Uniting Church leader joins Muslim friendship group at Gallipoli dawn service

Uniting Church leader joins Muslim friendship group at Gallipoli dawn service

The Rev. Glenda Blakefield, Associate General Secretary of the Uniting Church in Australia’s National Assembly, joined a Muslim friendship group at the dawn service at Anzac Cove in Turkey.

“Anzac Day is a day for Australians to reflect on peace and sacrifice,” said Ms Blakefield.

“In a world still suffering the consequences of war, violence and intolerance, I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with my Muslim friends to honour those who fell on both sides at Gallipoli and to promote respect for each other’s faiths.”

Ms Blakefield was attending the Anzac Cove Dawn Service as part of a study tour organised by the Affinity Intercultural Foundation, a group formed by Australian Muslims to build relationships between faiths and cultures.

As Associate General Secretary of the Uniting Church’s National Assembly, Ms Blakefield oversees the Church’s Relations with Other Faiths Working Group.

“The message of reconciliation at the heart of the Christian faith has never been more important than now,” said Ms Blakefield.

“Today, as we mark the horror of a battle almost a century ago, we also see clearly the results of religious intolerance — particularly at the trial of the Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik who massacred 77 of his own people in pursuit of a hate-filled anti-Muslim manifesto.

“As we pray for Norway in its time of trial, the imperative on Christians to build bridges with other faiths is great.

“By fostering and participating in interfaith dialogue, Christians reflect their call to discipleship, as Jesus showed in John 4:1-26 when he broke with custom of the day to speak to a Samaritan woman at a well.

“This Anzac Day I urge Australians regardless of their faith to work towards true reconciliation among all people.”

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