Local church creates Commonwealth Games stars

Working on stars at Penguin Uniting ChurchThe Penguin Uniting Church, located in a small North-West Tasmanian coastal town, will send 10,000 stars to the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

They will not be stars of the sporting kind but, rather, the woven kind.

The eight-pointed stars will form part of the One Million Stars to End Violence project, which was begun by Maryann Talia Pau as a personal response to the tragic rape and murder of Jill Meagher, in the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick, in 2012.

They will be displayed in a Games arts installation which aims to highlight the scourge of violence in society.

Penguin Uniting is one of 100 star-weave communities worldwide, and the only one in Tasmania. They have committed to produce 10,000 stars each by the middle of next year.

“The Million Stars project is an opportunity for us to be light and hope in the world and to make something beautiful and powerful together,” Ms Pau explained.

“We know that domestic violence, violence on our streets, racism and harassment is happening right now and often it is difficult to know what to do to help those who are suffering and to help prevent it.

“It’s an opportunity to remind each other that we can do something about it and not feel paralysed by all that is broken with humanity.”

“The long-term goal is to be light and courage for each other and to not act violently with our words and actions, but with passion and generosity.”

Church member Jeanne Koetsier said she was pleased the local Uniting Friends group had supported the project and had worked hard to spread the word as well as teaching others how to weave the stars.

It has struck a real chord within the Tasmanian community with groups and individuals offering their support both financially and by a commitment to produce the stars.

Mrs Koetsier said the project was also a valuable community building exercise.

“We see people sitting around a table and just talking and that is a wonderful thing,” she said.

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