The Jakarta Post
Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan and a congregation of thousands attended an Easter celebration at the National Monument (Monas) in Central Jakarta on Sunday morning.
Anies came to the event, which was held by an Indonesian Bethel Church congregation, at around 6 a.m., during which the congregation sang before preacher Gilbert Lumoindong gave a sermon.
In his speech, Anies said he received a letter from the church conveying its wish to celebrate Easter at the Monas. The request was granted immediately.
“Monas is a monument owned by all people. This was the area used by Indonesian citizens to gather for the first time after the declaration of independence,” Anies said as quoted by kompas.com.
He went on to say that he wanted to spread the message of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity), the country’s national motto.
“Diversity is a reality, a fact, and something that we have had ever since we were founded. The message [I want to convey] is unity, something that shaped Indonesia,” he added.
The chairman of the event, Tommy Sihotang, expressed gratitude over the city administration having allowed the church to celebrate Easter at the Monas. He said there were no political motives tied to the event.
“We came to Pak Anies and said that the event wouldn’t be political. Christians only want to worship and be grateful that Jesus had been resurrected,” he said.
Previously, the Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI) suggested that Christians celebrate Easter in their own churches to maintain the congregation’s focus and uphold the value of modesty associated with the event.
However, PGI spokesman Jeirry Sumampow said the body allowed churches to celebrate at the Monas as it did not have the authority to prohibit such an activity. (cal/wit)