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February 2016

Sr Elizabeth Delaney SGSAt the beginning of each year many people make new resolutions. In doing so we often look back at what the previous year has brought us: joys, sufferings, celebrations, new relationships, losses, fulfilment and disappointments. Having looked back we can then face the coming year. Hopefully, we can look forward with commitment, enthusiasm, knowing that God is always with us.

The National Council of Churches in Australia is certainly looking forward with great optimism.  Much is happening.

A Tribute to His Eminence Dr. Zacharias Mar Theophilus Suffragan Metropolitan, Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church

Dr. Zacharias Mar Theophilus Suffragan MetropolitanThe ecumenical community is saddened by the news of the sudden passing away of Rt. Rev. Dr. Zacharias Mar Theophilus, Suffragan Metropolitan of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church on 27 December 2015 at the age of 78.

Bishop Mar Theophilus was an ardent ecumenist and severed the ecumenical enterprise in various capacities at different levels. He was a member of the Central and Executive Committees of the World Council of Churches (WCC) from 1991 to 2006 and of the General and Executive Committees of the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) from 1981 to 1985.

The 2015 Christmas Bowl

The 2015 Christmas BowlEvery year, 100,000 compassionate Christians join together in solidarity through the Christmas Bowl appeal. In a tradition that goes back to 1948, churches, individuals and communities give to support people suffering from conflict and disaster around the world.

This year, the support you showed was truly incredible. Thanks to your amazing generosity, the Christmas Bowl is on track to raise $2.4 million. It’s a true outpouring of love and compassion that makes a real difference to the lives of so many people. Your gifts willmean that refugee mothers in Ethiopia can get the clean water they need to save their children from deadly diseases, and support other life-changing projects around the world.

Safe Church Program Update

Safe Church ProgramThe Safe Church Program welcomes the Presbyterian Church of Victoria and the Catholic Professional Standards Office of Queensland as members of the Safe Church Training Agreement (SCTA). There are currently 34 different Dioceses/Synods/Denominations/Organisations who are members of the SCTA representing 14 different Christian traditions. Across Australia in 2015, over 11,000 people attended an awareness or refresher workshop.

Throughout 2016 we will be launching new resources for members, including a Workbook, Fact Sheets, and running various training events such as Presenter Training and State Based Seminars to help churches respond to the ever changing legislative requirements.

Deirdre Ashe

Deirdre AsheDeirdre Ashe joined the NCCA in December 2015 as Director of Business and Finance. Since 2008 she has been working in Hong Kong but knew it was time to come home to Sydney. The role at the NCCA appealed to her on a number of fronts – Interfaith dialogue is of great interest, believing ‘God has a place for unity’; NATSIEC was an exciting project, and she thought she would like to contribute to Act for Peace.

Having been brought up in the Anglican Church, Deirdre became a member of The Salvation Army by choice. At 15 she was invited to a House Party, and for the first time ‘received’ that Christ had died for her personally. From there she felt called to worship at the local Chester Hill corps (church) and over the years has committed to various ministries including open airs, pub ministry and youth work.

Ecumenical and Interfaith NewsIn the recent Australia Day 2016 honours many people were recognised for contribution to religious organisations and services. The NCCA congratulates all of them, with special mention of four who have been recognised for their contribution to ecumenism:

The Very Reverend Canon David Leyburn RICHARDSON AO, OBE is an Australian-born Anglican priest, who was dean of St Peter’s Cathedral Adelaide (1988-1999) and St Paul’s Cathedral Melbourne (1999-2008) and director of theAnglican Centre in Rome (2009-2013) .

NATSICC's Spiritual Retreat in the heart of Australia

Coming Events

  • 1 – World Interfaith Harmony week (ends Sun 7)
  • 8 – Chinese/Vietnamese New Year
  • 10 – Ash Wednesday (Western Christian)
  • 13 – Anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations
  • 20 -  World Day of Social Justice
  • 21 – International Mother Language Day
  • 24 – 26  World Sustainable Energy Days
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