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Apostle for Peace returns to NZ for Easter

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Apostle for Peace returns to New Zealand for Easter

Canon Paul Oestreicher will be preaching at St Matthew-in-the-City at Good Friday and Easter morning services. Archdeacon Glynn Cardy is deeply honoured to welcome this remarkable “Apostle for Peace and Reconciliation” who is Canon Emeritus and retired Director of the Centre for International Reconciliation at Coventry Cathedral; founding Chair of Amnesty International; Vice President, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament; Quaker Chaplain to the University of Sussex and a lifetime worker for peace and social justice.

Canon Oestreicher is an outspoken critic of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians, in spite of having a German Jewish father.. At the age of seven he experienced first hand the Nazi pogrom of Kristallnacht that forced his parents to go into hiding. He and his parents were fortunate to be among the 1000 Jews allowed to immigrate into New Zealand in 1939 for the price of £2000. His grandmother, who hoped to follow, was not so fortunate. She died in the holocaust.

Living in Dunedin he suffered from the stigma of being both a “Hun and a Jew” although his family were practicing Quakers. While studying politics at Otago University he became an Anglican. After post-graduate study in Germany he was ordained a priest, serving most of his ministry in England. In 1985 he was elected the Bishop of Wellington, but his election was not sanctioned by New Zealand’s bishops at the time because of his views were considered too radical. In retrospect, Canon Oestreicher has expressed relief at this outcome. He has used these years to continue his focus on reconciliation and peace issues.

In addition to his work on behalf the Palestinian peoples he has been a strong advocate of for nuclear disarmament and has worked bringing reconciliation between the people of Dresden who suffered the greatest loss of life of any city and the English whose RAF firebombed them during World War II. He recently represented Coventry Cathedral at the opening of the rebuilt Frauenkirche, Dresden’s famous cathedral, destroyed during the bombing.

Canon Oestreicher will preach at the 10:00am Good Friday Service on 10 April and at the 8:00am and 10:00am services on Easter Sunday, 12 April.

On April 11 he will be interviewed on Kim Hill’s National Radio morning show.

ENDS

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