Australian Coptic Heritage & Community Services (ACHCS) would like to provide an update regarding our movements over the past week, post Prayer Vigil event last Sunday.

On 7 December 2015 at 11:30am ACHCS attended a meeting with Marrickville Council. In attendance were the General Manager, the Mayor, Sam Iskander and two other Councillors. The meeting was unsuccessful in reaching any positive resolution. Council stated to the effect that,

‘Council is no longer prepared to enter into any further negotiations with representatives of the Australian Coptic community regarding the subject Church in Sydenham and based their reasoning for this decision upon the negative nature of past negotiations with the Coptic Church Diocese. Further, Council stated to the effect that, ‘it is too late to talk, that the demolition will proceed anywhere between December 2015 and January 2016 and that Council will not deviate from these plans.’ Council did however express that they wished ACHCS had presented 6 months prior. ACHCS advised Council that the first news received by the Coptic wider community, regarding imminent demolition, was received on 26 October 2015, which Council disregarded.

ACHCS would like to advise all that this is certainly not the end of the road and no hope should be lost. Our life is founded upon hope and faith in our Almighty GOD, to act for the Glory of HIS Holy Name.

On 8 December 2015 at 2:00PM, ACHCS attended an initial meeting with a legal representative, to obtain advice regarding an application to the Supreme Court of NSW, for an Interim Injunction Order. This order has the legal standing to order Council to cease demolition action in the interim. A subsequent meeting was scheduled with a Barrister. No legal fees were charged.

On 9 December 2015 at 1:00PM, ACHCS attended a meeting with a legal representative and a Barrister for an in-depth legal consultation, regarding the feasibility of an application to the Supreme Court of NSW, for an Interim Injunction Order to stop the demolition. No legal fees were charged.

On 10 December 2015 at approximately 1:00PM, an application for an Interim Injunction Order requesting Council to cease demolition action, was lodged with the Supreme Court of NSW. The matter was listed and heard within the following two (2) hour window. We await the Court Outcome to be released.

Further to this, ACHCS have continued to make contact with parliamentarians on all levels by telephone and by Email to assert a felt presence of the Australian Coptic community.

ACHCS urges all friends, viewers, supporters and Australian and Coptic community members to continue to lobby all members of parliament on all levels and members of local councils all over Sydney; as we sit within the eleventh hour.

The more we raise our voices, the more likely we are to be heard. Raising our voices is simply the exercise of the most basic human rights we are afforded in this great land. The exercise of our rights to be heard is exactly that, our God given right, no more and no less; rights that we should not relinquish under any circumstances. As a cultural minority group in Australia with significant rights to preserve our religious, spiritual, social and cultural heritage we cannot remain silent and allow this sacred heritage to be deleted from the History books. We Will Not!! This is a call to SPEAK!!

Let us not forget the importance of prayer and supplication in this critical matter. On 9 December 2015, ACHCS was advised by a member of Marrickville Council (that shall remain nameless), to the effect that, ‘you will need a miracle to save your Church’. Yes Sir, a miracle is what we are expecting, no more and no less. We call on St Mary, the Mother of God and the Mother of our Church for the perpetuation of this miracle, for HIS Holy Name’s sake.

ACHCS will continue to update you as to every movement, as it takes place.

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