Christians unite to 'support desperate people'

FOUR Christian denominations united in Manning Uniting Church to pray for refugees and the politicians who determine their capacity to access Australia.

Representatives of the Anglican Church, Catholic Church, Salvation Army and Uniting Church gathered with community members in Manning Uniting Church in Taree on March 20 for a special service of lament and prayer.

About 30 people attended the evening service organised by Manning Uniting Church to enable "the community to stand together in common humanity to support desperate people," according to Manning Uniting Church Minister, Reverend Narelle Penman.

"There has been gatherings in Sydney and Canberra where people of many denominations, faith, and community justice groups have joined in this same commitment," Reverend Penman explained.

"The Uniting Church has encouraged its congregations to speak into the public arena in their own right and continues to work for a more human and compassionate response to asylum seekers.

"With both our major political parties implacably committed to a policy of deterrence that will require enduring hope, perseverance and a readiness to join with others of good will.

"We see the need to lament the state of our nation's soul; that the place of the 'fair go', that sings of having 'boundless plains to share', is now turning away those who most need our welcome, our shelter and our comfort. We lament the political choice to inflame the emotions of the fearful, we lament the exploiting of populist prejudices through misinformation and hype.

"We are also people of hope, of resurrection and new beginnings. And we don't want to be viewed as a body that inflames anger and so were also offered prayers for our political leaders with the hope that they may have vision, integrity and compassion when considering decisions about refugees," Reverend Penman added.

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