Ecumenical Service at St Christopher’s commemorates opening of 46th Parliament

Ecumenical Service to commemorate the Opening of the 46th Parliament. Photo LUWYL AMBIDA.

Despite the shivering cold, the sun shone down and a new day greeted Australia’s new Parliament and Parliamentarians.

Politicians from across the political spectrum gathered at St Christopher’s Cathedral on Tuesday morning for the Ecumenical Service to commemorate the Opening of the 46th Parliament.

The ecumenical service, a long standing tradition on the first sitting day of a new parliament, is rotated through Canberra’s various faiths and places of worship.

This service began with a rousing rendition of the national anthem, a welcome and acknowledgement of First Peoples by Fr Trenton van Reesch, and a greeting from members of the Parliamentary Christian Fellowship, Senator Amanda Stoker and Mr Luke Gosling MP.

Clergy from the participating faiths, along with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, read readings and prayers to the congregation.

The politicians, and others in attendance, were encouraged to pray that their efforts and actions would be for the good of all Australian people.

Prayers of Intercession included prayers for the “strength, wisdom, compassion and grace” of our leaders, that they may guide us towards the eradication of violence between individuals and peoples, that they seek solidarity in working towards reconciliation with First Nation people and that God be the inspiring presence to all of our elected representatives to help them fulfil the responsibilities of office.

The Right Reverend Mark Short, Anglican Bishop of the Canberra Goulburn Diocese, led the service as preacher.

Other clergy participating were the Reverend Fr Tony Percy (Vicar General of the Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn), Rev Fr Trenton van Reesch (Cathedral Administrator), Rev Belinda Groves (Canberra Baptist Church), the Venerable Eric Burton (Chaplain, Parliamentary Christian Fellowship), Rev Fr Michael Zamer (Coptic Orthodox Church), Mrs Jacqueline Hipwell (Australian Church Women ACT Unit), Rev David Campbell (Presbyterian Church) and Rev Alistair Christie (ACT Churches’ Council).

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The Liturgy was collated by Rev Alistair Christie (Uniting Church in Australia).

Photos by Luwyl Ambida


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  • PA Mangelsdorf 5 years

    Wonderful to see the politicians gathering in St Christopher’s Cathedral, and from the write up the prayers of intercession were most timely and relevant. Please God all will work together in unity and harmony to build the Australian community, thus strengthening our bonds of compassion, care, and consideration for those disconnected from our mainstream people. May the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit inspire and guide all thoughts, discernment and discussion, ensuring that the politicians work for the good of the whole of Australia