This week is National Reconciliation Week, a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia. In 2019 the theme is “Grounded in Truth, Walk Together in Courage”.
Now, I recognise that there may be quite a few across the life of our church and the nation who don’t see that this is for them. They might be asking, “What does this have to do with me?”.
But I think that the journey of reconciliation and the readiness to listen more deeply to the Indigenous voice, the voice that has been connected with our country for 60 000 years, will lead to us becoming a richer church and society. We will literally become reconciled.
Throughout my term as moderator, I have spent a considerable amount of time in the north of our state and the communities that make up Calvary Presbytery. Having the upbringing and life that I have had, my capacity to understand what it is like to be dispossessed is limited. I can only experience it vicariously to a limited extent. The humiliation involved in that; the loss of dignity, the profound disorientation. There is a certain silence throughout society where we don’t speak about the atrocities of the past. I think we have to learn to speak about these events. Only by speaking and learning about what happened, will we be able to recognise and move forward in a better way.
Yesterday (29 May) in the Synod office we held our monthly staff meeting, which traditionally features a short devotion. On this occasion, our Covenant Action Plan Project Officers graced us.
Erin reflected upon the importance of relationships and why the Covenant Action Plan is an important milestone in the life of the Uniting Church in Queensland. Natalie shared her story as an Indigenous child, growing up in the 1970s in an adopted family.
Both of these stories were particularly moving, and I am truly excited about the church’s commitment and what this means to the future.
The Indigenous Covenant Leaders invited the second peoples of the UCA to walk with them, to share life and story together. That’s a wonderful invitation; a journey into a future based on love and respect; let’s take it.
National Reconciliation Week will run from the 27 May until 3 June.