Sunday, November 8, 2020

WCC Ecumenical Prayer Cycle - Australia (8-14 November 2020)

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). 

There are two member association of DIAKONIA World Federation in Australia - Australian Anglican Diaconal Association (AADA) and Diakonia Uniting Church in Australia (DUCA). 

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?

Stolen lands,

At the colonisers hands,

Stolen connection,

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 Was

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?

Walk it

Feel it

Know it

Hear it

Honour it

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)

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