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Media Releases
From Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia

Efforts to end the irresponsible and poorly-regulated international arms trade are at risk of failure as month-long negotiations at the United Nations enter their final days, campaigners have warned. 

Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia, is urging the Australian Government to stand firm, alongside the overwhelming majority of states, on its commitment to the strongest possible deal. 

From The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission (NATSIEC) of the National Council of Churches in Australia

“The theme for National Reconciliation Week “Let’s talk recognition” is also relevant to Christians as we start the Week of Prayer for Reconciliation,” said Bishop Saibo Mabo Chairperson of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission (NATSIEC) the peak Indigenous ecumenical body and commission of the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA).

“We as Australians need to be united in one mind, one heart, and in one action as we continue on the journey of Reconciliation. Reconciliation is all about positive and respectful relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and all other Australians.

Reconciliation needs to be fair and include justice and proper recognition. True reconciliation is not to just talk about recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and culture but it is to act. We need to start at the policy level and start at the top with the Australian Constitution.”

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

 

Australia cannot break the bi-partisan promise to those in extreme poverty in the upcoming federal budget.

Alarmed by recent reports that this is likely, the governing body of Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia, has written to Prime Minister Gillard urging her Government not to break the promise. The promise of reaching 0.5 per cent of national income by 2015 was reaffirmed by her Government, and the Opposition, ahead of the last election.

The UK Government, which has now entered a second recession, retains its commitment to increase its aid budget to 0.7 per cent, the agreed global target. The UK Government has repeatedly said it “will not balance the books on the backs of the poor.”

“We will all be changed by the Victory of our Lord Jesus Christ”  (cf. 1 Cor 15:51-58)

WOP_2012Australian Churches will observe the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 20-27 May 2012. The theme chosen for 2012 is "We Will All Be Changed by the Victory of Our Lord Jesus Christ." (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:51-58). The theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2012 comes to us from the churches in Poland, who have reflected upon their own experience as a nation, and in particular how, as a nation, they have been changed and transformed by the many upheavals of their history, and sustained by their faith.

Each day of the week has a theme, a reflection, Questions to consider and a prayer. The daily themes are;
DAY 1 Theme: Changed by the Servant Christ
Text: The Son of Man came to serve (Mark 10:45)

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.

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

By-elections in Burma / Myanmar this Sunday will not change the balance of power in the nation, but could be an important step in its struggle towards democratisation, according to Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia.

Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party will stand for national parliamentary elections in Burma / Myanmar for the first time since the party was prevented from taking office in 1990. The decision of Aung San Suu Kyi and her party to stand in these by-elections, and the possible influence she may have in the parliament, will continue to be hotly debated inside the country.

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

Tens of thousands of children around the world, including over 500 in Australia, are currently estimated to be held in immigration detention simply because they do not hold the right documents, the International Detention Coalition reveals in a new report.

The report, Captured Childhood, is being released today at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia, is a founding member of the International Detention Coalition, which produced the report, and is supporting the global campaign for an end to child detention.

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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Saturday, 03 March 2012 00:31

Stronger Futures or Stronger Policing

from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission (NATSIEC)

The Stronger Futures Legislation is disproportionate with the peoples wishes and catapults Indigenous communities back to the micro-management of Mission days is the message from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission(NATSIEC). NATSIEC, as the peak Indigenous ecumenical body and commission of the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) requests that the Government heed the message of the Northern Territory Elders, communities and service providers in their quest for authentic consultation and negotiation to gain stronger and better futures for themselves.

from the National Council of Churches in Australia

Peace on Earth

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host,
praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom God favours!” Luke 2:13-14

Peace on earth is more than the absence of conflict, peace is stability. Everyone wants stable employment, health, housing and. personal relationships. A stable political and economic environment is also desired.

Similar desires filled first century people. Economic and social pressures existed and increased when all citizens were required to journey to their home town for a census.

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 Coptic Orthodox Church, Sydney Diocese Australia
In an unprecedented show of support within the Australian Federal Parliament, we witnessed today the authentic Australian spirit of fairness, justice, courage and mateship.

The passing of the motion in a bipartisan support that:

(1) recognises that Coptic Christians in Egypt are suffering ongoing and increasing persecution;
(2) condemns the recent attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt;
(3) expresses its sympathy for Coptic Christians who have been victims of recent attacks in Egypt; and
(4) calls on the Government to:

From the National Council of Churches in Australia

As the Australian Government prepares to introduce amendments to Migration Legislation the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) again calls for Australia to take seriously its obligations to protect refugee and asylum seekers under international law.

“Australia not only has legal obligations to asylum seekers it also has moral obligations. We are a prosperous nation and the Government is introducing legislation that will place a burden upon poorer nations in the region.” said the Reverend Tara Curlewis, NCCA General Secretary.