Reconciliation Week 2019
“Grounded in Truth, Walk Together with Courage”
National Reconciliation Week started in 1993 as the Week of Prayer for Reconciliaton.
The week connects the anniversaries of two milestones in our national journey of reconciliation:
- On 27th May 1967 a successful referendum recognised the citizenship rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- On 3 June 1984, the Mabo decision of the High Court recognised their rights and connection to the land.
The theme for 2019 is 'Grounded in Truth, Walk Together with Courage'. Our Territorial Leaders have written nine prayers to span these two milestones with expressions of hope for the future.
Christians who have been on a personal journey of reconciliation with God know echoes of these past and future hopes from their own experience. Jesus, who is truth, reconciled us to God, revealing our citizenship of his Kingdom. Sin is defeated, but its trauma and effects are still seen in this world and in our hearts. We pray for reconciliation and truth still as Jesus taught us, that God’s will be done on earth as in heaven.
And the truth is that being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage, despite the legal gains of the past, continues to mean you have a shorter life expectancy, worse health outcomes, lower education levels and lower average income than average Australians. The 35 suicides of First Nations People so far this year is a stark reminder that the rate remains six times that of the whole population.
Who better than The Salvation Army to commit to this continuing reconciliation journey? The outcome we are committed to through our strategy, to "actively journey and partner in mutual respectful relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-indigenous peoples for our mutual flourishing" will be grounded in truth, because of the one who is Truth.
The Federal Government “supports a process of truth telling as part of our nation’s journey to reconciliation. A truth telling process would acknowledge the history and experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians – and the impacts and consequences.” 80 percent of Australians also support this process. It is a great time for these prayers.
Let’s all start to take extra steps on this journey during National Reconciliation Week 2019.
“Reconciliation is about a relationship, and you can’t reconcile if you don’t have a relationship. The relationship has to be the truth telling, grounded in truth. There’s no point going to reconciliation if you don’t know what the truth is, what the narrative is.”
– Lucy Davis, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Co-ordinator QLD, Territorial Mission Support Team.
Check out the June edition of Others magazine for Lucy’s article about reconciliation.