Wednesday, 12 April 2017

2017 Easter Message

Stuart McMillan: I’m Stuart McMillan, President of the Uniting Church in Australia.

I wish you and your loved ones a blessed and safe Easter season.

Rev. Gaby Kobrossi and I are here at Bankstown District Uniting Church’s community centre to connect with some of the folk who have come today. The Bible tells us that Jesus came not to be served but to serve.

In January this year I travelled to Beirut with Gaby. We were there in solidarity, to learn from and to encourage Lebanon’s Christian leaders as they serve almost two million displaced people from the conflict in Syria and Iraq.

We met a compassionate community working together with leaders of other faiths and their government to meet the needs of so many. The full extent of God’s love was clearly at work and being shared without favour.

Here in Australia communities like Bankstown District Uniting Church are extending hospitality and providing practical and spiritual support to serve those in need.

Magge, Syrian refugee: I am a teacher in Syria in Aleppo. Thank you God we come to Australia.

Rev. Gaby Kobrossi: Bankstown District Uniting Church – it’s in the heart of Bankstown.

Bankstown is really one of the biggest multicultural cities in Australia.

We have around 142 languages here in this area. In our church we run English classes – English as a second language for the asylum seeker people - they’re coming and for people - the new migrants - and the English classes is open for everyone who’d like to come and study, and as a Christian, as a Church this is part of our ministry, part of our role.

It’s not to welcome only the refugees or asylum seekers to welcome everyone who is really seeking for help and support.

During this Easter, during this Lent season, it will be really wonderful to say to these people, welcome.

Stuart McMillan: The Easter story is an outrageous love story of a Creator God who wants to reconcile the brokenness of Creation and make peace.

Easter is a chance for new beginnings. It’s our chance personally and in many ways, it’s our chance as a nation to rise above the narrowness of our media and politics and defeat hatred and injustice with love and compassion.

I pray for all peoples wherever they may be who have been displaced by conflict.

I pray for the Christian Churches of the Middle East.

And I pray that we in Australia, with them all, would know anew the full extent of God’s love this Easter.

Malek and Magge, Syrian refugees: Happy Easter for all the world.

To view and download the message: https://vimeo.com/212840323 using the password Easter2017