A Common Dream

Posted in Culture

Participants of the Common Dreams Conference held in July asked all governments and churches to support the Uluru Statement from the Heart. A media release has been distributed, asking organisations for their support.

Rev Sue Ellis, Moderator of the Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of SA responded to the media release (listed below), "The Uniting Church deeply values our Covenantal relationship with the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress and has already endorsed a commitment to the Uluru Statement. We are pleased that more emphasis is being made to support action."

The Covenanting Committee of the UCA Synod SA, also commends this ecumenical conference’s media release (below) and believes this is a good opportunity for congregational discussions around justice for First Peoples and their connection to the land.

Further resources: 

  • Read the Uluru Statement from the Heart here.
  • Members of the Covenanting Committee are currently reading Rainbow Spirit Theology by George Rosendale, which is available through bookstores or on the web. An introduction can be found here.
  • The UCA SA Covenanting webpages have many resources here.

MEDIA RELEASE – Common Dreams Statement

"Participants of the Common Dreams Conference, held in Sydney on 11-14 July, have made a call on all governments and churches to support the Uluru Statement of the Heart.

The Common Dreams Conference draws together people from Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the world, and is inclusive of Christianity and other religious and spiritual traditions. The Conference explored ways that progressive spirituality and religion can contribute positively to the common good, with common dreams for a better future.

The 2019 conference participants endorsed a Statement in support of the Uluru Statement of the Heart.

We the participants in the Common Dreams Conference, from diverse places and faith traditions, in 2019 hereby

  • accept and celebrate the Uluru Statement from the Heart
  • recognise the sovereignty of the Aboriginal peoples as enunciated in the accompanying Uluru Statement from the Heart
  • acknowledge their rich creation spirituality that continues to make a vital contribution to the diverse culture of Australia


We call upon Federal, State and Local Governments and all people of Australia to drastic action

  • to call for constitutional change to embrace this sovereignty
  • to exercise restorative justice (Makarrata) in its full extent as defined by Aboriginal Peoples
  • to enshrine a First Nations Voice in the Constitution via the treaty process.

Dr Anne Pattel-Gray, a keynote speaker at the conference, welcomed the support of the Common Dreams conference participants ‘to walk beside’ the First Nation peoples of Australia in seeking restorative justice. Dr Pattel-Gray said that restorative justice involved steps of acknowledgement, apology and restitution.

Distinguished international guest speaker Matthew Fox, an internationally acclaimed proponent of Creation Spirituality and eco-justice activist, said that it was important to listen closely to the voice of Australian First Peoples. Fox stated that Western societies had much to learn from indigenous people about the care of Earth and their deep spiritual connections with the cosmos, and it was important to listen and respond to their suffering, saying ‘the treatment of indigenous people around the world parallels our treatment of Mother Earth’.

The participants of the Common Dreams Conference also challenged and called all faith communities of Australia to action. The Conference Statement challenges the churches of Australia

  • to endorse the Common Dreams Statement
  • to urge the governments of Australia to accept and implement the Uluru Statement from the Heart
  • to activate the Treaty process so that there is ongoing justice for the First Peoples of Australia

Dr Norm Habel, a keynote speaker, renowned biblical scholar and Professorial Fellow at Flinders University, says there is a strong biblical basis for churches to support restorative justice for Australian First Peoples. This includes the Genesis account of Abraham, who recognised and swore by the God of the indigenous people of Canaan, made allies with the Canaanite peoples, and made a treaty with one Canaanite community.

Dr Habel said that the Statement recognises the Aboriginal people as custodians of this land, and their rich spiritual awareness. He said the Conference Statement recognises the historical collusion of governments and churches that has led to the dispossession and cultural and physical destruction of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ culture and requires urgent rectifying through the steps of restorative justice and the treaty process.

For further information, contact

Dr Anne Pattel-Gray (email – annepattelgray@gmail.com )

Dr Norm Habel, (email – nhabel@bigpond.com )

Dr Margaret Mayman, Pitt St Uniting Church"

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Comments (3)

  1. Janice Merritt 29 august 2019, 17:04(Comment was edited) Link
    My heart bleeds because of the adoption of this «statement». and its sovreignity push.
    All citizens in this land have equal rights and access to parliament. there is no place for one group of any ethnicity to have to special privileges. That is Racism.

    Parliament has already apologised for the sins of the past.

    There will be no reconciliation without heartfelt forgiveness. a letting go of bitterness and resentment.

    An acceptance that 200 years ago the old order in Australia changed. There were many injustices then amongst settlers, convicts and indigenous. It was a different world. and there was much grief in all strata of societies of that time.

    The «owners» of that day lost their sovereign rights. Their descendants did not inherit them. The old order passed and a new one evolved.
    There is no going back.

    We now need to work together to build an inclusive society. No Whites, no blacks, just Australians all.
    1. Janice Merritt 10 september 2019, 00:00(Comment was edited) Link
      I cannot support this divisive action. This nation belongs to God and we are ALL custodians in this day and age. We ALL have a connection with this land, practical and spiritual.
      I understand the sorrow of the present day indigenous people whose ancestors lost sole inhabitation of this land over 200 years ago, but this is a different time and we newer arrivals should not be second class citizens in modern Australia.

      History cannot be altered. We have apologised for our ancestors actions, Now is the time for forgiveness to be actioned so we can all go forward together.

      It is NOT fair to all to try and set up an alternative «sovereign' nation. And the church should not be party to this injustice.