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Participants of Walking Together on Country. Photo: Supplied

Walking together on country

As part of the Queensland Synod’s ongoing commitment towards genuine reconciliation and its recently launched Covenant Action Plan (CAP), various Second Peoples from Queensland’s southeast visited Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) for a walk on country. Queensland Synod CAP Project Officer Erin Mawhinney reports.

On the Queen’s birthday holiday in early October, 17 people from the Uniting Church, the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) and Wesley Mission Queensland gathered at Cleveland to participate in Walking Together on Country at Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island).

Our guide for the trip was Aunty Ethel Reid, who has close ties with Minjerribah. New connections were formed over a relaxed afternoon and evening program, with cultural awareness training delivered on the Tuesday by Minjerribah Moorgumpin Elders in Council.

The aim of this trip was to build on some of our CAP goals of cultivating cultural awareness in our congregations and faith communities, and building intentional relationships with local Indigenous elders and community members, as well as strengthening the Covenant relationship one friendship at a time between members of the body of Christ, from both the UAICC and the Uniting Church in Australia.

Highlights of the trip included the relaxed time spent getting to know each other on the first day at beautiful Mooloomba (Point Lookout) where we also saw whales, dolphins and turtles. Meals were catered by some of the elders and were all amazing. Dinner on Monday night was a great time of fellowship and sharing of some of our hopes and joys and challenges in the covenanting space.

Tuesday was our cultural awareness training day, which began early. We were Welcomed to Country by Joshua Walker and Yulu Burri-ba, with a smoking ceremony and traditional stories and dances of the Quandamooka region. The Minjerribah Moorgumpin Elders were our instructors and drivers for the day.

We visited significant places on the island and learnt some of its history, heard stories and ate together. Morning tea and lunch were shared at Terra Bulla Leumeah, which is a now peaceful bush setting on the old Myora Mission site.

We departed Minjerribah with a lot to think about, including practical ways in which we might join with Christ’s call to the church in the work for justice and relationship and reconciliation of the whole of creation.

What did we learn? To be patient; to not just jump into the conversation with what you think might be the answer; to sit, to really listen.

The journey of reconciliation is not a thing to be fixed, or a box to be ticked on somebody’s workplan. It is a process and it might be slow going, but to do it properly requires time and patience, in working together towards our goals, in respectful relationship.

To learn more about CAP, visit ucaqld.com.au/CAP

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