Healing and Hope - A Prayer Vigil and Community Forum on the Voice to Parliament

By Emelia Haskey

Posted in News

Last Thursday, 28th September, community members, Indigenous leaders, and members of the Uniting Church gathered at the Port Augusta Football Club to attend Healing and Hope, a prayer vigil and community forum about the Voice to Parliament.

The prayer vigil was held for three hours, and invited people of all persuasions to come together to pray for hope, healing, and reconciliation, regardless of the outcome of the Referendum. Attendees were invited to write prayers of hope, create art pieces out of clay, and engage in quiet reflection in the sacred space. The event was organised with the help of Port Augusta local John Bethell, who led the vigil.

Later in the evening, Uniting Church Moderator Rev Peter Morel hosted a community forum, with speakers including Aunty Rev Dr Denise Champion, Uncle Charlie Jackson, Allen Edwards and Executive Director of Churches Together SA, Rev Anne Hewitt.

Senator Karen Grogan also attended the event, and spoke in support of the Voice to Parliament, reflecting on her own experiences working with Indigenous people at the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission.

The event was well attended by Port Augusta locals including First Nations’ leaders/traditional owners, and visitors from Adelaide, with respectful and fruitful conversations occurring about how the Voice will impact Indigenous Australians, and how it will work to advise Parliament. Rev Dr Denise Champion’s video ‘No Voice, No Choice’ was shown, where she reflected on her journey and the consequences of not being listened to.

Afterwards, attendees shared a supper and came together at the end of the event to give a prayer of thanks.

Thanks were also extended to those that attended the prayer vigil and forum and to the community of Port Augusta; and to those that helped set up and pack down the venue and assisted with other preparations.

As we move ever close to the Referendum, it is important that these events continue to be held around Australia to further educate people about the Voice and bring together people from both sides of the aisle to engage in helpful and thoughtful conversation.

For resources about the Voice Referendum and to view Rev Dr Denise Champion’s video please visit this link: UCA SA - Voice to Parliament Resources

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