Where do we start telling the story of Australia?

Posted in Culture

On Sunday 19 January Uniting Church congregations are encouraged to observe a Day of Mourning. At the 15th UCA Assembly in 2018 Proposal 28 requested that a Day of Mourning occur annually on the Sunday prior to the commemoration of Australia Day on 26 January. The intent of a Day of Mourning is for reflection and discussion about the effects of invasion and colonisation on First Peoples.

Historical truth-telling is important in acknowledging the long-standing legacy of Australia’s First Peoples. This year’s National Australia Day Council TV advertisement recognises the mixed opinions about Australia’s shared history. The ad poses the question,”Where do we start telling the story of Australia? ”Prominent Nauiyu elder Aunty Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann features in the ad. She responds to this question stating, “By listening to each other.”

Aunty Miriam-Rose has written extensively about how deep listening improves relations between First and Second Peoples. Remarkably, the Old Testament lectionary reading on the Day of Mourning (Isaiah 49:1-7) encompasses the themes of listening and serving the marginalised.

The reading describes how God’s servant has been gifted many beneficial personal qualities. We then learn that God’s servant must use these personal qualities to aid the oppressed. Although written many years ago, the message that God calls people to serve and listen to others is still very relevant today.

Observing a Day of Mourning is an excellent way in which we can deeply listen to the stories and experiences of First Peoples. It is also an opportunity to serve by showing solidarity with ongoing truth-telling about Australia’s past. In many ways, this may be confronting but can deepen our understanding of ongoing challenges experienced by First Peoples. With hope, it may lead to increased dialogue between First and Second Peoples.

The Uniting Church Assembly has produced a comprehensive Day of Mourning worship resource. The Day of Mourning 2020 worship resource is downloadable from the Assembly’s website here. Whether your congregation wishes to make the Day of Mourning the basis for the whole service or just a part, we are all encouraged to incorporate a Day of Mourning into our services on Sunday 19 January.

More information is available on the Assembly website, or contact Tarlee Leondaris, Covenanting and International Mission Officer by email tleondaris@sa.uca.org.au.



Change the Heart Prayer Service

Common Grace extends an open invitation for all to attend the #ChangeTheHeart Prayer Service. This is an ecumenical prayer service led and organised by Aboriginal Christian Leaders and brings Australian Christians together across denominations. The service educates Australian Christians about the true history of these lands now called Australia. Further details listed on the Common Grace website here.

When: Friday 17 January 2020 at 7:00pm

Where: Richmond Baptist Church - 141 Richmond Rd, Richmond SA 5033

Enquiries to Elliot Keane: office@richmond.org.au



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