Aboriginal Christians take the lead this weekend
Church services and prayer events around Australia
“If we are going to retain the date of Australia Day, I want to suggest that we have to mark the day in a deliberate twofold manner, with lament and rejoicing on the same day,” the Christian commentator John Dickson writes in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald .
In a noticeable trend, along with varying degrees of lament, Aboriginal leaders are featured in a series of high profile Christian events around Australia Day.
Common Grace’s #changetheheart campaign (which runs each January) supports a call by Aboriginal leaders Aunty Jean Phillips and Brooke Prentis who invite “Australian Christians to acknowledge our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples as we remember our past and find a way forward together”. About 100 churches used their material last Sunday, with others planning to use it on January 27.
Special #changetheheart services also have been held around Australia this week in Uniting, Salvation Army and Anglican churches, as well as outdoor events.
Services will be held tonight (Thursday) at:
7pm – St Matthew’s Anglican Church, Upper Coomera, Queensland
5:30pm – St David’s Anglican Cathedral, Hobart
6pm – Pilgrim Uniting Church, 34 Paterson St,Launceston
- SOUTH AUSTRALIA
7pm – Adelaide West Uniting Church, Brooklyn Park,
6pm – St Matthew’s Church, Long Gully, Bendigo
7.30pm – Fisherman’s Beach, Mornington Peninsula
and on Friday:
7pm – West End Uniting Church, 11 Sussex St, West End, Brisbane
In Canberra, Aboriginal pastor Norman Miller – from the Cairns-based Tabernacle of David church – is leading prayer events on January 25 and 26.
“The Lord has given us a clear direction, based on Genesis 26 – the story of Isaac re-digging the wells of Abraham – to pray for revival in Australia,” Pastor Barbara Miller, Norman’s wife, told Eternity. The Canberra event’s emphasis will be on praying for a religious revival in Australia which would also transform how people groups treat each other.
“We are not campaigning to change the date but we understand that it is a difficult date for aboriginal people; January 1 may be more appropriate.”
Another key verse for the Millers is Genesis 50:20, which tells how God can turn bad things to good. “We are looking at turning things around.”
The prayer events will be held at Lifestream church in Wanniassa and they are backed by the conservative Christian group “The Canberra Declaration”. Senator Eric Abetz has endorsed the Millers’ call for a “freedom breakthough in prayer,” declaring Australia a great country because our “forebears founded it on Judeo-Christian principles.” Event detail are here.
‘Survival Day’ message by UCA
Uniting Church president Diedre Palmer and Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress leader Sean Weetra have produced a “Survival day Message”.
It was produced on Ngarrindjeri country in South Australia. “I urge Uniting church members to mourn with us and to commit to our covenant relationship” says Weetra.
The video accompanies liturgy for a special UCA “Day of Mourning” service to be held around Australia Day. The day of mourning will become a permanent part of the Uniting Church calendar.