The Uniting Church in Australia mourns the deaths of those caught up in the hostage-taking incident in a café in Sydney’s Martin Place. Rev. Myung Hwa Park, Moderator of the Uniting Church in NSW and the ACT, has offered prayers and condolences on behalf of the Church.
“We continue to pray for those caught up in the terrible events at Martin Place yesterday and today,” said Rev. Park.
“Our thoughts are with the families of those who have been lost in this tragic event. We commend and thank our police, emergency services and community leaders for their strength in handling such a difficult situation. Continue reading in Insights magazine.
Here’s a list of Christmas services featuring Uniting Church Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebrations in the Canberra Region Presbytery. All are welcome to come and join in. [It’s not too late to send in your congregation’s details if they don’t appear below.]
BATEMAN’S BAY NSW
2-4 Caitlin Ave.
Christmas Eve Lessons and Carols 6.00pm
Christmas Day 9.30am
St Columba’s, Cnr Fawkner/Farrer Sts
Christmas Eve 11.15pm (at Canberra City Church)
Christmas Day 9.00am
A Christmas message from Rev Ivan Roberts, Chairperson, Canberra Region Presbytery.
Christians will gather in churches around Australia on Christmas morning and once more recall the child forced to be born in a stable because there was ‘no room in the inn’. There is poignancy and irony that desperate people including children, seeking asylum from oppression, are held in detention centres around the country and off shore, despairing that there is ‘no room in the inn’ for them in Australia.
For those in detention the angels’ proclamation of ‘peace on earth, goodwill to all people’ may well have a hollow ring. It does also cause Australians to ponder how deeply the qualities of compassion, justice and peace which Jesus came to proclaim, are in fact reflected in Australian society.
Christmas celebrates the mystery of the incarnation; that the divine has chosen to enter the world of ordinary existence such that all life is sacred and clothed with dignity. The promise of Christmas is also one of radical transformation and healing both in our personal lives, communities and world.
The institutional church now struggles to have its voice heard in the wider community, but this Christmas we are called to keep alive our vision for a healed and transformed world of compassion and justice, where all people are treated with dignity and respect; especially the vulnerable, asylum seekers far from home.
Inspired by an article in yesterday’s Canberra Times reporting that the rain was threatening the wheat, that the fruit had dodged the worst but more would be a disaster, Jean Shannon, Hospital Chaplaincy Co-ordinator, penned the following lines, taken back to her time in Bathurst.
It is happening. People wishing others a “Merry Christmas”.
Yet, for some, this is not a particularly merry time. If Christmas gives you “the blues”, for what ever reason*, then that is okay. You are not ‘wrong’, or ‘bad’, for not feeling “merry”.
* Reasons? Who needs reasons? Perhaps at around this time of year: a relative or friend or pet died; a relationship broke down; or, no particular reason.
If you think that you might need someone to talk to, do that, or seek help.
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Several of our Uniting Churches are offering “Blue Christmas” services:
* Kippax (Holt, ACT) – 8pm, Wednesday 10 December
* Wesley (Forrest, ACT) – 7.30pm, Tuesday 16 December
Anyone is welcome to come, and be part of this time of quiet reflection.