Giving hope to asylum seekers

Giving hope to asylum seekers

“I think we have just witnessed the protest song of a generation,” predicted Glen Powell (lead singer in 90s rock band ‘The Quick and the Dead’) as he left the Uniting Church’s Asylum Seeker Service of Lament in Pitt Street.

The song in question was a version of the gospel hymn ‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’-poignantly rewritten for the service with lyrics that highlighted the plight of asylum seekers.

Glen was not alone in his praise. A flurry of compliments were passed through to the Give Hope campaign team following the service and everybody wanted to know the name of the breathtaking vocal talent who had brought thousands of goose bumps and a few tear-filled eyes to those assembled.
That voice has a name – it’s Charissa Suli, and when she’s not belting out hauntingly beautiful vocals she is in full-time training to be a minister at United Theological College, North Parramatta.

In the light of such feedback we set about recording the track as the official anthem of the Give Hope campaign, and the final recording sounds stunning.

The project was a great example of the Uniting Church at its collaborative best. The pre-production was done entirely in-house. We used the Pitt Street Uniting Church as a venue; the music was written, sung and directed by ministers and we were even able to call upon a professional makeup artist from our staff. The amazing kids from Paddington Children’s Centre (a UnitingCare Children’s Service), appeared as extras in the video.
Being able to tap into this wonderful pool of talent meant we were able to execute a high level production for a fraction of the normal cost. We hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed making it.

Watch the video, tell your friends and post it on your social networks. Who knows, maybe together we can make Glen Powell’s prediction come true.

From the Give Hope Campaign Team
Watch the campaign video:

Here’s what our musical team had to say about it:

The vocal talent extraordinaire
Charissa Suli, Candidate for Minister of the Word
“Recording the campaign song ‘Were You There?’ in the studio for the Give Hope campaign was surreal. I was so impressed by the professionalism, passion and love that went into putting the recording together. My hope is that through this recording the stories and the cries of those who seek refuge in our land will be heard within and beyond the walls of the Church”.

The musical director
Kent Crawford, Mission and Evangelism Resource Officer
“Called by the Moderator, resourced by UnitingCare and created and led by members of congregations and presbyteries ‘The Service of Lament’ and subsequent recording of the Give Hope campaign song was a powerful witness to what can be achieved when we act together as different parts of the one body.“

The master lyricist
Radhika Sukumar, Candidate for Ordained Ministry
“This was absolutely the Church at its most exciting – a small idea that, through UnitingCare and some wonderfully energetic individuals, exploded into something marvellous, inspiring and hopefully galvanising. It was a personal honour for me to be able to incorporate two of my biggest passions into this project: my passion for music, and my passion for those who seek refuge in our land.”

It’s time to unite and give hope to asylum seekers:

WATCH ‘Were You There?’ the official Give Hope campaign song online now:

The Give Hope campaign is a joint initiative which sees Uniting Care NSW.ACT, the Uniting Church and UnitingJustice standing together to unite for asylum seekers.

Please LIKE and SHARE to add your voice to those wanting to make a better way.


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