The Indonesian Community in the Northern Territory assembled on a fine Saturday evening (3/12) to celebrate Christmas or the birth of Jesus. This celebration was held at the Chinese-Timorese Club in Marrara. It started with a service and prayers and followed by networking session, dinner and entertainment. It was not only attended by Christians and Catholics but also diverse religions. This year theme was Christmas: Celebrating God with us, it reflected a warm welcome and harmony among people no matter what religions or belief oneself has. Reverend Helen Richmond shared good messages to all attendees that God’s presence in the world is to bring hope and love even in the place where we think hope does not exist. “Jesus was not born in a fine place but an ordinary one. He was placed in a manger because there was no other place. But the hope was there” Rev Helen preached.
This year Christmas Committee consists of representatives from Indonesian Churches in Darwin namely Philadelphia Indonesia Uniting Church, Gereja Misionari Indonesia, Representative of Christ Kingdom Church and Australia-Indonesia Christian Church; and representatives of the Indonesian Consulate. The Chair Person is Mrs Nuraini Ratnawati who is a member of the Philadelphia Indonesian Uniting Church. On her speech she welcomed and encouraged everyone to seek for the truth meaning of Christmas. “Christmas is not about a big party, presents, Christmas tree and delicious food. It’s Christmas because we let God, love others through us. It is Christmas every time we smile at our brothers and sisters and offer them our hands”, Nuraini said. She also added that the best gift we could get for Christmas is the loved ones, our family and friends.
The Indonesian Consul to the Northern Territory, Mr Andre Omer Siregar was attending the event with Mrs Anindhita Chair Person of the Indonesian Women Association of the Indonesian Consulate. There were also other VIPs attending namely Mr Luke Gosling MP Member for Solomon, Ms Ngaree Ah Kit MLA Member for Karama who is representing the Northern Territory Government, Alderman Sue McKinnon who is representing the City of Palmerston, Reverend Thresi Mauboy Moderator of Uniting Church Northern Synod and also leaders of the Indonesian Community in the Northern Territory.
Consul Siregar also shared his message to all by inviting everyone to have the spirit of unity and togetherness. “We, the Indonesians in the NT come from diverse background, beliefs and thoughts. But in this Land, the Larrakeyah Land, we are all made one by our nationality, we are all brothers and sisters, so therefore we must always remember to keep the spirit of tolerance among us”, he said. “The Lord brought us all together in NT over the centuries so we’d be stronger community today”, he added. Consul Siregar also pass onto the community a festive season wishes for those who will celebrate. “Merry Christmas 2016 and Happy New Year 2017. May God always bless us all”, he concluded.
More than 300 people enjoyed the celebration. They were entertained by many performances and Christmas Carols. There were singing groups and choir from every Indonesian Church, Papuan Students, the Indonesian Consulate. The Sunday School Children performed a drama about the birth of Jesus. The attendees were also enjoying free Indonesian Meals catered by Dapur Eti Café and the three lucky guests who won the door prizes were going home with Christmas hampers.
It was really a night of celebration for everyone! (JM)