National Reconciliation Week is a time to reflect on how we are doing as a church, to follow Jesus’ call to love God and love others, writes Erin Mawhinney.
In our modern Australian context, it sits between the anniversary of the 1967 referendum (27 May), and Mabo Day (3 June).
This year’s theme is “Grounded in Truth – Walk together with Courage”.
At the 34th Synod in Session, the Covenant Action Plan was launched. This plan has built on many years of discussion and hard work, leading up to the founding of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) in 1985, and also in the Covenant relationship that Uniting Church and UAICC undertook in 1994.
The Covenant Action Plan is the Queensland Synod’s first Reconciliation Action Plan. It was written over an 18-month period, by members of the Synod Covenanting Working Group, in consultation with many stakeholders across the entire life of the church. The vision for this work is that over the next ten years, the Uniting Church in Queensland, as an expression of being centred in Christ and agents of healing, hope and reconciliation in this world, will fully express the Covenant with UAICC in all that we do, such that there will be strong, healthy and intentional relationships between First and Second Peoples, throughout and beyond the gathered church.
Our hope is that this work we do together will be based on the fundamental principles of:
- A posture of relationship-building
- A posture of taking time and patience, alongside holding in tension identified and measurable outcomes,
- And a posture of ‘building bridges from both ends’
Over the next year and beyond, there will be opportunities for each of us to be immersed in the initiatives of the Covenant Action Plan, including opportunities for cultural awareness learning, the shaping of Indigenous theology and spirituality into our shared worship, capacity-building for Indigenous and non-Indigenous together in our governance structures, participation in Walks on Country, story-telling and collaborating.
Erin Mawhinney is a Project Officer (Covenant Action Plan) working out of the Queensland Synod office.