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Archive for the ‘General News’ Category

Church News, General News

Symposium on Indigenous Perspectives on Climate Change

  The Cathedral is hosting a Symposium called "The Seasons are Gone", on indigenous perspectives on climate change. Almost all discussion on climate change concentrates on scientific and political issues, and the perspectives of those who are most vulnerable to climate change often do not rate in the discussion. from-2009-report-ontong-java-erosion   This symposium brings together speakers from the South Pacific, the Torres Strait Islands and the Top End to tell their stories. Our speakers include: Rronang Garrawurra, Yolgnu man and Uniting Church Minister Rose Elu, Torres Strait Islander Nigel Kelaepa, from the Polynesian atoll of Ontong Java in the Solomon Islands Aram Oroi, from the Melanesian Island of Makira in the Solomon Islands All are leaders in their field, and respected elders of their people. You are also invited to join the conversation: to listen, to speak and to act. The Symposium starts at 4pm on Friday 16th September, and goes through to 4 pm on Sunday 18th September. There is no charge for attending, and tea & coffee will be provided. You are welcome to attend as little or as much as time permits. The basic program is: Friday 16th September 4pm to 6 pm - meet the speakers Saturday 17th September 9 am - Welcome to Country, followed by presentations and discussions on the South Pacific, Yolgnu country, and the Torres Strait Islands (9 am to 3 pm with a lunch break). To finish the day, a Q&A panel, from 3.30 pm to 5 pm - You are welcome to join us for worship at the Cathedral, with our visitors from the Solomon Islands preaching. This will be followed at 11.30 am with a session on the current state of play in Australia, and then from 2pm to 4pm a discussion as to where to from here. For further information, to receive a flyer or programme, or to register interest in attending, please contact the Dean of the Cathedral, Dr Keith Joseph, at or on 0409 783 452

General News

Memorial Service for Corporal Reg Hillier

Corporal Reg Hillier died in Vietnam on 29 November 1965. He was buried in Malaysia, in accordance with the policy that applied at that time. From 1966 all Australians who died on active service were repatriated. Some 50 years later, after a campaign by the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia, Australian soldiers who died in Vietnam and were buried overseas are being brought home. Reg Hillier was the only Territorian to die on active service in the Vietnam War. His memorial service is to be held at Christ Church Cathedral Darwin at 10 am on Saturday 11 June 2016. The reinterment service will be at 10 am on Sunday 12 June at Adelaide River War Cemetery. All those attending on Saturday at the Cathedral or Sunday at Adelaide River are asked to be present and seated by 9.30 am at the latest - large congregations are expected on both days and seating will be limited. Invitations are the responsibility of the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia (NT); please contact Mr Bob Shewring or Ms Sue McCallum at Reg Hillier Collage

General News

Christ Church Cathedral – A Place of Sanctuary

Sunday 7th February 2016 Last week Christ Church Cathedral was included in a list of Anglican Cathedrals prepared to offer sanctuary to asylum seekers. This ancient custom was invoked to protect those fleeing injustice or oppression. In this case it particularly was invoked to protect young children and their families at risk of being returned to off-shore processing centres. A meeting of parishioners chaired by the Dean of Darwin, the Very Reverend Dr Keith Joseph was held this morning. The Bishop of the Northern Territory, the Right Reverend Dr Greg Anderson, also participated. The meeting confirmed this offer of sanctuary to asylum seekers. This decision was not taken lightly. Some of our parishioners are concerned that we should not enter into politics, and others are worried that asylum seekers living in the community in Darwin might be subject to retributive measures such as detention. However, it was agreed by all that the detention of children, especially at off-shore centres, was unconscionable and wrong. Detention of innocent children is in itself harmful; even more so where children are subject to abuse, uncertainty and fear. It was noted that both the Commonwealth Government and the Opposition argue that such detention is necessary to ensure a greater good, being that of “stopping the boats”. This is simply a utilitarian argument justifying evil as a means of doing good. But there is no secular moral system or religious ethic that can possibly justify harming children to achieve some nebulous greater good. There was also some discussion as to the wisdom or otherwise of current policies – clearly attempting to stop boats will in the end be unsuccessful if the factors causing people to risk leaving home are not addressed. Conflict and climate change in particular are likely to cause increasing numbers of refugees in our region, and they may have no home to return to. Obviously government policy designed at stopping boats should be primarily focused on dealing with those factors likely to cause people to flee in the first place. Causing harm to asylum seekers as some form of deterrence (at considerable cost to the tax payer) doesn’t appear to make much sense as in the longer term it will likely fail. However, our concern is not with the wisdom or otherwise of government policy. Our concern is to protect the innocent and to protest against an unconscionable wrong. Thus we offer sanctuary. The Very Reverend Dr Keith Joseph, Dean

General News

COP 21 – The Climate Change Conference

The Dean has just returned home from participating and presenting in a side even at the Paris Climate Change Conference. Fr Keith's blogs are to be found on the Climate Change Page, and give a day to day account of the highs and lows of his two weeks in Paris along with Fr Nigel Kelaepa, from the Solomon Islands. Fr Nigel gave a very powerful account of the sufferings of his people on the atoll of Ontong Java, as they lose their home. Two pictures from Fr Nigel's account perhaps convey this very powerfully. The first shows his home village on Ontong Java, on a moonlit night (picture courtesy of Ben Knight of Displacement Solutions). The second shows him looking for the grave of his great grandmother, now claimed by the rising sea. Ontong JavaNigel looking for grave

General News

Still going to Paris

Pray for ParisThe events in Paris are the latest is a series of atrocities - Beirut the week before, and ongoing misery and suffering across the Fertile Crescent. Terror has struck. We pray for Paris, and in so doing also pray for Beirut and all those other cities and towns where evil has struck through terrorism. However, we must not let terror stop us from doing that which is good. So we still go to Paris for COP21. Clearly there will be vastly increased security, and many of the side events such as concerts and public demonstrations will now not be allowed to happen. But I have been advised by the organisers of Place To B, which is being held at St Christopher's Inn, Gare du Nord, that this side event to which I have been invited is still going ahead. So, we still go to Paris. My colleague Fr Nigel Kelaepa has just had his Australian visa approved (with thanks to Alex and the staff of Natasha Griggs MP for sorting out the bureaucratic bungle). So Fr Nigel will arrive in Australia on Sunday, finalise his visa for France on Monday, and we will then depart for London and thence Paris on Wednesday. Please check our Facebook page: where I will keep a blog. We are cautious but not alarmed, and look forward to the good that can be achieved with God's grace at COP21.