Keep your hearts burning for sovereignty and treaty

Posted in Leadership

In his final national message, the 14th President of the Uniting Church in Australia Stuart McMillan is urging Church members to address the “unfinished business” of sovereignty and treaty for First Peoples.

“I started my Presidency with the Yolŋu words Bala limurr roŋyirr ŋorraŋgitjlil - ‘Let us return to the white ashes of the fire’,” says Stuart.

“It was a call to reflect on the way all the people of God, First and Second Peoples have been sustained by the Holy Spirit in their own way.”

He continues to invite members to consider what it would mean for the practices of the Church to honour First Peoples as sovereign and what it means to “stand with them in their pursuit of just terms treaties”.

A proposal to the 15th Assembly in July 2018 will ask the Uniting Church to affirm that the First Peoples of Australia, the Aboriginal and Islander Peoples, are sovereign peoples in this land.

“The conversation continues and the movement for Treaty is stirring again as the ashes of my time are cooling,” Stuart says.

“I pray that the Holy Spirit will rekindle the embers of the work done by both First and Second Peoples over the last three years so that we can together strive to achieve a more just Church and nation.”

The theme Stuart chose for his triennium as President was Hearts on Fire. He says it has been a joyful, challenging and inspiring three years as President.

In his final message, which will be released to coincide with the Uniting Church’s 41st Anniversary on 22 June, Stuart also honoured those who stood together with First Peoples in their struggles for their rights, the Uniting Church’s international church partners, and emerging young leaders in the Uniting Church.

“The love of Christ shared in all these relationships, these fellowships of reconciliation, is life-giving,” he says.

Quoting from Hebrews 10:24, Stuart urges Uniting Church members to fellowship:

“Beloved, let us continue to ‘consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, but encouraging one another’.”

“In your place, you are Church, you are called to be a fellowship of reconciliation to shine the love and light of Jesus in your communities. I have been deeply blessed to share with many of you the ways in which you have been led to do this.”

A video of Stuart McMillan’s message will be shared through the Uniting Church in Australia Facebook page prior to the 41st Anniversary of the Uniting Church on 22 June.

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Comments (3)

  1. Jance Merritt 14 june 2018, 14:51 Link
    I find it very sad that the Uniting Church advocates the continuance of dividing the peoples of Australia. The proposal to the 15th Assembly in July 2018 to ask the Uniting Church to affirm that" the First Peoples of Australia, the Aboriginal and Islander Peoples are sovereign peoples in this land" is based on racism. One cannot change history no matter how unfair it may seem to be. Apologies have been made for past deeds. The only way forward is to encourage actual reconciliation which is based on repentance {apology and acknowledgement} and forgiveness and the putting aside of bitterness. Feeding that bitterness is, not only unchristian but causes more division and misunderstanding. This country is not the same one that it was 200 years ago.
    There is no going back only going forward together.