ARARAT - High profiled Reverend ,Tim Costello, CEO of World Vision, delivered a message of hope and humanity to a packed St Andrews Uniting Church on Palm Sunday.
Mr Costello spoke for about half an hour on Palm Sunday in front of a crowd of about 180 people about finding hope against the darkness and explored what thoughts might have been going through Jesus' mind as he approached Jerusalem.
The Rev Dr Colin Honey, Minister of Ararat Uniting Church, said there was an excellent representation of people not just from St Andrews but other churches in Ararat, Stawell and Horsham and interested community people.
"The exciting thing was there were about 20 Catholics, a dozen from the Church of Christ, a dozen from the Anglican Church and others from the Salvation Army and the Lutheran and Presbyterian churches," he said.
"So it was an ecumenical gathering, as well as people from the community including one of our new councillors Glenda McClean."
Mr Costello held the audience's attention for the entire service as he linked the theme of Palm Sunday with his most recent visit to Rwanda.
He said how Rwanda has recovered and reconciled in the last 20 years after the appalling massacre when over a million people were slaughtered.
"He also talked about how there was significantly fewer starving children in the world now than what there was 10 years ago, which is interesting because people tend to think it is worse now," Dr Honey said.
"He spoke about individual cases and also about a global impact. There has been strong support from the federal government for World Vision and huge public support.
"Tim said that he sees that support as one of the main changes, that this generation up to the age of 40 is much more tuned in to the needs of the world."
Opportunity was given for those who attended to make a donation to World Vision, with $1160 given on the day along with $1000 from the St Andrews Trust.
Mr Costello's book 'Hope' also sold 30 copies at $20 each, to bring the grand total of $2760 raised for World Vision with more money promised.
Dr Honey said Frank Kitchen, who is part of the St Andrew's Uniting Church congregation, was the person who secured Mr Costello's visit.
"Frank is a former school headmaster and very well connected and interested in these issues," he said.
"He has a friendship with Tim and asked him to come along, and it just so happened that he had Palm Sunday free."
Dr Honey said the day also featured children waving palm branches, kindly donated by the Ararat Rural City Council, to mark the occasion.
"With it being Palm Sunday Tim spoke about the steady step-by-step process that Jesus took to Jerusalem and that step-by-step process can be related to dealing with world challenges," he said.
"While the process might been seen to be slow, it is about taking it step-by-step.
"The people were generally delighted with the day, he is a very good speaker and relates very well to people.
"One of the important lessons that I took out of his service was not waiting until you have paid off all your bills to help others."