MEDIA RELEASE – 12 November 2012

For Immediate Release
from the National Council of Churches in Australia

Churches to Unite in Prayer and Fasting for Syria

The current plight of the Syrian people was a point of concern for the church leaders as the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) met in Sydney last week. Archbishop Malki Malki of the Syrian Orthodox Church told the council that many Christians have been forced to flee their homes in search of safety and peace.

The NCCA Executive, representing 19 Australian Churches issued a statement of support recognising the presence and witness of indigenous Christians in Syria, their contributions to Syrian society and their desire for a society based on mutual respect, justice and peace.

The Reverend Tara Curlewis, NCCA general secretary said “We have real concern for the people of Syria in light of the current violence, increasing loss of life and the destruction of places of worship”

“We are very concerned for those who have sought refuge in Syria as they have fled other areas of conflict in the Middle East.”

As an act of solidarity with and support for the Syrian people the member churches of the NCCA are requested to consider a time of prayer and fasting for peace and reconciliation. They are also asked to pray for the strengthening of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians in Syria and among the members of the Australian Churches whose heritage is from Syria.

Rev Tara Curlewis is available for Interview
Media Enquiries: (02) 9299 2215


Read here for an expression of sadness over the events in Syria, by Catholicos-Patriarch Khanania MARDINKHA IV, of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East.

Click Here to read homily on the refugees issue delivered by the General Secretary of the VCC, Mr Theo Mackaay at the Refugee Rally, on Sunday, 21st October.

Media Release Immediate

Monday 24 September 2012
From the National Council of Churches in Australia.

NCCA Expresses sorrow over the death of Archbishop Aghan Baliozian OAM.

Renowned Christian leader, ecumenist and former president of the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) His Eminence Archbishop Aghan Baliozian OAM, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of Australia and New Zealand died on Saturday 22 September 2012 in Sydney.



Archbishop Baliozian was held in high esteem both in Australia and around the world for his wisdom and commitment to Christian unity, interreligious dialogue and peace building. He arrived in Australia in 1975 to serve as Vicar General of the diocese before being appointed as Primate of Australia and New Zealand in 1982.

As an active and passionate ecumenist he served as the first president of the NCCA (1994-97) and later as president of the NSW Ecumenical Council (2005-07). Archbishop Baliozian represented the Armenian Church within the World Council of Churches participating in the Assemblies of Canberra (1991), Harare (1998) and Porto Alegre (2006).

NCCA general secretary Rev. Tara Curlewis expressed deep sorrow over the Archbishop’s death. She said; “Archbishop Baliozian will be remembered for his outstanding commitment to ecumenism.”

“His role in promoting Christian unity, the participation of the orthodox churches both in the NCCA and WCC, and the importance of interfaith dialogue is a continuing legacy for the churches. Alongside his work with the churches he worked with the wider community where he was held in high esteem by both local community and political leaders.”

For his significant contribution and service to Australia and the Armenian community he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 1995 and in 2001 the Centenary Medal.

Ms Curlewis concluded saying; “As a fellowship of churches we have all been touched by his leadership, passion for ecumenism, his encouragement of the youth and his love for people. Let us keep the Armenian Apostolic Church and its leadership in our prayers during this time of loss, mourning and transition.”

Sermon on the occasion of the Commissioning of the Rev Margie Dahl at Watsonia Uniting Church, July 2012.
Preacher: The Rev Dr Morag Logan
Mark 6: 1-13

It is good to be among you today, and this induction to Gresswell, within the Presbytery of Yarra Yarra. 

I should say how good it is to be back among you, back at home, as I have been a minister in this Presbytery for many years before we needed to make a move to live and work in Europe for 6 years.   It was a wonderful and enriching time. For me, one of the highlights was the opportunity we had to walk the Camino de Santiago – the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostello, in Spain.  I guess I had always been inspired by the great pilgrimage hymn.  I had read Bunyan, as a child, and spent many of my adult years in the church hearing how we were a pilgrim people, always on the way to a promised goal.

“These are exciting times in the life of the VCC”, General Secretary Theo Mackaay said recently. “The review which was set up by the Executive early in 2011 reported at the beginning of this year and made some wide-ranging recommendations.”

“In particular, people are showing strong support for a more streamlined organisation with greater attention to function rather than form. There is still some way to go before we finalise the size and structure of the member church delegations, but we have certainly struck the right balance by reducing the possible overall size of the Assembly. We believe this will make the business sessions better managed and a more effective means of enabling the churches to meet, to confer and to pray,” Mr Mackaay said.

Stronger Futures or Stronger Policy

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.

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