Good News Update 174 - 22 July  2016 

Remembering Young Australians

This Saturday, 23 July 2016,  marks the sixth anniversary of the Canberra Declaration. And so, as things begin to settle after the Federal election, we pause to give thanks for all that God has done through you as the Canberra Declaration community.  You are making a difference for the future of this nation and our children.  
The Canberra Declaration being read out on the lawns of Parliament House 23 July 2010
The Canberra Declaration was written by a cross-section of Christian leaders in the lead-up to the 2010 Federal election. The redefinition of marriage had become an election issue so there was a real sense of urgency. It was released just four weeks before the election which took place on 21 August. The response was astounding! By Election Day well over 10,000 Australians had signed the Canberra Declaration. 
We thank God that since then marriage has been preserved in Australia as between a man and a woman. However, as we saw in the recent Federal election, the push to redefine marriage is still with us. With a promised plebiscite ahead, we thank God for the growing Canberra Declaration community of 68,057 signees who can pray and speak out for marriage.
However, this coming Saturday also marks a day with great historical significance for Australia. One hundred years ago, at 12:30 am on 23 July 2016 the 1st Australian Division of the ANZAC Corps, having served at Gallipoli, launched their attack to capture the French village of Pozieres. The Battle for Pozieres took place only four days after the Battle of Fromelles.  This horrific battle, which took place on 19 July 2016, was Australia's introduction to the Western Front. With an estimated 5,500 Australian casualties on the first day, the Australian War Memorial refers to it as "the worst 24 hours in Australia's entire history"
In the first four days of the Battle for Pozieres, there were a further 7,700 1st Division casualties. The Australians fought with a ferocity and bravery that astounded the Germans. The Pozieres sector was the only one where the Western Front forged steadily ahead. By 5 September, Australian casualties at Pozieres totalled 23,000 - 7,000 killed and 16,000 wounded.

Australian WWI correspondent, Charles Bean, wrote that the ridge at Pozieres was "more densely sown with Australian sacrifice than any other place on earth". In 1993, when the Unknown Soldier was interred in the War Memorial, soil from Pozieres was scattered over the coffin. To this day the school children of Pozieres are taught to never forget "Les Australiens"!
1st Australian Division troops praying at the unveiling of the memorial cross at Pozieres on 8 July 1917
It was to the battlefield cemetery at Pozieres that the soldiers of the 1st Division returned on 8 July 1917 to  remember their fallen mates. At this gathering a large wooden cross draped with an Australian flag was unveiled. The soldiers prayed and presented arms. 
In the 1930s, Australia purchased ground near there to erect a permanent memorial. Read below the interesting thing that is happening tomorrow at Pozieres for this special 100th anniversary.

young Australians at Gallipoli
As we remember the many young Australians who gave their lives on the battlefields, we can be thankful for the resurgence of interest of young people today in ANZAC Day. A growing number are attending marches and services. Young Australians are making pilgrimages to the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey, Villers-Bretonneux in France or the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea. For many it has become a rite of passage.
Perhaps the sacrifices of young Australians one hundred years ago and the resurgence of interest of young Australians today can give us insights on how to better connect with upcoming generations. At present only 4% of those doing our New Signees Survey are under 34! 
We need their prayers, their energy, their tech-savy.  We need them to help to protect Christian values into the future.
We ask you to pray about a Canberra Declaration Consultation to focus on engaging and connecting with the upcoming generations. We are thinking that this could take place at our seventh anniversary this time next year.   
Therefore for now, we would ask you to -
  • share this Good News Update with a member of the younger generation. You could forward this email (link is at end of email), share it from our Facebook page, print a copy to share face-to-face etc.
  • ask them to consider signing the Canberra Declaration . 
  • send us any insights you have on connecting with the next generation.  
We close with some of the last words of the apostle Paul to Timothy as he passed on his ministry to the next generation. 
"You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this. Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead ...
This is my Gospel, for which I am suffering ..."
(2 Timothy 2:1,3,7-9).
Yours for the younger generations of Aussie Christians,
David Rowsome & Warwick Marsh
More Aussies Remember
For this one hundredth anniversary a group of Australians, who call themselves the Pozieres Remembrance Association, decided to honour the estimated 7,000 Diggers who lost their lives at Pozieres. They were especially moved by the fact that 4,112 of the brave young Australians who died there had never been found and never had a cross to mark their graves.
Through fund-raising over the past year they were able to purchase some land near the permanent War Memorial at Pozieres. Men's shed groups made 7000 crosses and women's groups knitted the poppies for each cross. Last Sunday, 17 July 2016, was the day the first crosses were placed into the ground.
The layout of the crosses is designed to represent the Australian armed forces emblem featuring the Australian Rising Sun. The overall size is 88m wide and the longest ray is 45m (almost the size of a rugby league field). The official opening of the new Memorial Park will take place tomorrow at 8.30 am. 
Canberra Declaration 
Warwick: phone 0418 225 212
David: phone 07 34220969