Along with New Zealand, the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Prayer Cycle has a focus on Australia this week. (see previous post on Diakonia Aotearoa New Zealand Association, DANZA).
Rev Christa Megaw and Rev Judy Knowling are members of the DIAKONIA Asia Pacific (DAP) Executive Committee, and Christa is also on the DIAKONIA World Executive Committee. Rev Sandy Boyce is President, DIAKONIA World Federation and remains in close contact with DAP EC to support and resource.
|Deacon delegates from Australia to Fiji July 2019|
A creed for Australia
We believe that this ancient land
with its unique creatures
is a precious gift from a loving God
whose mercy is over all creation.
We believe in God’s care for the people who treasured it
through un-numbered generations;
the One who grieves in their suffering
and rejoices in every noble aspiration.
We believe in God’s compassion
for the patchwork of refugees
who for two hundred years have come to this continent
looking for a place to call their home.
We believe in God’s steadfast love
for this nation and all its children;
that he is creating a new people from many races,
colours and gifts, to fulfil a high destiny.
We believe that the best way forward
is the way revealed by Christ of faith, hope and love,
where no needy person is neglected
and no bidding of the Spirit ignored.
(Source: Bruce D. Prewer)
We have wilderness and dry land at the heart of Australia.
We may not venture into it very often
but we know it is there,
it has its place on our maps.
More familiar to us, however,
is the wilderness in our own hearts,
the empty spaces in our own lives,
the desert of longings that engulf us.
Wilderness is a hard place,
but also a place of beauty and grace,
revealed by its sunsets and sunrises,
the glow of ancient rocks,
the moon shining on the sand.
Do not be afraid
of the desert places in your life,
for it is here
that the Good News
may be heard most profoundly.
May it be so.
(Source: adapted, Ann Siddall, Stillpoint Spirituality Centre)
The 8th November is the start of NAIDOC Week in Australia (postponed from July due to COVID19). NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. NAIDOC Week celebrations highlight the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Its origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920′s which sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
The following prayer was written by Alison Overeem, UAICC Tasmania (Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress).
Always was. Always will be.
The Lands I walk on
And the Lands that walk within me
To know the history of First Peoples
Is to know the importance of place,
To know what being on country is,
Is to know and feel the connection
To want to hear the stories and feel the stories is our call to all,
To want to know and hear the Lands
as a gift, to our being and knowing,
To know and hear from First Peoples, is how we as First and
Second Peoples are called to the growing
To know the significance and compass that abounds us,
as First Peoples through place,
is to know our links to the Land surpasses all time and space
But in knowing that connection
Is to know and reflect on, dispossession and its true realisation,
To hear the Land relation, is a call to know
and reflect on the impacts of invasion and colonisation
What is country, what is milaythina ningee (Mother Earth) in the
now and in the forever time for First Peoples?
At the colonisers hands,
By forced removals,
Under the myth of protection.
The Land is us,
And we are the Land
Imagine and reflect on what happens when that is taken away?
May our Churches and agencies discern,
For it is in Nature’s classroom that we truly learn
Learn the struggle and the survival of a people and place in realisation,
Hear the cries of our people at the hands of colonisation
Reflect on Always was Always will be,
Not in words, but in action too
And embrace the message to unlearn and be free,
Not just in words but in hearts, souls and spirits too
And reflect on the privilege of the Land walked on and with:
Know its stories
Feel its stories
Feel its call
And feel its heart
The Land is my compass
It connects me
It connects me to place past present and future too
It’s who I am
It’s who we are as First Peoples
And in the discerning of justice for Land return,
It’s the knowing of the importance of Place,
The healing of Place is the place to Learn.
It’s in knowing this connection to Land, through this lens of
discernment the true lessons are learned
Honour the land and the stories
sitting within Country wherever you may be,
And be in the knowing and the growing of:
Always Will Be
As you gather
Can you hear the stories of place?
And as you walk and gather and stand?
Can you hear the connection in the forever time
of First Peoples’ Connection to Land?
Sit and be
With what it means to truly honour,
The words “Always was, Always will be”
(Alison Overeem, UAICC Tasmania, Leprena, November 2020, NAIDOC week)