Resources from Doug and Isabel Hewitt, Synod Faith & Unity Committee
Throughout this letter and a further letter below, are resources available for this year’s celebration of the Week of Prayer of Christian Unity, observed in the week leading to Pentecost Sunday. The dates are 28th May to 4th June and the theme is RECONCILIATION, with the text from 2 Corinthians 5: “The love of Christ compels us ….”
This year the dates coincide with the Week of Prayer for Reconciliation, during which Christians focus on the challenge of reconciling with the nation’s First Peoples. More about that theme further on in this posting.
Provided here is a liturgy for ecumenical worship during that week. Other resources include a poster, reflections for each of the eight days which are valuable for private or group use, and sermon notes on the scripture passages chosen for the worship. The latter two attachments are related to an ecumenical project of the churches in the Newcastle and Central Coast region on NSW, initiated by the Ecumenical Social Justice Network of Anglican, Catholic and Uniting Churches. Here also is a resource for those organising.
Week of Prayer for Reconciliation – Standing together with the First Peoples of Australia
“Give Us a Sign” has focussed on a different theme each year, and this time it is Standing together with the First Peoples of Australia. As the letter attached here explains, church communities can use their noticeboards and other forms of communication during the month of May, to draw attention to significant anniversaries during National Reconciliation Week at the end of May. As explained in the letter (also reproduced below) it is 50 years since the 1967 Referendum as well as other important national events on the path to reconciliation.
Download here examples of the messages which can be placed on noticeboards during the weeks of May leading up to the anniversaries. Those taking part are encouraged to share their noticeboard messages on the “Give Us a Sign” website.
With continuing prayers for true reconciliation with all our people, be they members of the First Nations or later comers over more than two centuries, Doug Hewitt, Synod Faith & Unity Committee.
“Standing Together with the First Peoples of Australia” – scroll down the letter below for further resources and how to get involved…
“Give us a sign” campaign
Your church or school community can be involved in Standing Together with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters, Australia’s First Peoples.
The annual Give Us A Sign campaign emerged out of conversations within the Anglican, Catholic and Uniting Churches in the Hunter and Central Coast as a powerful initiative to highlight Social Justice issues across the wider community. Previous campaigns have promoted peace and called for greater compassion for asylum seekers.
This year our country acknowledges the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum, which permitted the Federal Parliament to make laws for First Peoples and included them in the Census. This is an appropriate time to reflect on both what has been achieved and what still needs to be addressed in relation to the First Peoples of Australia. There are significant questions for our nation to consider including constitutional recognition, sovereignty and treaty, and social, economic and other disadvantage experienced by many First Peoples. It is important we mark National Sorry Day (26 May), Mabo Day (3 June) and National Reconciliation Week (27 May – 3 June).
To raise awareness of this important milestone and the work that still needs to be achieved, the Give Us a Sign campaign is calling on Churches and Christian organisations to Stand Together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the First Peoples of Australia.
From 1st May to 4th June simply post a message at least one day EACH week on noticeboards to show that you Stand Together with the First Peoples of Australia. We note the signs we are suggesting have been endorsed by some of the First Australian church leaders from our communities.
How do we get involved?
- Choose a message and display it on your noticeboard. Select from the list of signs available from our website www.giveusasign.org or create your own.
- Take a photo of your sign and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org along with the name of the church or group you’re from. A member of our team will then upload the image to the Facebook page and the website.
- Individuals can also participate by taking a picture of themselves with a message to show that they Stand Together with Australia’s First Peoples and email it to email@example.com for uploading.
- Follow the Give Us A Sign Facebook page (link on the website).
You are encouraged to let your local Land Council and other local First Australian groups know what you are doing and why. Church leaders may also like to preach on Standing Together with First Peoples of Australia. There are worship resources on the website www.giveusasign.org .
Thank you for your support.