This afternoon, Eternity will be written again at 3pm and will be best viewed from the Eastern Suburbs at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, Duff Reserve, Neilson Park, Bradley’s Head, Robertson’s Point Lighthouse and Fort Dennison.
Reactions from Sydneysiders after the word unexpectedly appeared in the sky this morning ranged from complete surprise to disbelief, bringing back memories of Eternity appearing on the Sydney Harbour Bridge as part of the 2000 millennium celebrations, with many people reflecting on more hopeful times.
This one-word sermon has been part of Sydney’s DNA for almost 90 years. It was first written on Sydney’s streets by Arthur Stace, in Darlinghurst outside the Burton Street Baptist Tabernacle after the John Ridley sermon ‘Echoes of Eternity’ in 1932 – the same year the ABC began broadcasting and the same year as the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Mr Stace’s identity was a mystery for 25 years, making newspaper headlines and capturing public imagination. The word Eternity was seen on our streets throughout some of the most significant moments in recent history including the Great Depression, the duration of WW2 and Don Bradman’s cricket career, the launch of television in Australia, Queen Elizabeth’s first Royal visit, the 1959 Billy Graham Crusades, Australia adopting decimal currency, and the introduction of the postcode system in Australia.
The longevity and consistency of Arthur Stace’s mission will feature in a new documentary being produced by the Australian Television & Media Group.
“The film will pay homage to Arthur Stace and his ministry throughout the 1900s, look at the impact this one-word sermon has had on individuals over the years, and celebrate the way Eternity continues to be embraced in Sydney, Australia and around the world today,” says Richard Attieh, the Executive Producer and Director.
Richard and his team are inviting the general public to share their Eternity Stories through the Eternity Film website (www.eternityfilm.com.au) and on social media – encouraging people to use the #eternity hashtag.
“I’ve been blown away by some of the Eternity Stories that I have heard over the past six months,” says Richard Attieh.
“We still have a generation of people who had a personal connection with Arthur Stace, and a second generation who caught glimpses of Arthur writing Eternity in the early hours of the morning, and remember seeing the iconic word written in chalk on their way to work, university and school in the 1950s-70s.”
“We can’t include every story in the film, so I want to curate as many stories as possible to capture this unique part of our history.”
There are also a number of community, cultural, arts, evangelical and educational initiatives planned to accompany the film, including an annual Eternity Day, Museum Installations, an historical walking app, tourism materials, a church response kit and education resources.
“This is more than a film,” says Richard Attieh. “We want to create opportunities for people to share their stories.”
The documentary will feature interviews with Ruth Ridley - the daughter of John Ridley who delivered the Echoes of Eternity sermon, Elizabeth Meyers, the daughter of Rev Lisle Thompson who discovered Arthur Stace as Mr Eternity, Christian author Roy Williams, Australian street artist and Christian minister Matthew ‘Mistery’ Peet, and representatives from the Baptist Church and the broader church community. It will also feature music from Colin Buchanan and Nathan Tasker.
The documentary is being independently produced by the Australian Television & Media Group with the support and backing of the City of Sydney Council, Documentary Australia Foundation, community partners, private financiers and corporate sponsors.
To find out more, visit www.eternityfilm.com.au/support