Mourning. It speaks to commemorating and acknowledging all we have to mourn since invasion took place. Not just the loss of life, but for all of the loss of culture, loss of land, loss of language. We know the power and the importance of grieving for people and things lost, and we believe we still need to speak these words.
At the 15th Triennial Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia, it was resolved to institute a Day of Mourning to be commemorated on the Sunday before Australia Day each year. This is a way that Uniting Churches remember together with our First Peoples the cost of settlement and its ongoing impact.
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>
Resources from Uniting Churches in SA:
Day of Mourning - Prayer of Confession (124 kb PDF)
Day of Mourning Sample Service: Pilgrim UC 2019 (911 kb PDF)
Australians Together also has some useful resources:
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 is a time to build mutually respectful relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Achieving reconciliation involves raising awareness and knowledge of Indigenous history and culture, changing attitudes that are often based on myths and misunderstandings, and encouraging action.
It was agreed in November 2006 that the Presbytery establish Reconciliation Sunday in Reconciliation Week annually, to be celebrated across the Church, and request Church Councils to include this day in their worship calendars. Reconciliation Week begins the day after Sorry Day (May 26th) and includes the anniversary of the 1967 referendum (May 27th) and finishes on June 3rd, sometimes known as ‘Mabo Day’, the anniversary of the High Court’s 1992 Mabo judgement which was a major landmark in the recognition of Indigenous land rights in Australia. It also recognizes the covenant relationship with the UAICC (Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress) of the Uniting Church in Australia.
For more information, please contact Congress Resource Officer Ian Dempster via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Resources for 2018
A Pilgrimage of Healing 2018 Flyer (11.9 mb PDF)
Tjirbruki Springs circa 1894 (856 kb PDF)
Tjirbruki Story (119 kb PDF)
The Three Spears (10 mb Powerpoint file)
The3SpearsText (213 kb PDF)
Below is a list of resources from previous years. These provide worship planners with alternative options. The resources may also be useful at other appropriate times during the year such as NAIDOC Week (5th – 12th July).
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 email@example.com 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