Baha'i News -- Faiths unite to mourn victims

Faiths unite to mourn victims


THE thunderous boom of a Buddhist drum echoed through the chambers of Hobart's spiritual home of catholicism, St Mary's Cathedral, last night.

The spontaneous drumming and rhythmic chanting of 22 members of the city's Buddhist community contributed to a moving interfaith service of prayer and remembrance for the victims and families of the Bali bombings.

More than 500 people packed the cathedral to hear words of comfort from local representatives of the world's great religions brought together by the Archbishop of Hobart, the Most Reverend Adrian Doyle.

They listened attentively to a prayer of world unity offered by the Bahai Council for Tasmania, a mourner's kaddish presented by the Jewish community in ancient Aramaic and the haunting cries of the Imam of the Hobart Mosque offering a Muslim prayer for the victims.

One of the highlights of the hour-long service was the formation of a floral tribute to those killed in Bali.

Around a centrepiece of vivid red waratah for Tasmanian bombing victim Tim Hawkins, representatives of Australia's states and territories placed varieties of wattle, the symbolic emblem for the national day of mourning.

Sprigs of exotic flora were added for the Balinese and other international mourners.

Others to present floral tributes included three Tasmanian Bali holiday-makers -- Leigh McGrath, Brook Nightingale and Ben Vance -- who narrowly missed being involved in the Kuta Beach carnage.

Archbishop Doyle said the service was to give strength from the teachings of various faiths which had a common message that good could overcome evil and that life was stronger than death.

"May the time we spend here together strengthen that conviction and may it be a further precious opportunity to embrace the victims and survivors, their families and their friends and the people of Bali in our prayers and with our love," he said.

Last night's service was attended by a wide cross-section of the Hobart community including civic leaders and politicians.

Governor Sir Guy Green delivered prayers and the Dean of Hobart's St David's Cathedral, the Reverend Stuart Blackler gave a reading.

Premier Jim Bacon gave a brief address of condolence adding to the offer of sympathy he offered earlier in the day at a service at St David's.

Anglican Bishop of Tasmania, the Right Reverend John Harrower, told the morning congregation of 300 that three reactions to the horrendous act of evil came to mind: revenge, escapism and hope.

"Our hearts may yearn for revenge but we do well to recall the adage that violence begets violence," he warned.

The city also remembered those touched by the Bali disaster by placing flowers on the steps of the Hobart Magistrates Court as part of the YWCA national day of mourning.

In Launceston, 500 people gathered in the Civic Square, many laying flowers by the fountain dedicated to international migrants.

Mayor Janie Dickenson urged people to be courageous and follow their dreams despite the events in Bali.

At St Helens, more than 200 Tasmanian Orienteering Carnival athletes observed a one-minute silence before the start of competition yesterday.

The competitors represented 20 countries. Tim Hawkins was the nephew of carnival volunteer organisers Brian and Pat McGuire, of Howrah.

Tim's rowing connection was noted during a moving memorial service to victims of the Bali bombing at the Haberfield Uniting Church in inner Sydney yesterday.

Minister Alan Russell billeted Tim for three months when the young Tasmanian was training with the Australian rowing team at the nearby University of Technology Rowing Club in 1995.

Tim went on to represent the country in the under-23 world championships in Amsterdam and came home with a bronze medal for the lightweight double scull event.

The Haberfield service was attended by members of Sydney's rowing fraternity.

©Copyright 2002, The Mercury (Tasmania, Australia)

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