Archbishop Kanishka Raffel has thanked the Abdallah family for activating a community conversation about forgiveness, on the second i4Give day.
A service at The King’s School chapel was packed on Sunday, February 6, as members of the school communities of King’s and Tara, local residents and dignitaries, including the Prime Minister and Premier, joined the Abdallah and Sakr families in celebrating the power of forgiveness.
Antony, Angelina and Sienna Abdallah and their cousin Veronique Sakr died when a drink- and drug-affected driver hit them with his vehicle on a footpath at Oatlands on February 1, 2020.
The Abdallahs’ declaration that they have forgiven the driver was the inspiration for the i4Give Foundation.
The children’s schools, King’s and Tara, have supported the families and King’s headmaster Tony George and his wife Dr Jen George hosted the second annual church service in the school chapel.
“I'm so happy to see our community and church coming together and celebrating i4give with us,” Leila Abdallah told the congregation. “And that we are able to honour Antony, Angelina, Sienna and Veronique through the i4give Foundation – and most important[ly] to honour God and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“It has been a tough journey. We are heartbroken,” Mrs Abdallah and her husband Danny told Jen George during the service. “We are amputated, learning to live with that amputation, but I believe God is giving us strength and wisdom and love.”
In his address, Archbishop Kanishka Raffel said the community conversation about forgiveness was “rare and beautiful and powerful”.
Forgiveness is a practice for everyone but, for Christians, forgiveness takes us to the heart of the gospel and the heart of God
“Forgiveness is not turning a blind eye, it is not glib. It is the eye that sees clearly but is not defeated or controlled by evil, sin or wickedness.” the Archbishop said. “Forgiveness is powerful because it does not perpetuate evil or unleash cycles of recrimination and hate but brings it to an end and a full stop.
“Forgiveness is a practice for everyone but, for Christians, forgiveness takes us to the heart of the gospel and the heart of God,” he added. “Jesus teaches his disciples to pray, ‘Our Father in heaven, forgive us our trespasses’. He is reminding us that we are people who need forgiveness and God is the one who grants forgiveness.”
The service came at the end of a week of forgiveness activities organised by the foundation. See www.i4give.com
Main photo: Danny and Leila Abdallah speak to Jen George at the service