- Festival of Light Australia
:"See Also, Festival of Light (disambiguation)"
The idea of an Australian Festival of Light began in the home of an
Adelaidelawyer in November 1972.
Rev Lance Shilton - then Rector of South Australia's largest Anglican church and later Dean of Sydney - had called a meeting of people from different Christian churches to discuss the formation of a "Festival of Light" committee. One of his parishioners - prominent Adelaide journalist with the "Sunday Mail", Helen Carterer - had recently visited
London. She gave a glowing report of the impact of the UK Nationwide Festival of Light founded by Malcolm Muggeridge, Mary Whitehouseand others in 1971.
The first Australian Festival of Light committee included clinical psychologist Dr John Court as chairman, with Bruce Townsend of
Campaigners for Christthe first secretary. Rev Lance Shilton and Mrs Roslyn Phillips were deputy chairmen, Adelaide estate agent Peter Daniels was publicity officer and Dr Harrold Steward was prayer officer. Lance Shilton and Bruce Townsend helped initiate Festival of Light committees in New South Walesand other states through their contacts in the Evangelical Alliance. Rev Doug Mill and Alec Gilchrist initially led the NSW branch while Dirk Bakker headed a committee in Victoria.
Mary Whitehouse visited Australia in 1973. She addressed a packed-out
Sydney Town Hallon 10 October, then spoke to a packed-out Adelaide Festival Theatre. She led a march of 10,000 down King William Road on Sunday 14 October, where a total of 12,000 people heard the Australian Festival of Light Proclamation and endorsed it with acclamation.Rev Fred Nilebecame the full-time NSW Director of Festival of Light in January 1974 and helped Festival of Light become a household name in Australia with large rallies and regular media appearances.
In November 1974, Festival of Light representatives from all states met in
Canberraand agreed to form a national executive under the chairmanship of Dr John Court from South Australia, with Rev Fred Nile as national coordinator and Dr David Phillips of South Australia as editor of the national magazine "Light". The aims of Festival of Light were endorsed by this meeting, including: "To proclaim the value of Christian standards of behaviour for family and community life."The Community Standards Organisation - a group with similar aims - joined Festival of Light to form the "Festival of Light and Community Standards Organisation" in South Australia in 1976 and subsequently in other states.
Rev Fred Nile arranged a number of Australian visits by international speakers. One highlight was the October 1976 visit of Malcolm Muggeridge, who spoke at a rally of 35,000 people in
Hyde Park, Sydney, and large meetings in other states. Another highlight was a second visit by Mrs Mary Whitehouse in September 1978. In 1981 Fred Nile was elected to the NSW Legislative Council representing Call to Australia, which was later renamed the Christian Democratic Party.
The South Australian branch has grown steadily since May 1978 when Steve and Kay Stevens were appointed director and women's adviser. The Stevens had been deeply involved with the UK Festival of Light. They returned to England in June 1985 to be near their family. Since 1986 Mrs Roslyn Phillips has contributed to the research and administration of Festival of Light in an honorary capacity. Mr David d'Lima has served as field officer since 1994, particularly through deputations to churches and other groups.
9 March 2004a special meeting of the South Australian Festival of Light and Community Standards Organisation adopted a new national constitution and changed its name to Festival of Light Australia. The national president is Dr David Phillips, with David d'Lima as national field officer and Mrs Roslyn Phillips as national research officer. The national office in Adelaide provides administrative support to branches in other states. The NSW Festival of Light Community Standards Organisation remains a separate organisation.
The renewal of the
Queenslandbranch, led for many years by Mr George Cook until his death in November 1994, commenced in 2003 with the appointment of Mr Geoffrey Bullock as state officer, an advisory board of 14 Christian leaders and a branch committee chaired by Mr Andrew McColl.The renewal of the Victorian branch, led for many years by Mr Bernie Tenni, commenced in 2005 with the appointment of an advisory board of 16 Christian leaders. In 2006 Pastor Peter Stevens was appointed Victorian state officer.
Western Australia, renewal of the branch commenced in 2006 with the appointment of Mr Richard Egan as state officer and an advisory board of 17 Christian leaders including several heads of churches.
The continuing mission
Festival of Light Australia continues to develop its mission as "a
Christianministry to the nation, promoting true family values in the light of the wisdom of God".
National President Dr David Phillips and Research Officer Mrs Roslyn Phillips were honoured in 2001 with Centenary Medals in recognition of their service to family policy development through the work of Festival of Light.
The national magazine "Light" has won six awards for excellence in religious journalism from the
Australasian Religious Press Association.
Nationwide Festival of Light
* [http://www.fol.org.au/ Festival of Light website]
This text is from the new FoLA web site (not made public at the time of editing this article) and has been used with permission.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
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