Strategy 4 was a call for Advocates with a suggested focus of sharing the Canberra Declaration with senior Australians. Today we are thrilled to release Strategy 5 which is to share the Canberra Declaration with ethnic Australian Christians. This was another one of the prize-winning suggestions of last year's Double Our Numbers on-line survey.
Almost 1 in 4 Australians were born overseas. The Christian Research Association states that since 1971, many millions of those who came as immigrants to Australia have been Christian. Some denominations would hardly exist today without the enormous influx of members that immigration has brought.
The 2010 prayer guide Operation World states, for example, that there are up to 500,000 people living in Australia who are of Chinese ethnic background with about 20% of these being professing Christians. There are hundreds of Chinese congregations in Australia. Here is one of many in Sydney.
Theoretically we could get another 50,000 signatures from the Chinese Australian Christian community alone! Then there are the Koreans, the Burmese, the Vietnamese, the Indonesians, the Indians, the Sudanese, the Iranians, the Brazilians etc - all with significant numbers of Christians.
At the World Congress of Families in Sydney in May 2013, we met a young business man, Matt Attia, who helped us with the Canberra Declaration booth. It was thrilling to learn that when the Canberra Declaration began in 2010, he shared as an Advocate with the Egyptian Coptic Church in Australia of which he is a member. Through his networks he obtained approximately 2,000 signatures on hard copies of the Canberra Declaration. This shows the great potential for new signatures in ethnic churches in Australia.
For this reason we are in the process of translating the Canberra Declaration into different languages and, one by one, plan to add them to our website. Similar to the format of the invitation below (to Aussies who are ethnic Koreans), the English language words of the Canberra Declaration would be interspersed with the language of the ethnic group. We believe that having a translation, with English interspersed, will be an encouragement to many. Even if someone knows English, their mother language is often still very important to them. So it is a way of honouring them.
So far we have the invitation translated into Chinese, Indonesian, Korean and Malaysian (listed in alphabetical order). These are now posted on the Canberra Declaration Facebook page ready to be shared with others. We also have the entire Canberra Declaration in Korean. You can find these on our new webpage. More will be posted as they are completed.
What can you do?
1. If you are an Aussie only speaking English.
- We suggest you share about the Canberra Declaration with ethnic Christians that you know in your circles (in your street or community, at church or at work, in your interest groups etc).
- Ask them to share with their friends and churches.
- Use the resources in the Promotional Pack.
- Share face-to-face or through electronic means.
- Obtain signatures on hard copies of the Declaration or ask them to go to www.canberradeclaration.org.au
- Check this website to see if there is a translation in the language they use. Download this and share it with them. We trust that the Canberra Declaration, with English interspersed, will be an encouragement to them.
2. If you are an Aussie also speaking another language.
- Check this website to see if there is a translation of the invitation or the Canberra Declaration in your language.
- If there is, share this with others in your language group, one-on-one or electronically to your networks.
- Do this through Facebook, via email or by printing it as a hard copy to pass on.
Please let us know if you would be interested in translating the invitation and/or the Canberra Declaration into a particular language or know someone who might consider doing this. We welcome any language!
Over the past five years, it has been very noticeable that a high percentage of those who attend the National Days of Prayer & Fasting in Parliament House in Canberra have been ethnic Christians. Perhaps this is an indication of how much they cherish the freedoms and way of life we still enjoy in Australia and are willing to get involved to protect these.
We have come to the conclusion that ethnic Aussies are a key to the future of Christianity in Australia. From the 2011 census, it would appear that no Christian denomination is keeping up with normal population growth among the Australian-born population. Furthermore, most of those describing themselves in the 2011 census as 'no religion' are Australian-born. The growth of this group from 15% of the population in 2001 to 23% in 2011 has been striking.
The apostle Paul writes that the Christian Church should have no barriers declaring that among believers "there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all"
- Please pray that many signees will share the Canberra Declaration with ethnic Aussies in their street, community, church or other networks.
- Please pray that many will volunteer to translate the short 284-word invitation and the one page 856-word Canberra Declaration into different languages.
- Please pray that many ethnic Aussies will join the Canberra Declaration community and make a lasting difference to their adopted home. As the number of their signatures swell, our political leaders will see more clearly that Christian values are widely held in Australia.
Thank you! We would be very interested in any further thoughts on how we might reach our ethnic Australian brothers and sisters in Christ.
Yours for a growing multi-ethnic community of believers,