Listening to First Nations insights
Three reflections from the UAICC National Conference 2023 shared for National Reconcilation Week
May 31, 2023
National Reconciliation Week (NRW) culminates this Saturday with Mabo Day on 3 June, commemorating Mer Island man Eddie Koiki Mabo and his successful efforts to overturn the legal concept of “terra nullius” which denied Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people ownership of the land they had inhabited for some six millennia.
"they had already encountered the Creator God before the colonisers arrived..."
The Uniting Church’s Revised Preamble to the Constitution (2009) states that through this land God nurtured the First Peoples of this country, that they had already encountered the Creator God before the colonisers arrived and that the same love and grace revealed in Jesus had sustained First Peoples giving them particular insights into God’s ways.
At the heart of our covenant relationship with the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress is a commitment as First and Second Peoples to seek to live out a fuller expression of our reconciliation in Jesus Christ, and for us Second Peoples, to listen to the insights of our First Nations siblings.
At the recent UAICC National Conference, three Congress members presented on what it means to be a First Nations Christian today, reflecting on their faith in Jesus and their deep spiritual connections to Country and creation.
With their permission, we have shared videos of these reflections from Rev Deacon Maratja Dhamarrandji (Yolŋu), Aunty Rev Dr Denise Champion (Adnyamathanha) and Rev Tim Matton-Johnson (Palawa).
Rev Deacon Maratja Dhamarrandji shares in his Djambarrpuyngu language about the 'strong agreement' he finds in Yolngu ways of knowing and his faith in Jesus. He speaks about the Yolgnu understanding of justice as the restoration of right relationships and recompense when relations are broken.
Aunty Rev Dr Denise Champion speaks about the affirmation of the Revised Preamble that God was already here and known by her people and the freedom this brings to her life.
Rev Tim Matton Johnson speaks about the truth-telling yet hope-filled theology of Aboriginal chief Woureddy and reflects on the ray of light and unexpected joy he finds in God’s creation.
We encourage you to spend time watching these videos as we mark National Reconciliation Week. They may prompt opportunities for discussion and sharing in your community.
The videos will be added to “Going Deeper” section of the Living the Covenant Locally resources. Find out more here: https://uniting.church/livingthecovenantlocally/
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