AUSTRALIAN  PRAYER  NETWORK  NEWSLETTER

Saturday 31st May 2014

NATIONAL DAY OF THANKSGIVING – FACT SHEET

Editors note: We are constantly asked how did the National Day of Thanksgiving begin and what is the vision for it.  The following fact sheet answers those questions and may be useful for Churches to publish in the weekly news sheet.

The concept of a National Day of Thanksgiving has been in the hearts of many Australians for a number of years. Over the last decade many people have expressed a desire to see our nation, on one day each year, acknowledge our Christian heritage and the lordship of Jesus Christ over our nation.

In 2003 the Australian Prayer Network took such thoughts and dreams to other national prayer, ministry, and church leaders. Overwhelming encouragement to pursue the concept was received. Out of these consultations was birthed our National Day of Thanksgiving. The Governor General embraced the idea and launched the concept at an official function at Government House on 11th February 2004. The Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition then gave it their full support with statements encouraging all Australians to celebrate the Day. Christian television and radio embraced it, and have become promotional sponsors across Australia.

There needs however to be a vehicle through which the vision can be expressed, and we believe that vehicle must be the Christian Church. If the Church does not accept this role, then the National Day of Thanksgiving will be lost forever for our nation, as the ethos of the day cannot be picked up by any other group within the nation.

The preamble of Australia’s constitution says, “Humbly relying on the blessings of Almighty God.” National Day of Thanksgiving gives expression to these words found in our constitution. Even the words of our national anthem, “Our land abounds in nature’s gifts of beauty rich and rare,” give inspiration for this day.

The National Day of Thanksgiving is meant to be shaped and run at a local level in communities across Australia. Local churches can give leadership, and can with the support of their community organise celebrations appropriate to their town, city or region. The National Day of Thanksgiving will therefore be expressed differently in each part of the Nation.

It is however also a day that can be picked up and celebrated by individuals who through the giving of cards, ribbons, or by doing an act of kindness to a friend or neighbour can be the vehicle of God’s love and compassion to those around them.

National Day of Thanksgiving will be what you make it. It is an opportunity not an event. It provides great opportunity for congregations and individuals to connect in a positive and affirming way with the community they seek to serve and those they meet in everyday life. It can be a doorway to effective evangelism and mission if used creatively.

Perhaps it is the opportunity you or your Church has been waiting years for, to display to the nation what we as Christians stand for, rather than what we stand against. Will it be celebrated in your community? That is entirely in your hands.

Source: Australian Prayer Network

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ENCOURAGE YOUR WHOLE CONGREGATION TO GET INVOLVED

Most Churches are always looking for ways to get their congregations more focused on outreaching and connecting with the community they serve.  There is no better, or less threatening vehicle, than the National Day of Thanksgiving to give people a natural way to be a blessing to others in their community.  Why not purchase products in bulk and break them down into small “kits” for purchase by members of the congregation for use as NDOT approaches.

A pack of 5 cards, 10 ribbons and 30 mini cards could be sold to members of the congregation for $10.00.  That would allow each member of the congregation to bless up to 45 people in their community by acknowledging them and expressing appreciation and thanks for who they are and what they do for others.  Multiply that by the number of people in your congregation and see what an impact your Church could have on bringing smiles to faces and impacting the culture of your community.  And what a conversation starter to open up opportunities to talk about the love of Jesus to non-Christians.   Saying thank you opens doors that nothing else can.

Source: Australian Prayer Network

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WE NEED YOUR ASSISTANCE TO MEET OUR BUDGET

Each year the Australian Prayer Network has to find approximately $20,000 over and above the generous sponsorship support that the National Day of Thanksgiving attracts to make the day possible.

With many today seeking to reduce or remove the influence of the Christian faith from modern society it is imperative that we retain this one day on our national calendar that gives the Christian Church the opportunity to give leadership within local communities to celebrate the Christian values that have made our nation great and to honour Jesus as Lord of His people.

If you believe, as we do, that we must seek to preserve our Christian heritage we invite you to assist that process by donating towards our budget. You can do that by forwarding a donation by cheque payable to the Australian Prayer Network PO Box 31, Epping NSW 1710. If you prefer to donate by credit card please phone your details through to us at 02 9876.2419 during office hours ensuring you nominate that the donation is for the National Day of Thanksgiving. Thank you in anticipation of your generous support. If the phone is unmanned when you call simply leave your name and contact phone number and we will ring you back.

Source: Australian Prayer Network

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