MEMBERS of the Border's Muslim community were embraced at an Albury church service yesterday that marked the terrorist attack on two New Zealand mosques.
Islamic Society of Albury-Wodonga secretary Mohammad Hussain and colleague Syed Qadri were invited to attend as a gesture of solidarity by St Matthew's Anglican Church rector Father Peter MacLeod-Miller.
A silver fern banner graced the front of the altar, which was topped by 50 candles to commemorate each life ended in the gun massacre in Christchurch on Friday.
"It means a lot to us because we find we're not alone," Mr Qadri said of the invite following the service.
"It makes us feel we are a part of them and the actions of a few individuals does not mean an entire community or entire state agrees with their ideas."
Mr Hussain added: "It does not matter which religion you follow, life is life."
The pair joined up to 100 others at prayers at Lavington's mosque on Friday, unaware of the Christchurch tragedy.
Mr Hussain said this Friday "we'll pray a special prayer for the loss of life in New Zealand".
In his service, Father MacLeod-Miller offered prayers for Christchurch, "especially for the Muslim community in that city, in their pain and grief in the midst of evil".
"We pray for those who today begin the long road to recovery - those deeply injured and fighting for life; those who have witnessed unspeakable horrors; those who heroically sought to save lives and those already working to rekindle the embers of hope," he implored.
Added to the candles on the altar, worshippers each lit tapers and the anthem God Defend New Zealand played on screens bearing images of Aotearoa.
Independent candidate for the federal seat of Indi Helen Haines had been the prearranged guest speaker as part a Lent lecture series.
"I acknowledge the tragedy that has unfolded in New Zealand and I stand with you this morning in grief and solidarity and I especially extend my heartfelt compassion to our friends from the Islamic council of Albury," Dr Haines said.
Her speech centred on the need for more women MPs and she said she takes inspiration from former president of the Global Fund for Women Kavita Ramdas.
"She says 'we need women that are so strong they can be gentle, so educated they can be humble, so fierce they can be compassionate, so passionate they can be rational and so disciplined they can be free'," Dr Haines said.
"And in the last 24 hours if ever we have seen the embodiment of that quote we have seen it in the great woman leader that is Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand."