All three morning services (8am, 9.30am and 11am) on Sunday 30th May included reference to Reconciliation Sunday and Reconciliation Week.
Reconciliation Sunday is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements with our Aboriginal sisters and brothers, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.
The 2021 Reconciliation Week theme, More than a word – reconciliation takes action, asks people to take their awareness and knowledge, and use it as springboard to more substantive, brave action. For reconciliation to be effective, it must involve truth-telling, and actively address issues of inequality, systemic racism and instances where the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are ignored, denied or marginalised. Yes, there is greater support for reconciliation from Australian people than ever before, but we must continue to be determined in order to achieve the goals of the movement – a just, equitable, reconciled Australia. Justice stands at the heart of God. Justice is nothing other than love which seeks to understand, resist and overcome the structure of oppression. Bearing witness to the love of God involves working for justice.
As part of the 9.30am service (which can be viewed on Youtube here), Mr Allen Edwards was invited to play the didgeridoo and to offer Welcome to Country, following the video of the song by Geoff Boyce (Listen to the Whisper), sung by Tim and Aly Solly. We have used the video many times before in the service, but it was particularly emotive this time. Tarlee Leondaris (Covenanting Officer, SA UCA Synod) offered the message. A new book, Realisations and Reflections: Stories of transformation by members of Pilgrim Uniting Church engaging with Australia’s First Peoples*, includes contributions by some of the 8am and 9.30am community and edited by Geoff Boyce. Geoff Boyce wrote a new song, Realisations, for the occasion, which was also launched on Reconciliation. Very meaningful. The book was launched by Hon Kyam Maher, Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. The new book can be purchased from the Pilgrim office, or via Lulu online. All funds raised will go to support Covenanting projects.
The Reconciliation Sunday service (and book launch) was a very memorable and moving occasion.
This prayer was used in the Reconciliation Sunday service:
Together, let us create brave space.
Because there is no such thing as a “safe space” —
We exist in the real world.
We all carry scars and we have all caused wounds.
In this space:
We seek to turn down the volume of the outside world.
We amplify voices that fight to be heard elsewhere.
We call each other to more truth and love and reconciliation.
We have the right to start somewhere and continue to grow.
We have the responsibility to examine what we think we know.
We will not be perfect. This space will not be perfect.
It will not always be what we wish it to be.
But, it will be our brave space together,
and we will work on it side by side.
(Source: Micky ScottBey Jones, adapted)