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Peacemakers seek Christian approach to Anzac Centenary celebrations
Eremos joins a coalition of peacemakers to promote a Christian approach to the commemoration of the ANZAC Centenary.
The Eremos Institute has contributed to an open letter from a “Coalition of Christian Peacemakers” sent to Australian Christian schools and churches, encouraging them to apply for ANZAC grants and bring a Christian approach to the commemoration of the ANZAC Centenary.
The years 2014-2018 mark the Centenary of World War I and 2015 is the Centenary of Gallipoli.
The Australian Government, through the Department of Veteran Affairs, has allocated resources to promote the Centenary. Grants of up to $150,000 are available per electorate for projects and/or events.
The grant applications, which must be submitted through local Federal Members, close on May 30, 2014.
The Coalition of Christian Peacemakers said, “It was out of the dreadful loss of life of WWI that the legend of ANZAC began. Churches were the first to hold ceremonies to remember and pray for those who sacrificed their lives.
“Returned veterans then went on to hold commemoration services and ANZAC Day became a secular event.
“Its purpose was to honour the diggers by refusing to glorify war, vowing that there should never be another war.
“The Centenary website describes World War I as defining Australia as a people and as a nation. Gallipoli taught us that war doesn’t bring true peace.
“Sadly, we feel that in recent years ANZAC is increasingly being used to promote nationalism and militaristic war. We question this momentum.”
The Coalition of Christian Peacemakers asked, “Can we as Christian communities take the opportunity to promote the Gospel message of peace and non-violence, ‘Love Your Enemies’, made manifest in Jesus’ death and resurrection? Culturally Australians recognise the sacrifice of people made during war. Jesus models for us the sacrifice many have made and continue to make to prevent war.”
The Coalition suggested ideas for schools and churches to be involved:
- Ensure there is a Christian voice of peace on the electorate committee;
- Help plan an event or a project (research those who in WW I were involved in non-violent resistance or in leading the campaign against conscription; or establish a Peace Garden featuring a multicultural/multi-faith theme);
- Research what a Peace Section of the National War Memorial might contain.
The Australian Coalition of Christian Peacemakers includes the Peace & Justice Commission of NSW Ecumenical Council, Columban Mission Institute, Pax Christi Australia, Eremos Institute, The Wellspring Community, Missionaries of the Sacred Heart and Peacebuilders International.
See http://www.anzaccentenary.gov.au/index.htm and http://www.anzaccentenary.gov.au/grants/index.htm for more information.