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Martin Place Statement 16 Dec 2014

Tuesday, 16 December 2014 13:29



We, the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) and NSW Ecumenical Council (NSWEC) are deeply saddened by the trauma, suffering and loss of life resulting from the Martin Place siege of December 15-16, 2014, in Sydney.

Our prayers are with the families of those whose loved ones have been killed, injured and/or traumatised.

May this be a time when the Australian community, people of all faiths, unite around our common care for all life.

We trust that the acts of one individual will not lead to discrimination against Australian Muslims.

We are committed to the paths of peace. May the bonds of acceptance, mutual respect and harmony in our community, across all faiths and none, be strengthened as we pull together and realise afresh the value of human life. Australia celebrates the great diversity of ethnic communities and religious freedom. It celebrates democracy and freedom. Each one of us can live out those values in all we do.

We especially express our friendship and solidarity with all Muslims who are part of the Australian community. We know that you, with the rest of the Australian community, abhor acts of violence in the name of religion and that most Australian Muslims strive for peace and harmony with all others.

Let this sad event unite us in the conviction that life is precious and we can do much together, across all faiths, to bring abundant life to all.

At this time we welcome statements condemning violence and we welcome statements of support for the Australian people and governments. We welcome every effort that members of Muslim communities continue to make as integral members of Australian society. We wish to support all people striving to live in peace.

President NCCA Reverend Dr Mike Semmler

General Secretary NCCA Sr Elizabeth Delaney sgs

President NSWEC Reverend John Barr

General Secretary NSWEC Fr Shenouda Mansour



Letter from NCCA - Act for Peace and NSW Ecumenical Council

Monday, 01 September 2014 15:42


Mosul, Iraq's Christians Seeking Asylum

Friday, 25 July 2014 19:09

Joint Media Release from the  National Council of Churches in Australia & the NSW Ecumenical Council

“…and should I not pity Nineveh, that great city…” (Jonah 4:11 NKJV)

`Genocide’ is how Bishop Daoud Nikdomios a Syrian Orthodox Bishop from Mosul described what has happened to the Christian people in Mosul, an Ancient City of the faithful people, near Nineveh, from the Apostolic times for nearly 2000 years.

``Everything is taken from us: churches, houses, clothes, money, even the babies nappies”. Bishop Daoud Nikdomios described how the crosses from the churches were removed, and how ISIS wanted to remove all the history of the church from Mosul.

Houses were marked with the letter `N’ in Arabic, - for “Nasarah” signifying they are homes for Christians. These homes are appropriated once people flee.


Raise Your Voice Not the Sea Level

Wednesday, 04 June 2014 18:48

From National Council of Churches in Australia Eco Mission Project

This World Environment Day, the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) Eco Mission Project invites members of the community to reflect on this year’s United Nations theme of ‘Raise your voice, not the Sea level’ and what this means to us as Christians living in God’s love.

The NCCA Eco Mission Project was formed to build a network amongst the Churches to explore the spiritual, ethical and social questions posed by the ecological crises we face as a nation and as a global community. Through education, dialogue and advocacy the NCCA Eco Mission Project supports the understanding that the earth is fragile and beautiful and as an expression of our faith, we are called to care for the earth.

Renewed calls for the safe return of abducted Syrian archbishops

Thursday, 24 April 2014 17:46

The National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) issue a renewed call for the safe return of the two archbishops of Aleppo, Syria who were abducted on the Turkish border on 22 April 2013.

The Syriac-Orthodox Archbishop Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim and the Greek-Orthodox Archbishop Boulos Yazigi were both advocates for peace and against all forms of violence.

Reverend Tara Curlewis, NCCA general secretary said “Since their abduction there has been no news of their location or the identity of their kidnappers and the churches around the world continue to hold concerns for the health and well being of both archbishops. Now would be a good time for their release with Christians having just celebrated Easter.”

