Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Christians around Australia are poised to have a new national voice with the impending formation of an Alliance of Indigenous Christian Bodies.
Rev Shayne Blackman, the National Administrator of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress of the Uniting Church, said a series of meetings to determine a collaborative pathway forward had already occurred with other Indigenous Christian bodies that were supportive of the concept. These meetings culminated in a 2-day conference in Sydney, 25-27 October.
“Indigenous Christian Bodies that participated in the historic meeting included the Churches of Christ, The National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission (NATSIEC), The Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC), Australian Indigenous Ministries (AIM), The Salvation Army Southern and Eastern Territory, The Anglican Church, Aboriginal Evangelical Fellowship (AEF), The Baptist Church and the Lutheran Church” Rev Blackman said.
“The process of forming an Alliance of Indigenous Christian bodies is in the preliminary stages of engaging key stakeholders as to how we will create what will be in effect a new national platform to respond to the aspirations, spirituality and issues of Indigenous Christians.
“In principle, a general consensus exists for this new alliance from members of the National Aboriginal and Islander Ecumenical Commission (NATSIEC) and the broader Indigenous Christian community for what will be called the National Aboriginal and Islander Christian Alliance.
“These members have articulated their desire for an increased capacity to provide ministry responses and to advocate for the rights and responsibilities of Indigenous Christians, who like the rest of the Indigenous population, are confronted with dire socio-economic outcomes.
“We are aiming to build upon and complement the solid track record and achievements of (NATSIEC) and the broader Indigenous Christian community but under some new operating principles and contexts that will enable us to better respond to the challenges and opportunities facing Indigenous Christians today” Rev Blackman said.