Service steps away from usual language
LEADERSHIP wasn't about being popular, but about finding your own voice an interfaith prayers for peace gathering was told yesterday.
And those voices came with their readings, their customs, and even their own language as members of different religious denomination spoke words from their scripture to the 50-strong crowd at the Christ Church Cathedral.
Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis gave the address for the liturgy, and on the first anniversary of the Christchurch massacre, paid tribute to New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern for her leadership following the terrorist attack.
"She had those leadership qualities … courage, passion, vision, humility, and she was able to communicate that to the rest of the world," Mr Gulaptis said.
"To me she showed what the community was looking for at the time; genuine compassion, and empathy for the family of the victims. She listened to their stories and relayed them to the world as if she was a close friend or family member.
"She was rock solid when her country needed her the most - they didn't want a politician giving scripted lines. She was there to console them, and reassure them they weren't alone."
Mr Gulaptis paid tribute to the great leaders of the past, quoting Dr Martin Luther King Jr, whose "I have a dream" speech he said still gave him goosebumps, and Nelson Mandela who lead his country after years of imprisonment.
He said that leadership like wasn't common anymore, with many politicians not wavering from the script for fear of saying something wrong and ending up in the headlines.
"If you want to be a leader, be true to yourself, tell us your story … don't be frightened to make a mistake," he said.
"We're only human, and if we have the capacity to forgive, we will be forgiven."
The service also heard from members of other denominations, with representatives of the Hindu, Islamic and the Baha'i community speaking from their scripture, in their language, with Christ Church Cathedral Dean Gregory Jenks reading from the Christian gospel in Greek.
Representing the Jewish community was Rabbi Nicole Roberts, senior rabbi of the North Shore Temple Emanuel, in Chatswood NSW through a prepared statement.
Her words of peace and fellowship, referred to events of a year ago and further afield, with a message of enduring peace across faiths and beliefs.
"When blood is senselessly shed, even across the world, our hearts bleed too, for as our tradition holds, no one's blood is any redder than another's," she wrote.
"Inside, whatever our religion, every righteous soul is made in the Divine image and deserving of dignity."
Senior students of Clarence Valley Anglican Service attended the service, assisting with the liturgy.