 85% less energy than halogen or incandescent lighting – meaning significant savings on your power bills. LED lights also have a much longer lifespan than other types of lighting – see the table below.

 

Incandescent Halogen  Eco Halogen Compact Fluorescent LED
450 LM* 40 watts 30 watts 30 watts 13 watts 4 watts
800 LM* 60 watts 50 watts 45 watts 15 watts 6 watts
1600 LM* 100 watts 80 watts 70 watts 30 watts 16 watts

* LM or Lumens is the measure of light. Many of us grew up thinking of the amount of light from a bulb in terms of its wattage (power consumption). This indicative chart of the watts needed for the amount of light indicates in rough terms LED lights produce about the same amount of light as an older style of light for about 10% of the power consumption.

60W Traditional Incandescent 43W Eco Incandescent 15W CFL 6W LED
Trad Eco Trad Eco
Energy $ Saved (%) 25% 75% 65% 90% 80%
Annual Energy Cost (est) $ 11.00 $ 8.25 $ 2.25 $ 1.10
Amortised pa Bulb Cost (est) $ 2.00 $ 2.50 $ 1.75 $ 0.80
Bulb Life (est) 1,000 hrs 1,500 hrs 10,000 hrs 50,000 hrs

Interestingly, the big cost of the traditional light bulb is in running it, rather than in buying it. LED lights can now be bought to fit the usual light fittings, (bayonet or Edison screw type and others) which means it can be as easy as changing a light globe. In the supermarket when you look at the light globes, and realise that the Incandescent is about $3.50 to buy and will cost around 8.25 to run for a year, and the LED Equivalent  may be around $12.00 to buy and will cost about $1.10 to run.

Whilst there may be economic argument here, the environmental benefit of reducing our power consumption where it does not have a huge economic cost is in some sense more important. Against this there seem to be two more factors, one being that LED lighting appears to be getting more efficient still, and that it is relatively an early product and the cost of purchase of these globes may well go down over the next couple of years making them even better value.

One of the reasons that LED lights are more efficient is that they produce very little heat, and generally they remain only slightly warm after several hours of running.

So why is this article here?

The arguments about Climate Change are confronting. For most of us it seems reasonable to accept:

  1. Climate Change has always been a reality.
  2. Climate Change has destroyed species (such as the Dinosaurs).
  3. A big increase in Greenhouse gasses post the industrial revolution and the growth of human population.
  4. Increased Greenhouse Gasses are a contributing factor in Climate Change.
  5. We desire to be part of a solution rather than part of a problem.

As Anglican Christians we desire

  1. To give honour to God for all we have been given.
  2. To treasure the resources God has given us.
  3. To accept responsibility of our part in the stewardship of the planet.
  4. To care for the environment that all creation may sing God’s praise.
  5. To accept we do little, but that all our little bits help make a difference.

Last night, (5-12-2014) most of the cross benchers voted through one of the most regressive pieces of refugee legislation ever seen in Australia. Thank you to Senators Madigan and Lambie, the Greens and the ALP for voting against it (34 ayes, 32 noes).

mlkGrant us Lord God a vision of our land as your love would make it,

A land where the weak are protected and none go poor or hungry.

A land where the benefits of civilised life are shared and everyone can enjoy them.

A land where different races and cultures live in tolerance and mutual respect.

A land where peace is built with justice and justice is guided by love.

And give us the inspiration and courage to build it through Jesus Christ our Lord

Amen.

35dbf9f9868cc61eca6b56ad6668243d_LMigration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment  (resolving the Asylum legacy caseload) Bill 2014

Key Messages identified in the document.

  • The Bill is incompatible with Australia’s human rights obligations and should not be passed.
  • In removing all references to the Refugee Convention, it seeks to place Australia outside of international law.
  • Asylum seekers may be sent back into situations of danger (‘refouled’) because the Bill increases the power to remove people without a proper assessment of their need for protection.
  • By significantly limiting the ability of the courts to examine the Government’s treatment of asylum seekers and refugees, the Bill threatens our robust and transparent democracy.
  • The re-introduction of temporary protection visas without the possibility of permanent protection will mean greater uncertainty, stress, anxiety and psychological illness for asylum seekers.
  • Classifying newborn children of unauthorised marine arrivals (UMA) as UMAs will allow for their removal to third country detention centres, specifically Nauru and Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, which is contrary to our obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • Newborn children of asylum seekers who arrived by boat could be rendered stateless, placing Australia in breach of international law.

