The observance of a Day of Mourning was endorsed by the15th Assembly in 2018 arising from a request of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC). In the spirit of our Walking Together as First and Second Peoples, and as an expression of the Uniting Church’s commitment to justice and truth-telling, we have declared the Sunday before Australia Day as a Day of Mourning. This Day of Mourning Worship Resource invites all Uniting Church in Australia congregations to hold worship services that reflect on the effects of invasion and colonisation on Australia’s First Peoples and our identity as a nation. This worship service is an annual observance for us as the Uniting Church. Remembering our history is an important part of our Covenant relationship and our journey toward justice, healing and a new relationship as First and Second Peoples. The service reminds us of the dispossession and violence against First Peoples, and laments that as a Church and as Second Peoples we were and remain complicit. We acknowledged this in our Church when we apologised to the Stolen Generations in 1997. We acknowledged this by revising the Preamble to our Constitution, which was approved by the 9th Assembly in 2009. We acknowledged this in affirming First Peoples as the sovereign peoples of this land in 2018. Our declaration of a Day of Mourning allows us to stand together in remembering the truth of our history, and honouring the culture of Australia’s First Peoples, their families and the next generations.
The Assembly have produced a range of resources to assist congregations and faith communities in standing in solidarity with the First Peoples of these lands. Find the resources on their website>
On the Sunday before Australia Day, Uniting Church congregations across the country hold worship services to reflect upon and lament the effect of the invasion and colonisation of this nation upon First Peoples.
The observance of a Day of Mourning was endorsed by the 15th Assembly arising from a request of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC). All Uniting Church in Australia congregations are invited to hold worship services that reflect on the effects of invasion and colonisation on Australia’s First Peoples and our identity as a nation.
Interim UAICC Chair Ps Mark Kickett said the Day of Mourning is the beginning of a journey with Uniting Church and UAICC and First Peoples across the country.
"It is monumental to have the Uniting Church stand and affirm who we are, our connection to country, our sovereignty, our life that has existed long before colonisation. Not just that, but the challenges for First Nations people having to survive, to find a voice, and to fight for justice that we as people desire," Ps Kickett said.
UCA President Dr Deidre Palmer said it was important to acknowledge and remember the true history of our country.
"As Second Peoples it is important for us to confess our complicity in the historical and ongoing disposession of First Peoples. When we see racism it is really important that we call that out and contribute to the healing of our relationship as First and Second Peoples through lament, confession and seeking forgiveness," Dr Palmer said.
UCA President Dr Deidre Palmer and UAICC Interim Chair Ps Mark Kickett will together lead a Day of Mourning service of worship on Sunday 24 January 2021, livestreamed from the Nunyara Conference Centre in Adelaide so people from across the country can join. The livestream will be available on the Uniting Church in Australia Facebook.
Watch The Introduction Video From The UCA President And UAICC Interim Chair.
We invite people who are able to host a Day of Mourning in their own communities to use the Day of Mourning Worship resource and adapt it to their own local context.
To help record the Uniting Church Synod of South Australia’s participation in this event, please register your Day of Mourning event by clicking below. UCA Assembly Resourcing Unit staff may contact you to share your stories of marking this important day of lament.
- Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress
- National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission (NATSIEC) of the National Council of Churches in Australian (NCCA)
- Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission (HREOC) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner
- National Sorry Day Committee
- Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR)
- Reconciliation Australia
- UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
- Narana Creations
- Frontier Services
- Aboriginal Resource Development Services (ARDS)
- Nungalinya College