Call to prayer: church vigil for condemned Bali nine members as execution looms

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

HOPES FLICKER AND FADE: Reverend Gary Neville and Reverend Anne Neville invite the people of Orange to join them in prayer for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran and their families. Photo: STEVE GOSCH0302sgbaliORANGE church leaders and worshippers are inviting the community to join them in praying for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran and their families.

The transfer of the Bali nine drug smugglers to Nusa Kambangan Island off Java, ready for execution is imminent.

Reverend Gary Neville and his wife and fellow priest Anne from St Barnabas Anglican Church are united in their abhorrence of the death penalty saying they don’t believe in capital punishment.

“The last image the families of those boys will carry with them if they are executed is heart-wrenching,” Reverend Neville said.

St Joseph’s and St Mary’s Catholic church priest Father Garry McKeown said imposing a death penalty on anyone is horrific.

“I simply believe it is not appropriate in any situation, not even in the United States where they use the electric chair,” he said.

“These young men and their families are in our prayers and have been in the last couple of weeks.”

Father McKeown said the fate of the young men is a reminder to people visiting foreign countries they need to be aware of the dire consequences of law breaking.

Holy Trinity Anglican Church parish priest Malcolm Dunnett said he was deeply saddened by the news the two young men will finally be transferred, ready for their execution, saying extra prayers were said at the church’s evening prayer session last night and prayers will continue over the coming days.

“Those young men are being used as political puppets and it is quite wrong,”he said.

“While we are praying for these two young men, there are so many other issues which are also in our prayers including those young Nigerian schoolgirls who were kidnapped and never returned to their families and the human rights abuses in North Korea.

There are so many sad things going on across the world that we have also been praying for,” he said.

Reverend Neville said he finds it hard to reconcile the fate facing the young men in light of teachings in the church.

“Where is forgiveness in all of this – there’s such a finality about this decision,” he said.

Orange’s church leaders are encouraging people to visit their churches and light a candle for the two young men and their families as they are prepared for execution.

“We invite anyone to come to come to our healing service today at 11am and light a candle,” Reverend Anne Neville said.

Reverend Dunnett and Father McKeown will also be saying prayers in their respective churches today for Chan and Sukumaran and say people are welcome to light candles and pray.

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