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Friday, 14 March 2008

Easter Message 2008


For immediate release

Rev. Gregor Henderson, President, Uniting Church in Australia

Despite walking this earth 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ continues to make more impact for good on people in the world today than any other single human being.

We hear much these days about the tension, competition and conflict between people of different faiths. This Easter it is worth noting that the stresses that can occur between those of differing religions are generated by a very few people. The far more common story, not often told, is the good relationships that are being nurtured, together with a commitment to maintaining peace and harmony, by the vast majority of people of faith.

In the Indian city of Machilipatnam, thousands of Hindus and Muslims come to the city cathedral every Christmas Eve to pray, in respect for the Christian faith and in commitment to community togetherness. Further, each visitor drops a few rupees into the cathedral’s offering boxes and, on that one day, they contribute more than 10% of the cathedral’s annual budget.

In Jerusalem last year, a new Council for Religious Institutions was established. Membership includes the Jewish chief rabbis; the Christian heads of churches; and the Muslim supreme judge and mufti. They are particularly working on the very sensitive issue of the long-term future status of Jerusalem.

In Australia the leaders of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths are planning a joint visit to Israel and Palestine in 2009, in order to see the conflict there from all sides and to work out together how faith leaders may contribute to peace in the region.

None of these things would be happening were it not for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus came to live out and teach God’s love for the whole world, not just for his particular followers. That is why people of many faiths celebrate Easter.

Whether you are of the Christian faith, another faith, or a person of no religious faith at all, we encourage you to at least enjoy the Easter holiday season and to give thanks for Jesus; a man who promoted peace and advocated for justice for all humans; and the man whom we Christians worship as Son of God and Saviour of the world.

Media enquiries to:

Penelope Monger, National Assembly Communications Manager 02 8267 4233 / 0417 416 674.