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Wednesday, 20 September 2006

President challenges community to work for peace

Uniting Church President, the Reverend Gregor Henderson, today issued a challenge to all Australians to take practical steps to encourage peace building on the United Nations International Day of Peace, Thursday 21st September.

“Every Australian hopes for a world without violence, but living as we do in stable country, it has sometimes been difficult to grasp the extent and impact of violent conflict in so many other places. Yet as we witness the horrendous vision of violence in the Middle East, and the instability in our own region, all Australians are confronted with the reality that we live in a broken world.

“Injustice, prejudice and violence are global problems that cannot be ignored. As war continues to destroy communities, families and lives around the world, it is important that we remember that our future depends on each other and that continued war and violence are threats to all humanity.

“Each life destroyed by violence lessens each one of us.”

Rev. Henderson’s call coincides with the International Day of Prayer for Peace, which is held on the UN International Day of Peace each year to encourage all people of faith to join in prayer for peace in areas of conflict.

“I hope the day will encourage all Australians to become peacemakers. Prayer and reflection are important first steps in the peace building process because they focus our energies and increase our desire to work together and take positive steps to build peace.

“On this International Day of Peace we are reminded again of the fragile nature of peace in our world. Yet despite our many differences, we are called to live with our diversity in peace and harmony.

“The Uniting Church is deeply committed to interfaith dialogue within Australia - it fosters understanding and reminds us that strong relationships, not rules, make a lasting difference.

“We must engage in genuine dialogue with each other and work for peace– starting in our own backyard. Every one of us has a part to play in breaking through barriers to understanding and empathy. We must put aside our differences if we are to hope for a world free of violence, war and hatred.

“I encourage all Australians to take the good in our hearts, our homes, our communities and our country, and turn it to the task of learning how to live together in peace, embrace our diversity and celebrate all that we share as human beings knowing that our future depends on each other.”


Media Contact: Gavin Melvin, Manager, National Media and Communication – 0417 416 674