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How Christians Can Engage in Reconciliation Week

By: Georgia Free

This week is National Reconciliation Week – an opportunity to celebrate and build on the relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the wider community.

Key points:

  • National Reconciliation Week has its roots in Christianity.
  • Bianca Manning is hopeful that many Australians will continue to advocate and be a voice for change for the Indigenous community.

But despite the celebration, in the light of the Voice to Parliament referendum there is a sense of deep pain and grief among many Indigenous Australians. So, how can we move towards true reconciliation? The answer may lie with Christians.

Bianca Manning is a Gomeroi woman and an emerging young Aboriginal Christian Leader from Newcastle. She is also the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Justice Coordinator for Common Grace – and she joined Hope Drive ahead of Reconciliation Week to discuss how Australian Christians can get involved.

Bianca Manning is a Gomeroi woman and an emerging young Aboriginal Christian Leader from Newcastle.

Bianca Manning is a Gomeroi woman and an emerging young Aboriginal Christian Leader from Newcastle.

Rooted in prayer

National Reconciliation Week actually has its roots in Christianity. In 1993, during the International Year of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, a national prayer movement called the Week of Prayer for Reconciliation was started. Supported by Australia’s major faith communities, churches across the country gathered in prayer for reconciliation between Indigenous Australians and the wider community.

National Reconciliation Week actually has its roots in Christianity.

“[It’s] an amazing legacy for Christians to have taken the lead in this movement of reconciliation,” Bianca said.

“We are called to reconcile people to God.”

More formally, Reconciliation Week was also formed from a key recommendation outlined in the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody – which recommended creating a process of reconciliation between Aboriginal people and the wider community.

“An opportunity to keep going”

Although many Indigenous Australians are still experiencing a deep sense of grief and rejection in the fallout of the referendum result, Bianca is hopeful that many Australians will continue to advocate and be a voice for change for the Indigenous community.

“Coming out of the referendum, there were so many Australians who were mobilised and engaged who hadn’t engaged in Aboriginal justice before,” Bianca said.

Bianca is hopeful that many Australians will continue to advocate and be a voice for change for the Indigenous community.

“I believe that many people took another step on their own journey towards reconciliation.

“This Reconciliation Week is an opportunity to keep going.

“Now more than ever, there is that urgency for change in our communities on a practical level, but we need change of perspectives, understanding and greater levels of love.

“We need to continue that momentum [from the individual level to the government level] so that change can come.”

Bianca is hopeful that many Australians will continue to advocate and be a voice for change for the Indigenous community.

Bianca is hopeful that many Australians will continue to advocate and be a voice for change for the Indigenous community.

How can I help?

  • Sign up on the Common Grace website to get free reconciliation resources for individuals, families, schools and churches. These include prayer prompts, deep listening exercises, creative activities and songs led by Aboriginal Christians.
  • Engage in prayer individually and with your family.
  • Follow Common Grace on social media to engage with and uplift Aboriginal Christian leaders.
  • Watch NITV(National Indigenous Television).
  • Attend Common Grace’s ‘Let Justice Flow’ Conference in Canberra on 16-18 November 2024 to advocate for Indigenous justice. Conference experience includes visiting Parliament House for meetings with politicians to advocate for change.

For more Reconciliation Week resources, visit the Common Grace website.

 


Article supplied with thanks to Hope Media.

All images supplied.

About the Author: Georgia Free is a broadcaster and writer from Sydney, Australia.

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