Day of Honour gives thanks to unsung Ipswich heroes
They are two words that are laden with meaning and for the past 17 years have been the cornerstone of the 'Day of Honour' service at Ipswich's Cityhope Church.
At a service held on Sunday, those words of gratitude were spoken in honour of local politicians, police, firies, ambos, SES volunteers and those involved with the rural fire brigade.
The genesis of the Day of Honour started after a conversation between Cityhope Church Senior Pastor Mark Edwards and his father, former Ipswich MP Llew Edwards.
"It has been going for 17 years and it originally started because my father said to me, in essence, that he would very rarely get an encouraging letter from churches," Mark Edwards said.
"That just pricked my conscience. I thought 'why aren't we encouraging political leaders for the contribution they make to the community?', because behind the scenes they are, in the majority, hard working men and women.
"After a couple of years we felt strongly that we could extend this to another area where encouragement wasn't given frequently, and that was emergency services.
"So we extended it to police, fire, ambulance, SES and rural fire brigades - five entities.
"The day purely means 'we say thank you for those people being involved in the community'."
In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 the Apostle Paul encouraged the congregation in Greece to "give thanks in all circumstances", so the tie-in with the Day of Honour being held at the Cityhope Church is appropriate.
Hundreds of people attended the service.
"Those in the emergency services are the hidden heroes of our community," Mr Edwards said.
"We also wrote two odes - one to political life and one to the emergency services - and those odes were framed and presented to every single member of the emergency services and every single politician that was there.
"It was a very moving occasion for those to be read out."
Mr Edwards conducted the service and Blair MP Shayne Neumann, who has supported the event from the start, spoke at the event attended by Acting Mayor Paul Tully, councillors and local MPS.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Deputy Commissioner Mark Roche also spoke, as did Queensland Police Service (QPS) Assistant Commissioner Tony Wright.
Each year at the service an individual or organisation is honoured specifically.
"On Sunday we took the opportunity to honour the whole of the SES in Ipswich," Mr Edwards said.
"There were over 40 members there and we took the opportunity of honouring them for their service to Ipswich over decades."
Mr Edwards said the positive outcome of expressing gratitude, a tenet of Christianity, was not to be underestimated.
"It is a very simple thing to say 'thank you' and there is a power in that," he said.
"That it why for 17 years we've had police officers, of all ranks, and everyone else coming back every single year.
"It is an opportunity for our church to say 'thank you'."