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Healing service for Melbourne's Sudanese

Ecumenical service will celebrate Sudanese contribution to Australia

A Sudanese choir sings at an earlier service at St Paul's Cathedral.

PHOTO: Kit Haselden

February 1 2018A “healing service” to recognise and affirm the positive contribution to Australian life of Melbourne’s Sudanese community will be held at St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral on Sunday February 4, at 3pm.

Media representatives are invited to attend the ecumenical service, which opens with music performed by the Afro Occidental Band, and also includes dance and music by the Dinka Band from the Holy Apostles Anglican Church in Sunshine. (Dinka is a Sudanese ethnic group and language.)

The service will feature Bible readings and prayers from several language groups, with prayers for healing, for police and Government, for victims of violence and for mutual peace-making.

Melbourne Archbishop Philip Freier says poor media reporting and exaggerated claims for political effect have led to serious stigmatising and stereotyping of Melbourne’s Sudanese community. Many have suffered harassment and discrimination, causing fear and uncertainty.

“One elder said the other day that many Sudanese young people are afraid even to go down the street to buy milk because of the things people say to them,” he says.

Archbishop Freier says the Sudanese community acknowledges there is a problem with some of its young people. Community members are working hard on their own and in cooperation with authorities to solve the issues.

Relatedly, the Brotherhood of St Laurence welfare agency has provided $10,000 to film-maker Richard Keddie’s The Film Company to make a series of short films to refocus attention on the successes of Sudanese Australians and plead for a more harmonious social approach. The first of these was launched this week to help ensure African children returning to school feel safe and are supported.

The first film can be viewed below.

First Day of School from Richard Keddie on Vimeo.