Easter 2014 Messages from Australian Church Leaders

Thursday, 10 April 2014 13:28

from the National Council of Churches in Australia

Easter: the time to celebrate new beginnings.
After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. 5But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.(Matthew 28:1-6)

Easter is the time to celebrate new beginnings. Easter commemorates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and is the most significant Christian celebration. It is the time that is at the heart of Christianity. Good Friday recalls the death of Jesus on a cross and then being laid in a tomb. When his closest friends went to the tomb very early on the Sunday morning they encountered the unexpected and the news that Jesus was not there. Jesus had been raised from the dead. 

Tributes flow as Bishop Michael Putney’s Ecumenical Journey Ends

Friday, 28 March 2014 11:39

The National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) pays tribute to Bishop Michael E Putney D.D AM, an outstanding ecumenist, who ended his journey with cancer in the early hours of 28 March 2014. Diagnosed with cancer in December 2012 Bishop Putney was the sixth President of the NCCA.

Last week Michael Putney acknowledged that his ecumenical journey began as a 16 year old when he entered Pius XII Seminary, Banyo. As a student he participated in an oratory competition where he spoke on the life and message of Paul Couturier who is the father of the modern form or the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Michael won the competition but he says more significantly he found ecumenism as a deep spiritual commitment for his life.

“Bishop Michael Putney has been an ecumenical giant who has championed the importance of dialogue between churches both in Australia and internationally. His contribution as the Co-chair of the International Roman Catholic – World Methodist dialogue has been greatly valued for many years .Equally significant is his four years as President of the NCCA where he upheld the importance that the ecumenical space is the place where the real agenda of the churches was able to be discussed together” said Reverend Tara Curlewis, NCCA general secretary.

Church Leaders express condolences to families of MH370

Wednesday, 26 March 2014 12:46

National church leaders have expressed their deep sorrow at the news of the loss of all lives on Malaysian Airlines flight MH 370.

At a recent meeting of the national Heads of church, prayers were offered in the hope of finding the location of MH 370. Now that the location has been identified as the southern Indian Ocean and families have been notified the churches uphold all who have lost loved ones in prayer.

The church leaders recognise the great loss to the 14 countries with residents on the flight and particularly the significant loss experienced in China and Malaysia and their respective communities in Australia.

Australian Churches give thanks for life of Patriarch Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwas - Syrian Orthodox Church.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014 16:54

It is with deep sorrow that news of the death of His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwas, supreme spiritual leader of the Syrian Orthodox Church, is received in Australia. The National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA)gives thanks for the life and leadership of Patriarch Zakka Iwas.

Patriarch Zakka Iwas was born in Mosel Iraq 21 April 1933 and died 21 March 2014 in Germany. Although he had been battling illness for some time his death has taken the church by surprise. He was enthroned in Damascus in 1980 as the supreme spiritual head of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch and all the East.

"We thank God for his life, witness and leadership that has given stability during the unrest in Syria." said NCCA general secretary Rev Tara Curlewis.


2013 Christmas Messages from Australian Church Leaders

Wednesday, 18 December 2013 08:19

God with us

“A young woman is with child, and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)

The birth of any child fills the parents, family and friends with awe and wonder. It is truly an amazing event. Often the name chosen for the newborn is of special significance, it may be a traditional family name or connect with someone special, it may be chosen for its meaning and with a hope that shapes the future of the young life.

At Christmas Christians recall the birth of one born long ago in Bethlehem, the scriptures pointed to this child and proclaimed that the child would be called Immanuel.  This name means “God with us”.  The real significance of Jesus’ birth is that he is born as we are and he is the Son of God with us.

In the early years Jesus’ life was threatened, his family sought asylum in Egypt until it was safe to return home, clearly Jesus as God with us knows the experience of those seeking asylum in another land.   He knows the experience of the poor and the homeless.  Jesus is God with us in all life’s experiences.

May we in Australia know and see “God with us”.

The National Council of Churches in Australia wishes everyone a Merry Christmas and our prayer is for justice and peace to fill the world. 

The Reverend Tara Curlewis, General Secretary
National Council of Churches in Australia

(NB. In the Western Church, Christmas is celebrated on December 25.  Most Orthodox Churches will celebrate the Feast of the Nativity on January 7.)

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