Easter Sunday Sunrise Service, 16 April
Sydney Opera House
As the sun rises on Easter Day, songs of praise from the iconic Sydney Opera House will echo across Sydney Harbour. Hundreds of people from all walks of life will join together to celebrate the power of Jesus’ resurrection. The service will be led by Wesley Mission Superintendent the Rev Keith Garner. He will be joined by Golden Guitar Winning Australian artists, Carter and Carter, other special contributions and the Wesley Mission band.
The Easter Sunrise Service will be broadcast live on Channel 9, simulcast on 103.2 FM and streamed live around the world via the internet. Go to www.wesleymission.org.au.
Some of the key local broadcast times on the internet are as follows:
· Sydney, Australia – 6 am Easter Sunday 16 April (Australian Eastern Standard Time)
· The United Kingdom – 9 pm Saturday 15 April
· US (East Coast) – 4 pm Saturday 15 April
· US (West Coast) – 1 pm Saturday 15 April
· Capetown, South Africa – 10 pm Saturday 15 April
· Apia, Samoa – 9 am Easter Sunday 16 April
· New Zealand – 8 am Easter Sunday 16 April
Easter Message from Rev. Keith Garner
Sydney Australia: A rising tide of innate fear and nationalism is striking at the heart of public compassion while eroding hope and reciprocity, according to the head of Wesley Mission Sydney.
Superintendent the Rev Keith Garner has used his 2017 Easter message to highlight the absence of an enduring and optimistic narrative as people and nations struggle with uncertainty.
“There is no other time in the Christian calendar that is more relevant, powerful and moving than Easter,” Mr Garner said. “It is a significant period when we take stock of our lives and the collective life of Australia and the world.
“As we look out across our country and the world, we see fear and instability, the challenge of terrorism and a lack of certainty and hope. Across the nations, political leaders fail to provide an enduring narrative which people can embrace and cling to in perplexing times. Truth is discarded or ambushed in the clutter of social media as our politicians play the political ball at their feet.
“The world is disjointed and frenetic: we are experiencing one of the biggest refugee crises in living memory. Barriers are erected to the marginalised and stateless.
“Governments have replaced talk of closer cooperation with barbed wire, and walls of intransigence, not only built on our borders, but in our hearts. The dark and ugly side of nationalism casts a shadow over the world – from Europe to Australia. People are retreating into an increasingly fearful and privatised world view which is nihilistic, defensive and lacks compassion.
“It also seems like our political and economic systems are broken and beyond reform. As governments do less, it is those who can least can afford it that carry the burden.
“Change is all-consuming in every aspect of our lives. Sadly the most important and confronting truth is that far too many people are being left behind and rejected.”
Mr Garner said self-interest of the marketplace is dominating the whole of life.
“We no longer see ourselves as citizens or families but consumers who are measured not by the quality of relationships or a contribution to the community but by our usefulness as consumers who contribute economically,” he said.
“This is crude utilitarianism. Our worth and dignity is found in the love of God who created us. Jesus Christ offers us alternative ways of living life by sharing his purpose and power. Life’s purpose cannot be about gaining everything the world offers or how we are measured by the world’s standards.”
Wesley Mission has a large number of congregations, community services and aged care centres across Sydney and beyond. The city is now one of the world’s most expensive capitals in which to live.
“Sky rocketing house and land prices and soaring rents are excluding a growing number of individuals and families from home ownership and from the private rental market,” Mr Garner said. “Many are left behind and are forced to find shelter with friends, relatives or end up on the streets.
“Sadly, brokenness not wholeness marks the experience of a growing number of Australians. This is one reason why Easter is increasingly important and a message we share with urgency. At Wesley Mission we deal with broken lives every day: loneliness, isolation, mental health issues, homelessness, poverty and relationship conflict can drive people over the edge and into despair.
“When people lose their job, get sick, grow old or cannot cope in mainstream life because of mental illness or relationship breakdown they are discarded by society. The message of Easter is that despite being broken Jesus Christ can make us new.”
Carrying that theme forward, Wesley Mission will host a series of powerful Easter events, re-enactments and more than 20 worship services during Holy Week 2017. For more than 50 years it has taken the story of Easter into the public square giving thousands of people the opportunity to hear and share in its life-changing meaning.
In an atmosphere of continuing suffering and uncertainty this year’s key Easter message of ‘broken made new’ also speaks powerfully into the minds of countless people across the world.
“Since the early days of the Christian community, Holy Week and Easter have been observed as a special time to focus on Jesus Christ and His message of grace, forgiveness and restoration,” Mr Garner said. “This message is timely as many people around the world and our nation seek healing, wholeness and understanding in the face of conflict, hate and fear.
“Easter still provides not only Wesley Mission but the broader church family with the opportunity to proclaim the good news in the marketplace. It is a time when people are open to the narrative and can reflect upon the Easter message of broken lives longing for renewal. God offers us a quality of life that lifts us above a purely economic success-based view of life and it is all possible through His grace.
“By joining with others and taking part in the dramatic and engaging events of Holy Week, we can allow that message of love and forgiveness penetrate our lives.”