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from the National Council of Churches in Australia

“on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they[the women] came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body.” (Luke 24:1-3)

Easter is filled with surprise and amazement. In the first Easter we recall the women coming to the tomb of Jesus and saying “but when they went in, they did not find the body”. As they stood there perplexed they heard the message “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.”(Luke 24:5)Today people still go to the tomb, recently I attended a service at the site the church remembers as the tomb where Jesus was laid in Jerusalem. The words that struck me then were “we stand here today not because of what is here but because of what is not here. We are here because Jesus has risen from the dead.”

In this place where history has been shaped the morning light shines through the dome illuminating the tomb. The light points to the place where we remember the resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus points to the Christian hope and the capacity of God for newness in the world transforming sadness to joy and death to life.

From the National Council of Churches in Australia

The National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) supports calls for one dollar maximum bets on poker machines.

The NCCA Executive, representing many of the Christian Churches in Australia, issued a statement from a meeting in Sydney this week.

Many of the churches support the mandatory pre-commitment measures sought by Andrew Wilkie MP, which have now been abandoned by the Federal Government.

Mandatory pre commitment and $1 maximum bets will, as part of a raft of measures help prevent people from developing a problem in the first place.

Council spokesperson, The Reverend Alistair Macrae, said “the National Council of Churches believes the Federal Government still has the opportunity to deliver change and reduce the human harm caused by poker machine addiction.”

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from Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia

Kohistan, Pakistan is one of the poorest and most remote and culturally conservative regions in the world. It’s also one of the worst places in the world to be a woman: a place where fathers arrange their daughters’ marriages when they are just children so they can marry them off as soon as they go through puberty. Once they are married, women are almost never allowed to leave their homes.
Australians who support Act for Peace’s Christmas Bowl appeal in 2011 will be helping to provide quality doctors and health workers in Kohistan, promote greater awareness of the importance of health care and hygiene and help women access the pre- and post-natal care they need

from Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia 


A report on displacement and poverty in Burma to be released in Australia on Monday has found that despite growing opportunities for change by the Burmese government, the Burmese army has forcibly displaced more people in the past year than at any time in the past 10 years.
Displacement and Poverty in South East Burma / Myanmar, the annual report by a consortium of humanitarian agencies including Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia, has documented 105 villages which have been destroyed by the Burmese army and 112,000 people forcibly displaced in the past year in south east Burma alone.
Act for Peace, which supports displaced people in Burma and Burmese refugees in Thailand and Australia, believes the current window of democratic reform is the best opportunity in decades to resolve ethnic conflict. The aid agency is encouraging the Australian government to use the report to pursue an international investigation into crimes against humanity in Burma.

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 from Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia

“Conservation farming has changed many lives of the people living in our community,” says Shanangurai Pedzisai, a farmer from the Mwenezi district of Zimbabwe. “I am getting enough food to feed my family and help other people. Now I am a better woman, because I can make some money to put my children through school.”

Church-goers who support this year’s Christmas Bowl will be helping to lift Zimbabwean farmers like Shanangurai out of poverty, thanks to improved farming techniques which deliver greater crop yields.

From the National Council of Churches in Australia

This week congregations across Australia will grapple with prisons and the justice system as the focus for Social Justice Sunday. The National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) Social Justice Network has produced the resource “I was in prison and you visited me” to assist congregations to discuss, reflect and consider actions to advocate for a more just society.

 “It is of great concern to see that the number of people in prison is increasing faster than the population growth whilst the crime rate is decreasing, said the Reverend Tara Curlewis, NCCA General Secretary.

From The National Council of Churches in Australia

 

Kerry_Charlton_NATSIECThe National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) and the National Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission (NATSIEC) are pleased to announce that Kerry Charlton has been appointed as the NATSIEC National Director.

Kerry has a background in education and training, her skills and experience have been further developed through employment with TAFE, work with Government departments and the church particularly the Christian Brothers.   Kerry is held in high regard as a consultant on Aboriginal issues.

 

Leading Australian and international experts will discuss issues of peace and conflict resolution in Canberra on September 20, on the eve of the International Day of Peace. The panel discussion, Build Peace, End Poverty: What Can Australia Do?, will highlight the role Australia can play in building global peace and security.

From the National Council of Churches in Australia

 

Australian Churches Call for a Humane Bipartisan Approach for Asylum Seekers

 

The National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) welcomes the High Court ruling that overturns the Government’s Malaysia ‘solution’ and calls for a humane bipartisan approach for asylum seekers and refugees.

“The churches have repeatedly called for a bipartisan approach concerning refugees and asylum seekers which ensures that we fulfil our international obligations to a high standard and enhances Australia’s reputation as a just and humane global citizen” said the Reverend Tara Curlewis, NCCA General Secretary.

from Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia

Festival will Highlight Contribution of Refugees to Australian Society

 The Festival of Refugees in St Kilda on Sunday August 21 will celebrate the positive and creative contributions made by refugees and asylum seekers to Australian society.

The festival is the largest annual celebration of its kind in Victoria. This year, attendees will include refugees from Sudan, South Sudan, Burma, West Papua, Sri Lanka, Congo, Tibet, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe. The festival will feature cultural performances from members of Melbourne’s refugee population, including guest artist Red Horse, a Native American dancer, and Uyghur and Kurdish dancers.