The Uniting Church hopes for a nation which acknowledges the rights of Indigenous Australians as the first people of this land, respects the land on which we live, and is committed to empowering Indigenous people to take control of their own lives and destinies. The Uniting Church is the first church in Australia to constitutionally acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia. The revised preamble to the Uniting Church’s constitution states:
As the Church believes God guided it into union so it believes that God is calling it to continually seek a renewal of its life as a community of First Peoples and of Second Peoples from many land.
At its 7th National Assembly, the Uniting Church formally entered into a relationship of Convenant with its Indigenous members, recognising and repenting for the Church’s complicity in the injustices perpetrated on Australia’s Indigenous community, and pledging to move forward with a shared future. Read the Uniting Church in Australia (1994), Covenanting Statement.
Recognition of Indigenous Peoples in the Australian Constitution Assembly Resolution 12.16.01—July 2012, Uniting Church in Australia
Support for Indigenous Peoples Thirteenth Assembly Resolution 12.16.03—July 2012, Uniting Church in Australia
Revised Preamble to the Uniting Church Constitution—2009, Uniting Church in Australia
Matters Affecting Indigenous Peoples—2009, Uniting Church in Australia
Covenanting—2000, Uniting Church in Australia
The Stolen Generations—1997, Uniting Church in Australia
National Day—1997, Uniting Church in Australia
Wik and Native Title Concerns—1997, Uniting Church in Australia
Covenanting Statement—1994, Uniting Church in Australia
UAICC Response to the Covenanting Statement—1994, Uniting Church in Australia
Walking Together is a set of resources designed to help Uniting Church members explore the Covenant between the Uniting Church and Indigenous peoples. It includes a study guide, videos and worship resources. The study sessions look at our past as a nation and a church and look toward the future as we seek a destiny together.
The Constitutional Recognition submission by the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress and UnitingJustice Australia. It draws on our own covenanting experience and constitutional change and recommends changes to the Australian Constitution that recognise First Peoples and that remove racist provisions.
The TEAR Reconciliation Kit is designed for small groups. Understand our shared history, seek a just tomorrow and take action today. It can inspire groups and individuals to connect with Indigenous people and to walk together.
Reconciliation Guide for Churches—a resource from National Reconciliation Week produced specifically for churches.
UnitingCare’s Guide to visiting Country
About FACE is a Faith And Cultural Exchange for anyone over 18 years of age. About FACE involves briefing, time living in Congress Aboriginal communities and debriefing. The program aims to create an ‘about face’ in the attitudes and lifestyles of participants, and to build relationships and bridges of understanding.
Churches Together Indigenous Peoples Partnership (CTIPP) helps churches work together for reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. CTIPP have organised workshops to help churches create a place that is inclusive and Indigenous-friendly and have collaborated with community organisations and other churches to host reconciliation events.
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission (NATSIEC) is the peak Indigenous ecumenical body and commission of the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA). Stay in touch with NATSIEC and keep up to date with current Indigenous affairs and receive information on matters such as Indigenous theology and prayer and worship resources by subscribing to NATSIEC’s blog.
Currently there are three issues which have significant implications for Indigenous congregations within the Northern Synod. The Synod has prepared a number of submissions and responses to the following issues; Northern Territory Intervention, homelands/outstations policy and Indigenous languages/bilingual education.
The Uniting Church has officially partnered with the Recognise campaign. The campaign aims to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution, and to remove racial discrimination from it. You can also read the Assembly resolution and submission on Constitutional Recognition prepared by Uniting Justice and the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress.
A national network of Aboriginal churches and community services sharing in ministry in outstations, remote communities, regional towns and major urban centres. The network is committed to develop self-determining Aboriginal Christian leadership and holistic ministry addressing spiritual, cultural, social, economic and political aspects of life.
The Assembly booklet Building Partnerships is for congregations, agencies, groups, individuals and organisations who wish to relate more closely to Indigenous people in Australia from a Christian perspective. The Assembly also has worship resources such as Sorry Day & National Reconciliation Week: Liturgical Resources. During the week 17-23 March 2014, the Uniting Church engaged in a week of prayer and fasting called A Destiny Together: Justice for First Peoples.
UnitingCare Queensland launched their Reconciliation Action plan (RAP) in February 2012 with a commitment to take positive action towards repairing the harm caused to many generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. UnitingCare Queensland Service Groups are also conducting a range of reconciliation initiatives in addition to work arising from the UnitingCare Queensland RAP for 2012 and 2013, including developing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Cultural Calendar 2014
UnitingJustice Australia has produced papers and submissions on issues such as the Northern Territory Intervention, Stronger Futures legislation and constitutional recognition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Their website has fact sheets and briefs on issues such as Indigenous health and policy.
The president on reconciliation
President of the Uniting Church Stuart McMillan has issued a Survival Day message, calling for a new national conversation about sovereignty for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. “For Christians, Christ’s love compels us to be truth tellers, ministers of reconciliation, daughters and sons of peace, and bearers of light and love,” said Stuart.