Celebrating National Reconciliation Week, the South Pacific Division (SPD) office had an entire week of morning worship dedicated to enhancing relations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from May 24 to 28.
Run by the SPD Ministerial Association (MA) department, the initiative aimed to celebrate First Nations culture and people, promoting greater respect and reconciliation with the wider Australian community. “This aligns with one of the SPD’s values—Unity in diversity—and with Jesus’ second great commandment to love your neighbour as yourself (Matthew 22:39),” said MA departmental assistant Sharon Curson.
With devotional thoughts given by the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Ministries (ATSIM) department team online from all over Australia, the program also featured five-minute snippets from the Australians Together video series.
“The series has been created from a non-denominational Christian perspective. The videos stimulated much interest and positive feedback. Many have gone on to watch the whole series at home,” said Ms Curson.
Darren Garlett, AUC ATSIM Director who led Monday’s worship commented, “Moving our church to an awareness of what is at the heart of indigenous issues is a significant step . . . and helps to forge stronger relationships and effective ministry outcomes for the church”.
A competition with quiz questions on ATSIM and local knowledge was also conducted during the week, and the prize winner received gifts from First Nations artists and ATSIM books. “Many learnt for the first time that Wahroonga [the suburb where the SPD office is located] means ‘our home’ in the original language,” she said.
“SPD office staff were blessed and enriched by the week’s focus on reconciliation. We look forward to working closer with ATSIM in the future, in fulfilment of Jesus’ great command to love one another,” said MA secretary Dr Darius Jankiewicz.