Today is National Sorry Day

Posted in Culture

National Reconciliation week (27 May - 3 June) starts on Wednesday and will feature Reconciliation Sunday on 31 May. But first we need to take a moment for National Sorry Day, which happens to be today, 26 May.

Tarlee Leonardis is the Covenanting and International Mission Officer within the SA Synod’s Mission Resourcing Team. She has put together a video with a call to action for all of us - a way to 'step up' on National Sorry Day and beyond. There is more about the 'stepping up' campaign available here.

As well as the video is an article Tarlee wrote for New Times, which was published in the April/May 2020 edition of the magazine. The article, which is published below the embedded video, provides a great explanation about, as well as a personalisation of, National Sorry Day.

“Why should I be sorry?”

 Tarlee Leonardis

Twenty-five years ago an inquiry commenced into the forced separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families. Two years later the Bringing Them Home Report was published.

The Report made fifty-four recommendations acknowledging suffering of the Stolen Generation children and their families. Recommendation 7A advocated for a national ‘Sorry Day’ to be observed annually, commemorating the history of forcible removals and its effects. Subsequently, National Sorry Day has continued annually on 26 May.

My mother was an Aboriginal child, forcibly removed from her birth family. Second People will often ask me about National Sorry Day. The prominent question is, “Why should I be sorry?”

From my perspective the word sorry is an empathetic response to grief, similar to saying at a funeral, “I am sorry for your loss.” Sorry is also a word many First People associate with laying to rest loved ones such as ‘Sorry Business’. For many First People grief leads to spiritual loss.

The Bringing Them Home Report constantly acknowledged spiritual loss. National Sorry Day creates a space to acknowledge as well as to heal from cultural and spiritual loss. As First and Second People, we can journey into this space together.

Along with observing National Sorry Day, congregations can also celebrate Reconciliation Sunday on 31 May. This year Reconciliation Sunday is on the Day of Pentecost. The Letter to the Corinthians reading for the day, 1 Corinthians 12:3-13, talks about spiritual gifts.

This reading suits the reconciliation theme. It teaches us that spiritual gifts are unique and all equally valuable. Most importantly, one Spirit distributes all of these gifts. This National Sorry Day and Reconciliation Sunday the passage can empower us to acknowledge the deep hurt of forced separation. At the same time, it can encourage us to contribute our unique spiritual gifts to reconciliation.

Resources for Reconciliation Sunday are available on the UCA South Australia Synod website here.



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