Next year will see our nation celebrate the centenary of ANZAC Day. As a community, Emmanuel College will be embracing these celebrations. We have been invited to join in the Camp Gallipoli festivities at the Exhibition grounds in Brisbane. The College has reserved 350 spaces (which is the maximum number allowed per school). Fifty of our spaces will be offered to schools we work alongside as part of our ConnECt program. St George State School, Warwick, Dalby and Chinchilla Christian Colleges, along with Ashford Secondary School, will be each offered ten tickets. I hope they can come and be part of the Emmanuel College family for the sixteen hours of the Camp.
The Camp will start on Friday afternoon, 24 April and feature documentaries, concerts, a movie, shared Mess Hall meals, camping in swags under the stars and culminating in a Dawn Service on ANZAC Day.
The cost of the tickets is $99 each for all campers, adult and children. I encourage whole families to attend. Numbers are limited so please book your tickets through Mrs Weir at the Cashier’s Office. Bookings and payments for this event can be made from Monday 27 October.
As a Christian community, ANZAC Day can be a conflicting time, especially as the day itself seems to have developed almost into a religious event in the Australian psyche. However, I think that all people of faith should embrace and fully support ANZAC Day, for the following reasons:
As Christians, I think we should embrace most especially, those elements of ANZAC Day which help shine a light on values we should aspire to. The values of self-sacrifice, community, mateship and redemptive suffering really resonate with most of us as they should. There is an almost palpable national sense of thankfulness for the sacrifices made by the original ANZACs and all subsequent Service men and women. Quite rightly, in my opinion, we applaud, support and even cheer them as they march and remember those who did not come back, and the many others who still carry the mental and physical scars of war.
Like so many others, I look forward to ANZAC Day each year. Of course we need to be wary of unreservedly embracing it. However, I hope that we never forget or reject it. The ANZAC tradition values sacrifice. It upholds the selfless acts of soldiers, which often cost them their very lives on the battlefield. This is a powerful historical truth.
The acts of humility, courage and sacrifice were not necessarily performed in the name of Christ, unlike the similar actions of the many Christian martyrs of centuries past. Yet, they should be highly valued, lauded and cherished, for although they are a dim reflection, they still remain a true reflection of far greater sacrifice that was made for us by Jesus. How appropriate is it that by the far, the most common reading in ANZAC services is John 15:13 ‘Greater love has no one than this, than he lays down his life for his friends’, a verse which graces countless ANZAC graves and even the tomb of the Unknown Soldier itself at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
So, please consider joining the Emmanuel College contingent at Camp Gallipoli in Brisbane 2015 and as you give thanks in your prayers, remember again tonight, those who laid down their lives for us.
Peter McQueen, Senior Chaplain