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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

Church News

Christmas at the Cathedral 2015

Sunday 20th December 6.30 pm - Nine Lessons and Carols Thursday 24th December 5.00 pm - Children's service and blessing of the Crib 11.30 pm - Midnight Mass Friday 25th December 7.30 am - Traditional Said Eucharist 9.00 am - Family Service with Holy Communion  

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.

General News

Paris Climate Change Conference

The Dean, Dr Keith Joseph, will shortly leave for Paris where he will join an estimated 40,000 people attending the Climate Change Conference and associated events. In the Dean's case, he will be taking part as an invited participant at the Creative Factory, also known as PlaceToB: This is an event aimed at artists and writers, with the aim of changing thinking about Climate Change. A major part of the event is concerned with the spiritual issues around Climate Change. Fr Keith will be accompanied by the Reverend Nigel Kelaepa. Fr Nigel is from the atoll of Onjong Java, in the north of the Solomon Islands. In 2009 Fr Keith and Fr Nigel worked together on the first climate change adaptation project in the Solomon Islands, aimed at helping the people of Ontong Java stay on their home. Whilst successful, in the face of a continued rise in sea level the people of Ontong Java are now looking at relocation. Our picture shows high tide in January this year - as can be seen, lapping at the roots of the trees. Even without a storm surge, this does not look good for the future of the people of Ontong Java. However, part of the aim of PlaceToB is to encourage positive thinking - not a sense of helplessness, but a sense of what can be done. We invite you to join with the Cathedral congregation as they pray for all in Paris at the Climate Change Conference, and to support in any way you can those who are now directly affected by climate change.Sr Kathleen photo high tide