The advocacy brief put together by the Uniting Church is here. UNI021-Migration_Maritime_Digital_Brief_v2


So we must ask ourselves how we feel about the matter

  • As Australian Anglicans we affirm that we expect our Government to ensure that all we do affirms the human rights of all.
  • Whilst the definition of a refugee is somewhat narrow against how some would have it defined, we need to ensure as a nation we uphold this as a minimum.
  • We affirm to need to properly asses and in timely manner all claims for asylum.
  • No act of our government should be beyond the rule of law as determined in the courts.
  • The granting of a temporary protection visa should not preclude the holder from at some stage being grated residency and citizenship.

It is a big problem

  • There are around 51.2 million forcibly displaced persons  in the world.
  • There are around 16.7 million refugees – 11.7 million under UNHCR mandate.
  • 32,000 people are forced from the homes and seek protection – every day.
  • Around 50% of all the refugees are under 18.
  • There are around 33.3 million Internally Displaced Persons.
  • Around 86% of refugees are currently in developing countries.

A Refugee is a person who

owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.”

An Asylum Seeker is

a person who has fled their own country and applied for protection as a refugee.

An Internally Displaced Person is

 someone who is forced to flee his or her home but who remains within his or her country’s borders. If they had left the country they would most likely be Asylum Seekers or Refugees..


 

50 Million Refugees

50 million people in the world today have been forcefully displaced from their home — a level not seen since WWII. Right now, more than 3 million Syrian refugees are seeking shelter in neighboring countries. In Lebanon, half of these refugees are children; only 20% are in school. Melissa Fleming of the UN's refugee agency calls on all of us to make sure that refugee camps are healing places where people can develop the skills they will need to rebuild their hometowns.

Refugee

We often in Australia confine our thinking about refugees to Asylum seekers arriving on our shores by boat. This is a much broader reflection on many of the issues of a major and growing problem.

Let us pray to the Lord:

Lord have Mercy

This is a feed from the recognoise website that will update as they update the recognise website. You can read it here, or go to the recognise website.

RecogniseThe movement called recognise has become the flagbearer in the movement for chamges to the Constitution of Australia. Whilst there is always an inclination to avoid attachment to an organisation in broad general terms we would want to affirm to good in what this organisation stands for.

The specifics of the changes needed are still a little light on, however the broad thrust is clear and worthy of support.

It seems unbelievable that when we look at the broad general understanding of Australia as an egalitarian nation believing in a fair go for everyone, that we find section 25 and section 51.26 as part of our foundation document. Perhaps in underlies how far we have advanced in a little more than 100 years in terms of our social understanding, and whilst so much of the Constitution is fair and reasonable, the plain words of these sections are plainly outside the scope of of any equitable understanding of social justice, and in that absence of any argument to the contrary it seems they need to go. It seems most unlikely that any government in to current era could contemplate relying on these sections to invoke legislation, and any attempt to do so would leave most of us aghast.

The Gospel we proclaim is a Gospel that embrace the equality of all of humankind. Paul writes to the Galatians ‘There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus‘.

Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia – section 25
For the purposes of the last section, if by the law of any State all persons of any race are disqualified from voting at elections for the more numerous House of the Parliament of the State, then, in reckoning the number of the people of the State or of the Commonwealth, persons of the race resident in that State shall not be counted.

Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia – section 51 XXVI.
The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to: – The people of any race, for whom it is deemed necessary to make special laws

Further to this the proposition is that we add sections to the constitution, although we do not have the words for these yet, however we can think and pray about it in principle.

