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.
A brief discussion guide for Uniting Church members by Rev. Dr Chris Budden
The Uniting Church Assembly meeting in July 2015 determined:
that a signifcant priority for its life during the next triennium is to explore with Congress what it would means for the practices of the Church to recognise and affrm that First Peoples are sovereign Peoples. (Minute 15.08a)
Sovereignty is about honouring those who were here frst, and starting to negotiate a new way for us to occupy this land together. It raises many issues and questions, challenging assumptions and beliefs. Maybe if we can name what the issues are for us – what we are curious about, what we fear, what we want to know - we can have a more open conversation.
To read more, download the document: ChrisBudden Sovereignty Paper (101 kb PDF)
The Uluru Statement from the Heart was a national Indigenous consensus position on Indigenous constitutional recognition, which came out of a constitutional convention of 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander delegates.
The Uluru Statement was the culmination of 13 Regional Dialogues held around the country.
Find the statement here:
The Week of Prayer for Reconciliation and National Reconciliation Week (NRW) are held each year between 27 May and 3 June. These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey—the anniversaries of the successful 1967 referendum and the Mabo decision.
Reconciliation Week Pilgrimage of Healing
The pilgrimage of healing is run annually during Reconciliation week by the Covenanting team in Mission Resourcing. Each year, the campaign focuses on a different project within the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (Congress) in South Australia. This year the fundraising effort will go towards helping the Oodnadatta community to build their own church.
The Oodnadatta Faith Community has worshipped at the open air church ground under the sun and stars for nearly 10 years. The Oodnadatta community have a dream to build a multi-purpose church to use for regular worship and ministry. Draft plans are being prepared for the building. Your support can help turn their dreams into reality.
Donations for the Pilgrimage of Healing can be made to: Oodnadatta Building Fund. BSB 704095 Account Number 193668
Reconciliation Week Activities 2019
24th April – 1st June, 10am – 5pm
Exhibition: “Vietnam: One In, All In” at Tandanya, 253 Grenfell Street, Adelaide
10th May – 30th June, 10am – 5pm
“Kunyi June Anne McInerney: My Paintings Speak for Me”
At Hahndorf Academy, 68 Main Street, Hahndorf
22nd May – 2nd June, 10am – 3pm
“Same Like Yesterday” A story of Adnyamathanha women in the Flinders Ranges
Radford Auditorium, Art Gallery of SA, North Tce, Adelaide
Thursday 23rd & Tuesday 28th May, 10.30am – 1.30pm
Historical Walk at Warraparinga with a Taste of Native Foods
Contact 8357 5900 or email email@example.com
Thursday 23rd, 6 – 7pm
“A Cellar of Artefacts: Consciousness of the Colonial Past”
GO3, Napier Building, University of Adelaide, North Tce, Adelaide
Bookings online: https://historyfestival.sa.gov.au/33439 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday 24th May, 10am – 2.30pm, Tarnanyangga, Victoria Square, Adelaide
Stolen Generations Sorry Day event – This is an open event with music & speakers at the square
Saturday 25th & Sunday 26th May, 10am – 12 & 1 – 3pm
Sorry Day Weaving Workshops (for 10 – 18 year olds), Migration Museum, 82 Kintore Ave, Adelaide
Book online:https://historyfestival.sa.gov.au/33868 or email@example.com 82077570
Sunday 26th May 10am – 12, or 2 – 4pm
Kaurna Reconciliation Walk with Frank Wanganeen, from Aboriginal War Memorial, Victoria Drive, Adelaide. Costs: Adult $20, Child $12, Family $35. Book online at:
https://historyfestival.sa.gov.au/33577 or firstname.lastname@example.org 0417888550
Sunday 26th May, 11am 2.30pm
Walk from Blackwood UC to Colebrook Reconciliation Park, with celebrations at Colebrook,
Shepherd’s Hill Road, Eden Hills from 11.30am including music and dance. https://www.facebook.com/events/511457652715869/
Monday 27th May, 6.45 – 9am, Reconciliation Week Breakfast, Convention Centre
Bookings https://historyfestival.sa.gov.au/33615 email@example.com 84292902
NB This event may already be booked out
Tuesday 28th May, 5.30 – 6.30pm – Exhibition 27th May – 28th July, 9am – 5pm.
