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Time to think of Asia this Christmas, says church leader

13 December 2012

Christmas is about caring for our neighbour, and for Australians this means developing a stronger sense of what is happening in our region and how to become more involved, the President of the NSW Council of Churches, the Reverend Dr Ross Clifford, said today.

“Christians and our churches need to actively join our Prime Minister and other community leaders in exploring our ministry commitment to Asia. We often imagine the nativity Star shining over Bethlehem, but the star of God’s light and love also shines today over every city and village across Asia,” Dr Clifford said.

“God sent Jesus to redeem and renew people in Asia as much as anywhere else on earth. Australians must find their place in Asia, in this Asian century. Australian Christians have a wealth of opportunities to share with fellow Christians in Asia and to collaborate in various kinds of mission throughout the region,” he said.

At this festive season, at the close of another busy year, the NSW Council of Churches reaffirms its commitment to the life-affirming and life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ and its social implications.

The Council will especially continue to advance a Christian perspective on alcohol abuse, gambling reform, one casino policy, and moves to introduce euthanasia laws in NSW.

But Council President Dr Ross Clifford said we must not ignore our wider responsibility to the region. Asia has 60 per cent of the world’s population, a majority of the world’s natural disasters and alleged human rights abuses, and people everywhere need to be given an opportunity to respond to the Christian message in their own cultures.

“Just eight per cent of Asian people identify as Christian. Make sure we see the Star shining over Asia this Christmas, and consider its practical implications,” Dr Clifford said.

Rev Dr Ross Clifford
President NSW Council of Churches
President Asia Pacific Baptist Federation

Media contact Rod Benson 0412 421 678 or Ross Clifford 0417 685 201

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