  • Insert a new section 51A – to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and to preserve the Australian Government’s ability to pass laws for the benefit of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
    I am, your are, we are Australian – seems to imply that the government must of needs pass laws for us all.
  • Insert a new section 116A, banning racial discrimination by government; and
    This section would follow section 116 which was specifically designed to ensure that we were a pluralist nation that did not discriminate on the basis of faith.
  • Insert a new section 127A, recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages were this country’s first tongues, while confirming that English is Australia’s national language.
    This is a crucial part of the reform agenda, it is important that we get it correct. This place was not an empty space when Europeans came and changed the landscape, neither was it a cultural vacuum. 

There is an important space where we listen to one another. The founding fathers of our constitution acted as best they understood, however our social perception has changed, and are more global, more multi-cultural, and more ready to recognise that white does not equal right.

We pray God’s blessing of the people who first walked about in the place, and we pray that blessing for us all as we consider how we might change the constitution for the common wealth, in the broadest meaning of that term.

The  url for recognise http://www.recognise.org.au/)

ClimateChangePart of the current debate centres on environmental concerns, often called global warming, sometimes called climate change, and allied subjects like greenhouse gas emissions, carbon footprint, pollution  and many other labels.

Over time the worlds climate changes as a result of a number of factors. Some of these changes it would seem have led to the destruction of entire species. Most of these changes have happened naturally, and most people are aware of there having been an ice age.

One of the factor governing this relates to the relation of the earth to the Sun, and the blanket around the earth we refer to as the atmosphere which determines how much of the sun’s heat is trapped on the planet. Whilst carbon is a basic building block and is trapped in many places including earth and forests, higher concentrations in the atmosphere contribute the climate change.

Since the industrial revolution human beings have been emitting increasing amounts of Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere. The earths usual method of removing Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere is forests where by photosynthesis carbon dioxide is absorbed and carbon added the the plant and oxygen returned to the air. Sadly increasing urbanisation and industrialisation has not simply emitted more Carbon Dioxide we have also reduced forests by considerable amounts.

Human populations since the industrial revolution have also grown exponentially, which further compounds the problem.

For us as Christians this is a matter of some concern. The environment, and life itself is a gift from God. Part of our response to a loving creator is to care for the gift in honour of the giver. And we recognise that we live in a co-operation with our environment, not a competition.

Sadly of course we recognise that the most immediate devastating effects of climate change will be born by the poor and the powerless who have contributed the least to the problem.  What goes up, must come down, however the most immediate of the social impact will be on the worlds poor.

Some of what we do is the matter of thinking globally and acting locally, (so as to reduce our own Carbon Footprint) and some of what we do must be to bring pressure to bear on decision makers to ensure that we care for the environment in order that the environment may continue to support and sustain us.

Part of our global response to the issue can be found here: http://acen.anglicancommunion.org/index.cfm

Naidoc2004There has been since 2011, a call for a change in the Constitution to recognise the first custodians of Australia. The shock jocks argue that it is in some sense racist to recognise any cultural group. All the major and most of the minor political parties have agreed to support this call. At some stage in the relatively near future we expect to see the referendum before the people of Australia.

This month (September 2014) representatives of the Anglican, Roman Catholic and Uniting Churches agreed to work towards such a change.

So we ask ourselves, what is the issue. In 1967 we gave citizenship to the Aboriginal people. This was a major step forward. Of course until 1788 they had it, and in reality we could not take it way. In reality the history of European Settlement for the Aboriginal People has not been all that good. Some Aboriginal Communities were wiped out, and for the remaining communities there has been a sense of invisibility.

Under Australian Law we now recognise that Australia was inhabited before 1788 and it was not ‘Terra Nullius‘ (meaning nobody’s land). To recognise this constitutionally is to guard against an ongoing invisibility.

Whilst we can not change the past, we can change the future. Aboriginal Culture is the oldest continuing human culture on the planet. The best future lies in working together for better outcomes.

 

Constitutional ReformClick on the picture here to open the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Paper on proposed changes.

When the Australian Constitution was being drafted Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were excluded from the discussions concerning the creation of a new nation to be situated on their ancestral lands and territories. The Australian Constitution also expressly discriminated against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The Australian Constitution did not – and still does not – make adequate provision for Australia’s first peoples.