Heads of Churches Gather to Dedicate Great Cross

( [email protected] ) Nov 20, 2003 11:08 AM EST

Heads of Churches will dedicate The Great Cross of the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture in Canberra. The dedication ceremony will be held at the Centre at 3 pm on Saturday 22 November.

Political and community leaders will attend. Members of the community will take part in the dedication liturgy.

The Centre's Executive Director, Professor James Haire, said today: "The Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture is an ecumenical venture.

The Centre has four major functions. It provides a ministry to the Parliament. For example, the service for the opening of Parliament has been held at the centre. It is at the interface between Christianity and Australian society - and involved in society's issues, such as reconciliation. It is ecumenical.

"It wants to stimulate ecumenical dialogue in this country. It will also stimulate interfaith dialogue."

The Great Cross is the last stop on the Centre's 'Pilgrim Walk', which surrounds a protected grassland on the six hectare site. The Pilgrim Walk has symbols of Australian spirituality.

They include:

. Pilgrim Poles, with symbols of indigenous spirituality

. A labyrinth for meditation

. A Bible Garden, with plants mentioned in the Bible

. An outdoor Chapel

When fully developed, the "Walk" will have a series of garden alcoves celebrating Australian cultural themes.

The centre is on the edge of Lake Burley Griffin and next to the Parliamentary Triangle.

Eventually the Centre will have a Collegiate Wing, which will house part of the Charles Sturt University's School of Theology. It will also provide accommodation for researchers and for Christian organisations that serve the community. It will also have facilities for community use. The Centre's longer term plans include a Great Room and a Great Space. The space will provide a place for national worship and celebration. There will be indoor and outdoor seating for about 5-7 thousand people.

The Centre is partnered with Charles Sturt University. Its building program is funded through the Federation Fund and a list of generous private and corporate donors.