Arts & Culture

Bali 9 Chaplain coming to Bega with a message about life and death

Ian Campbell 1 July 2019

Christie Buckingham. Photo: Bayside Church

Pastor Christie Buckingham from Melbourne’s Bayside Church ministered to Bali 9 prisoner Myuran Sukumaran, who was executed with Andrew Chan in 2015.

The short film, ‘Execution Island’, released earlier this year, is a dramatisation of the experience Christie shared with Mr Sukumaran as they walked together on his last night on Nusakambangan Island, Indonesia, four years ago.

Christie is coming to Bega for the Festival of Open Minds in September with a deep commitment to the power of forgiveness, redemption and the human spirit and a real fear that more Australian’s will face the firing squad in Indonesia.

‘Execution Island’ runs 12 minutes and will be shown at the Festival of Open Minds.

Since 1994, Christie and her husband Rob have been Senior Ministers of Bayside Church, with campuses in Cheltenham and Frankston.

Christie desires to see people set free and reach their full potential. She is a gifted leader who has worked tirelessly in mobilising groups of young adults and adults to act and relieve injustice.

She has helped establish the Bayside Forever Home in South Africa, a home that cares for children that have been abandoned; she has assisted prisoners in Kerobokan to find purpose and meaning through supporting computer and craft programs and remains a spiritual advisor for prisoners on death row.

Christie campaigns alongside other organisations such as Reprieve and Amnesty to see a global moratorium on the death penalty, a message she will bring to the Festival of Open Minds.

In speaking of witnessing the execution of Mr Sukumaran and Mr Chan, Christie told Studio 10,”I was just blown away at their bravery and courage. Whilst it was a scene of horror it also became a very holy place to me because I saw these boys living and dying with values that I only dream of.”

“He [Sukumaran] had redeemed his life, started out not so well but finished strong.”

Christie came to Australia from Ireland in 1986 and worked at Youth Alive Australia. During that time she witnessed their youth conferences grow from a few hundred to well over 10,000.

She understands the pressures of juggling roles of being a mother to three growing girls, Senior Pastor of a thriving dynamic church and a speaker.

Christie and Rob have three daughters, Georgia-Grace, Paris and Trinity.

Christie is passionate about empowering people to relieve injustice – lookout Festival of Open Minds!

The theme for Open Minds in 2019 is ‘People With Oomph’ inspired by Bega Valley song man Damon Davis and his song of the same name.

“People with oomph – they’re not lyin down. People with oomph – spread the good life. People with oomph – keep their own style. People with oomph – walk mile after mile,” Damon sings.

Aside from Christie Buckingham, the 2019 Festival of Open Minds line up so far includes:

  • Tim Costello, Chief Advocate, World Vision;
  • Nas Campanella, blind Triple J newsreader;
  • Aly Khalifa, founder of Oceanworks, focused on harvesting plastic waste from our oceans;
  • Emma Booth, para-equestrian competitor, represented Australia at the 2016 Rio Paralympics;
  • Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall, comedian, joke writer, grew up in Tathra.

More announcements will be made in the coming weeks, stay in touch via the festival website.

Early bird tickets and lunch options are on sale now via Eventbrite.

Thank you to our Festival partners – Julie Rutherford Real Estate at BermaguiBega Valley Commemorative Civic CentreBega Valley Library ServiceBega Valley Regional GalleryTathra Beachhouse ApartmentsBega Valley Innovation HubNorth of Eden Gin, and Tilba Real Dairy.

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