Launch of “Spirit Medicine”, Art Exhibition at Promenade Gallery A, Level 2, Flinders Medical Centre, contact 82047055 firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday 28th May, 10am – 12pm
“Aboriginal Cultural & Political History in Adelaide”
Tour starts at Reconciliation Plaza, Tarntanyangga, Victoria Square, Adelaide
Bookings: https://historyfestival.sa.gov.a/33859 email@example.com 82037749
Wednesday 29th May, 11am
“Whyalla: The Aboriginal Story” at Whyalla City Council, (Civic Building), Darling Tce
Whyalla, firstname.lastname@example.org 0419 212 077
Thursday 30th May, 1.30 – 3pm
Kaurna Cultural Walking Tour at Kingston Park, Tjilbruke Monument, Strickland Road,
Kingston Park. Bookings essential, (Maximum 20 people), Jenni Reynolds 82299999
Friday 31st May, 10.30am
Aboriginal Veterans Commemorative Service,
Aboriginal War Memorial, corner King William Road & Victoria Drive, Adelaide
Saturday 1st June, 8.30am – 5pm (from Adelaide), or 10.30am (from Murray Bridge)
Ngopun Ruwangk (Walking on Ngarrindjeri Country) with Sean Weetra
Bookings: Liellie McLaughlin 0437794410 or email@example.com, cost $80
Acknowledgements may be used at the time of gathering, whether for meetings or worship or celebration or lament. They can be used at the beginning of such times or during the proceedings or as a concluding act of remembering and consciously re-contextualising a community.
For examples of acknowledgement of country and first peoples visit:
Partners in Prayer prepared a devotional series for during the 40 days of prayer and fasting in Lent. The 40 Days Devotional includes the filmed testimonies of Indigenous people from many parts of Australia and Australian life. Each day a new devotional was be shared on the 40 days Facebook page, sharing stories of how Jesus has transformed the lives of Indigenous Australians, their families and communities.
Australians Together is a social movement which works to bring stronger communities and healthier relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Australian’s Together have designed a video series called Sharing our Story, which is designed as a resource for church small groups. The free four-episode DVD resource has been designed to help discover the shared story of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
National Black Congress: Ambivalence and Ambiguity
William W Emilson
Chapter 10 from Jione Havea’s (Ed) book: Indigenous Australia and the Unfinished Business of Theology: Cross Cultural Engagement, Palgrave Macmillan 2014.
This article identifies and explores a range of the issues which Congress and the Uniting Church are still/again dealing with. Emilson identifies and explores some of the big visions that were there at the beginning and also the contestations and complications of many of the issues, challenges and decisions that Congress and the Uniting Church are continuing to wrestle with.
“I’ve found it a really helpful article myself, and believe it would be useful to share among a number of other Congress folk and supporters of Congress. I see no other articles around that cover the matters so broadly and yet with significant depth.” Rev. Dean Whittaker
Following Jesus in Invaded Space: Doing Theology on Aboriginal Land
"I've puzzled about why there has been such a relatively sparse body of contextual and 'place-based' theology emerging from white Australia. Perhaps what has been lacking is the appropriate approach to the Australian landscape. I believe that Chris Budden's theology of 'Second Peoples' provides that approach. This book opens up a project that will hopefully animate a fresh, vigorous, and distinctively Australian theological conversation, especially between First and Second Peoples. But Budden's work is relevant to all of us who dwell on lands that have been invaded and occupied, and who are struggling to understand how to live the Christian tradition as inheritors of a legacy of conquest and continuing racism. This is an important contribution to imagining our future as a post-Constantinian church." Ched Myers, author of Who Rolled Away the Stone?
About the Author
Chris Budden is a parish minister of the Uniting Church in Australia, and an Associate Researcher in the Public and Contextual Theology Strategic Research Centre at Charles Sturt University. He is the author of a number of articles in public theology.
More information and orders
Yarta Wandatha is available from Uniting Church SA's Mission Resourcing for $25.
For more information or to order the book, please contact Bev Freeman at firstname.lastname@example.org or on (08) 8236 4243. Please note credit card facilities are not available.
- 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