East Timor ties


Rev Ian Johnston with his creations

Two statues were recently constructed by retired Uniting Church minister, Rev Ian Johnston as part of an ecumenical partnership with the Catholic community in East Timor.

The East Timorese community has strong links with the Mount Eliza Parish of St Thomas More which works actively for the provision of aid, education and infrastructure in East Timor.

The statues were made at the request of Les Harper, of St Thomas More Parish, who has been instrumental in the partnership with the East Timorese Church.

The partnership previously involved assistance building and refurbishing church properties in Tequinomata village.

The statues were recently on display at the Mount Eliza Uniting Church.

“In 2008 we were asked to build and refurbish their primary school,” Mr Harper said.

“They then asked if their church and school could be called ‘St Thomas More Tequinomata’ named after the parish in Mt Eliza.

“The people then asked if they could have a statue of St Thomas More.”

Mr Johnston, a local artist, volunteered to undertake the creation of the life size statue of the saint.

A few weeks after agreeing to the work he generously offered to complete two statues – one of Christ as well.

Mr Johnston worked on the statues for more than 18 months.

“They have very sensitively captured the image of an East Timorese – how they would see Christ and St Thomas More,”
Mr Harper said.

“They will be shipped by container to East Timor in March.

“Needless to say the people of Tequinomata will be very pleased.”

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