Last Friday I had the opportunity to spend a day at the Grasstree Gathering.
About 150 Indigenous Christian leaders gathered over the weekend to encourage and support one another in the work they are doing with and for their people.
It was an inspiring event.
Artists like Safina Stewart spoke of their journey and what they are seeking to say through their artwork; we heard of the collaboration beginning between the North American Institute for Theological Studies and Whitley College in Melbourne, who are gearing up to run undergraduate and post graduate studies in Indigenous leadership and Indigenous theology.
Alphacrucis University is also working with Indigenous leaders to discover the common ground between Aboriginal spirituality and the Pentecostal expression of Christian faith.
We also heard of the history of indigenous theology here in Australia, where the Uniting Church got a good mention!
It was encouraging to see Joya, Nazareth, and Royston, from the Cape York Peninsula community of Napranum Uniting Church there.
Also down from Queensland was David Miller and Ravina Waldren from the Brisbane Catholic Diocese.
The Grasstree Gathering was particularly inspiring as an example of effective First Peoples engagement, which has been identified as one of the four Key Change Initiatives for the Synod office.
The church is committed to working together to ensure that First Peoples feel and remain fully engaged with its mission.
The church needs to hear that there are many encouraging things going on in the world of Indigenous Christian leadership; that these leaders are making great connections between the gospel and Indigenous spirituality, and that lives are being changed; formed and shaped by faith in Jesus Christ. Brooke Prentis and Aunty Jean are to be commended for their tenacity in making this such a significant event.