One of seven foundations in this vision document expressing the Uniting Church vision for a Just Australia is to have First Peoples at the heart of our church and nation.
A First Peoples Heart - Our Vision:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, nurtured and sustained by God before invasion, are celebrated at the very heart of what it means to be Australian. First Peoples’ sovereignty is affirmed, First Peoples have a voice in the decision making of our country and are living out their right to self-determination.
As First and Second Peoples, we walk together, creating socially just and culturally safe relationships, listening and learning from one another.
This resource is suitable for discussion or for election forums with candidates and as an advocacy tool. The full Vision for a Just Australia document covering other justice concerns of the UCA can be found here.
Day of Mourning
Across the Uniting Church we observe a Day of Mourning on the Sunday before Australia Day to lament the ongoing effects of the invasion and colonisation of Australia’s First Peoples.
The Day of Mourning is an observance that was endorsed at the 15th Assembly in 2018 at the request of our sisters and brothers in the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC)
Acknowledgement of Country is an ancient protocol of respect. For the UCA it is an important expression of:
- the Covenant between the UAICC and the UCA
- the Preamble to the UCA Constitution
- the affirmation of the Sovereignty of First Nations Peoples by the 15th Assembly 2018
Included here is a general resource with various suggestions for Acknowledgement of Country. On this link you can also find 10 different language versions together with English for Acknowledgement.
In 1994 the UCA entered into a formal binding Covenant with the UAICC. The words of the statements together with the painting form the ‘covenant instruments’.
“The Church celebrates this Covenantal relationship as a foretaste of that coming reconciliation and renewal which is the end in view for the whole creation.” These final words from paragraph three of the Basis of Union capture the why for the ten paragraphs that precede them in the Preamble to the UCA Constitution. The theology, particularly express in the first three paragraphs is profound and warrants deep reflection and engagement. This theology beyond being about justice for First Nations Peoples and their cosmologies/theologies invites the breath of the culturally and linguistically diverse UCA into a profound conversation.
There is no doubt that the Preamble makes some bold claims, and raises significant theological issues that need further exploration in the life of the church. The essays in this volume touch on some of these issues, sometimes around the question of history and sometimes in terms of the theological conversation which shapes and influences the way we read that history and its place within the providence and life of God. They are offered as a serious exploration of some of the theological issues that confront the church as it decides how (if at all) this Preamble fits into its life.
In 2014 the UCA call the whole Church to a week of prayer and fasting for justice for First Nations Peoples. There was a particular concern for the negative impacts of the Federal Government’s NT Intervention. Many 100’s met together on the lawns of the Parliament in Canberra and were led in a prayer vigil and the Eucharist by the President Rev Prof Andrew Dutney and Rev R Garrawurra, Chairperson for the National UAICC. These resources provide greater detail and offer prayer that continue to be important as the Church lives out this destiny and advocates for justice for First Nations Peoples.
Covenanting Action Plans
The Assembly Covenant Action Plan (ACAP) was launched in NAIDOC Week 2021. This inaugural ACAP seeks to give ‘shape’ to the UCA’s binding covenant relationship for the national body of the Church, the Assembly. It gives direction to all business units of the Assembly in the formation of strategic and action plans for their boards and respective staff teams. It is a dynamic document, which will be regularly reviewed to ensure it is relevant, contemporary, and challenging.
Some Synods have launched Covenanting Actions Plans
NSW/ACT Synod also has this great website for more ways to support First Peoples. They have also produced this helpful document:
Queensland launched a CAP in 2019, for information about the latest version contact the Covenanting Officer Natalie Lewis.
Nungalinya College has been equipping Indigenous Christian leaders for over 40 years. The website has stories from Indigenous leaders, reflections from various Indigenous ministries as well as a shop for purchase of Indigenous art.
Sovereignty Papers President’s Nation Conference 2017
With a core team of thought leaders, creators and campaigners, Common Grace delivers a range of services including events, consulting, education and practical resources designed to bring Jesus and justice to the centre of everyday life. Collectively, and through its leadership, the movement is raising a generous Christian voice in the public conversation.
These series of reflections on 1 Corinthians 13 and Ephesians and the Assembly theme Dwelling in Love by leaders from Nungalinya College invite us to explore different types of dwelling from the perspective of First Nations Christians. This study will draw you into the wisdom of First Nations Christians through an introduction to the Yolŋu world view, creation, art, leading, acting and serving. It will give you ancient yet fresh insights into faith and discipleship. Use the guide to go deeper into the reflections.