A network of Christian churches and the Newcastle Muslim Association is calling for peace in the month of May through the Give Us A Sign campaign.
The campaign seeks to engage churches, schools, mosques and organisations across Australia in displaying messages of peace on their public noticeboards throughout the month of May. Messages will be shared on the campaign's website and via social medial channels.
The Give Us A Sign project began in 2015 with the Anglican and Uniting Churches in the Hunter joining with the Catholic Church in the Hunter and Central Coast to support the campaign. This year, the campaign is interfaith for the first time, with the involvement of the Newcastle Muslim Association.
Anglican priest, Fr Chris Jackson, a member of the Ecumenical Social Justice Network responsible for Give Us A Sign, hopes the wider community gets behind the message for this year's campaign - peace.
"The troubles of our times can appear overwhelming with daily stories of war, terrorism, civil unrest and violence. The Give Us a Sign campaign is the chance for our faith communities and the wider community to give expression to our shared desire for a more just and peaceful world," said Fr Chris.
The leaders of the Anglican, Catholic and Uniting Churches in the Hunter and Central Coast, as well as Christians for Peace and the Newcastle Muslim Association, have endorsed the campaign and encourage everyone to get involved.
"The Give Us A Sign initiative provides a platform for people throughout the community to call for peace in our daily lives, our community and the world. I strongly encourage people to get involved and show their support be either displaying one of the suggested messages on their street signs or making their own sign," said Bishop Bill Wright, Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.
Peace is needed throughout society and should be included in all discourse.
"As God's people we are to be people who speak of peace, act for peace, and embody peace. The Give Us A Sign campaign is a way in which we can work for peace today by adding our voices to the conversation," said Bishop Greg Thompson, Anglican Bishop of Newcastle.
Imam of the Newcastle Mosque, Sheikh Mohamed Khamis, echoes these sentiments.
"Our faith revolves around spreading peace among people and nations, our greeting of "peace be upon you" is a constant reminder of the importance of promoting peace, which in turn leads to unity and the understanding of one another," said Sheikh Khamis.
Chairperson of the Hunter Presbytery of the Uniting Church, Rev Stephen de Plater, agrees:
"We live in fragile world where peace and justice are not guaranteed. Yet we are called by God to be peacemakers. Give Us A Sign for Peace is one way we can make that commitment real in our own lives day by day."
To get involved, visit giveusasign.org and choose a message for your sign throughout the five weeks of May. Each week take a photo of your sign and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be shared on the campaign's Facebook and Instagram pages and the website.
When: Thursday 19 May from 8.30am- 8.45am.
Where: Christ Church Cathedral, Church Street, Newcastle.
Who: Bishop Bill Wright, Reverend Stephen de Plater, Bishop Peter Stuart and Sheikh Mohamed Khamis talking about the Give Us A Sign campaign and Interfaith Dialogue.