The Rev Dr John Evans, Uniting Church Minister at the Church of All Nations, Carlton, is calling for a national debate about whether or not Good Friday should still be a public holiday in Australia.
“Whether Good Friday is a public holiday or not, will not change or challenge the day’s significance. In fact, in the place of Good Friday, there should be a national holiday to mark our endeavours towards Aboriginal reconciliation,” Dr Evans said.
“The great issue facing Australia is the division between our different ethnic and religious groups; and between all of us late comers and the First People’s of the land.
"Good Friday is all about reconciliation – reconciliation between humanity and God through the cross of Christ. That will never change.
"A public holiday about reconciliation, the very message of Good Friday, is of great importance for Australia. The public apology by the Prime Minister was a major first step towards reconciliation and a public holiday would make reconciliation a part of Australia’s national identity.
“In our multicultural, multi faith society, we have to respect others. To have a religiously based public holiday may not be appropriate any more,” Dr Evans said.
Dr Evans observed that with this suggestion, people would not lose their public holiday, rather that the day itself would have renewed significance. He noted that in other ‘Christian countries’, such as the United States, Good Friday is not a public holiday.
The Church of All Nations is located on the edge of a large housing estate in Carlton. People from all over the world and from different religious backgrounds reside there. Most are not of the Christian faith.
“In this context, it is important that a Christian church takes the lead,” said Dr Evans
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