Phil Edwards, CEO of Vision Christian Media, interviewed several people, including Ken Duncan, Keiran Multa, Ray Martin, and Sam Childers, the Machine Gun Preacher, who shared the impact being at the launch of the Forgiveness Cross on Memory Mountain had on them. They described it as an emotional experience that was beyond words and people’s expectations.
Memory Mountain is located near Haasts Bluff in the Northern Territory, almost right in the centre of Australia. In 1923, four Indigenous evangelists brought the message of the Gospel to the Inkuntji community. In 2009, the local elders shared a vision with Australian photographer Ken Duncan to build a cross on the mountain.
Ken Duncan then established the Walk A While Foundation in 2010 to help the Indigenous people of central Australia tell their stories using their creative gifts and to equip them to engage in employment opportunities. He had no idea that the vision to build a cross would entail a 20-metre steel cross that would be seen for hundreds of kilometres at night when illuminated.
As mammoth as the project was, the locals persevered despite the obstacles and challenges. To them, it was worth all the effort, struggle and hard work to honour what Jesus did for all humanity by shedding his blood on the cross. The Cross will remain a symbol of forgiveness on Memory Mountain until the end of time and bring opportunities to share the Gospel with those who visit the community.
Click the video link on the featured image to watch the full clip featuring interviews and stunning views of this momentous event. Here are some quotes from the video:
Ken Duncan, Australian Landscape Photographer and Founder of Walk a While.
‘I believe there’s revival starting in this nation, and it’s happening with the indigenous people,’ said Ken. ‘The good thing about this cross is that it’s not about a denomination. It’s about Jesus.’
‘The Aboriginal people have had to fight hard against bureaucracy and all sorts of challenges. They’ve had to stand up to people and say, “No, this is our cross.”’
Keiran Multa, Ikuntji Elder and Site Manager, Memory Mountain
‘It makes me feel really proud to have black and white come together. It doesn’t matter what nationality you are; an image of God is one.’
Steve Grace, Australian Country & Gospel Singer-Songwriter
‘When the Roman Centurion held the spear up and speared Jesus to see if He was dead, and out of his body came water and blood, for Aboriginal people, that’s as significant as Christ hanging from the Cross. Because that’s a reminder to them that spearing was all about punishment, and here’s Jesus taking the spear and saying, “There’s no more need for unforgiveness. There’s no more need for payback. You are forgiven in Me.’
Scott & Timinga Connell drove 22 hours straight from the Kimberley.
‘We’d seen some photos of the Cross, but we just had no idea when we came across the corner and saw it; it just blew us away. We were very emotional. It is absolutely beautiful,’ said Timinga.
‘To see it get lit up, it took a while for those emotions to settle down. You just cannot imagine it for those who haven’t been to central Australia,’ said Scott. ‘It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.’
‘Earlier on, I had some serious doubts about the Cross, in terms of whether it was wanted locally or whether white fellas were once again giving black fellas a bit of God. I came and spoke to the people, and clearly, they wanted a wad of God. So I joined the board of Walk A While, and you look down the road, and there’s the Cross, which is amazing. If you were a betting man, you’d have to say, it wasn’t going to happen. The black fellas worked with Ken Duncan building it. They worked in 45-degree temperatures, and they took that steel up there and helped build it. There are very few Aboriginal success stories apart from sport, so to get something like this where the community got together and had a dream and to see an Aboriginal dream realised, it’s really important.’
Dennis Woodward, Forgiven Cross Project Manager. Dennis had a construction firm that employed Indigenous people. They became his very good friends, so when it came time to realise their dream of building the Cross, they asked Dennis to come out to Memory Mountain and make it a reality.
‘Every item, every nut, bolt, screw had to be very well planned because you couldn’t run out of something and say, “I’ll run down to Bunnings.” Every bit of steel had to be bought out here from Adelaide. It was a very big project,’ said Dennis, who considers the Ikuntji people his brothers. ‘They helped us build the Cross up here. They were up there, climbing up into the ladders. They were given good training. We made sure they knew what they were doing, and they did the work with us.’
‘It’s amazing. When I first went up on that mountain, you could feel the presence of God. And everyone I’ve spoken to since who’s been up there, the workers included, they feel this presence. Everyone’s been touched by it. It really is something amazing,’ said Dennis.
Sam Childers (Machine Gun Preacher)
‘When you get out of the car, there’s just something in this place you feel that you don’t feel anywhere else around the world,’ said Sam. But he said it was one thing to stand below the mountain and look up at the Cross, but a completely awesome experience to stand beside it on top of the mountain. ‘It’s something else to get up on top with the cross. There are no words for it.’
Images and footage courtesy of Chris Tangey