Our Social Justice and Mission Group of the Uniting Churches -Mt Waverley and Chadstone- gathered at the High Street Road Uniting Church on November 21 to mark the 75th year of the United Nations and to honour the memory of Dag Hammarskjöld, the UN’s second Secretary-General: 1953-1961.  It took the form of a tree-planting.

Special welcomes were accorded to Rev Semisi and to Clovis Mwamba and his daughter and grand-daughter.  Clovis appears in our UN video**, speaking of being in the Congo when Mr Hammarskjöld was killed in a plane crash in 1961.  

Four people presented a short eulogy, with Margery Kennett and David Langley emphasising the Secretary General’s selfless and visionary peacemaking endeavours, cut short by his untimely death.  One such plan was for West Papuan self-determination, but with Hammarskjöld gone, it was not adopted.  As part of the speech, Clovis prayed that this wrong of fifty-nine years ago might be put to right.  Immediately prior to the planting, Semisi said, “May the seed of Hammarskjöld’s untimely death grow into an ever enlarging tree for peace, justice and healing for our world”. 

The Banksia Marginata was then planted by Faye and Grace in the bed at the n-w corner of the hall. Steve Carre read an excerpt from a Hammarskjöld speech and the group assembled to sing “What does the Lord require of you”, aka, Micah 6:8.  Words to live by, which Dag Hammarskjöld certainly did if his epitaph on the crash-site memorial is any guide:

“The only value of life is its content – for others.  Apart from any value it may have for others, my life is worse than death.  Therefore, in my great loneliness, serve others.”

** NB Our UN Video can be accessed via the following link 

 Alternatively you can just Google highstreetroadunitingchurchyoutube and it pops up or follow this link

Photos courtesy John Poppins