Shared service proposed

Mornington Methodist Church organist and choir master Emeritus Prof Colin Gibson holds the...
Mornington Methodist Church organist and choir master Emeritus Prof Colin Gibson holds the Lampedusa Cross. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.

A shared religious service with members of the Methodist and the Muslim faiths is being considered to dedicate a specially-made cross to refugees.

Made on a Mediterranean island where refugee boats have been shipwrecked, the Lampedusa Cross arrived at the Mornington Methodist Church on Friday.

Part of Italy, Lampedusa is near the coast of Africa, and is closest to Tunisia.

Organist and choirmaster Emeritus Prof Colin Gibson said the cross would be officially dedicated when the next group of refugees arrived in Dunedin, in August.

Refugees and members of the Muslim faith would be invited, and it was hoped a Muslim clergy member would help officiate.

It is believed to be the first Lampedusa Cross commissioned by a New Zealand organisation.

The crosses are made by a carpenter on the island, Francesco Tuccio, who was moved by the plight of refugees who perished at sea.

At first keepsakes for refugees who had lost family members, they are now commissioned by churches and institutions such as the British Museum and the Vatican.

Mr Tuccio sees his crosses as a "symbolic protest''.

"I wanted everyone to know about the problems and the suffering of these people, to bring the message to the outside world,'' Mr Tuccio said in a press release.

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