The week includes a public prayer vigil on the lawns of Parliament House in Canberra at 10.30am tomorrow morning (Tuesday 18 March) . Individual congregations around the country are also conducting related services and activities, under the banner ‘A Destiny Together’, up until Sunday 23 March.
Uniting Church President Rev. Professor Andrew Dutney will lead the Canberra prayer vigil with Rev. Rronang Garrawurra, Chairperson of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress.
“We are coming together to express our grief that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples still experience injustice, racism and exclusion in this country,” said Rev. Prof. Dutney.
“We are also performing this act of public witness because we believe that recognition, justice and reconciliation are possible when we work together.”
Church members, including many from remote Aboriginal communities, are coming to Canberra from all over Australia to attend. As part of the hour-long service, participants will be asked to mark each other with ash as a sign of mourning and will celebrate Holy Communion as a symbol of hope.
Speaking in his native Yolngu language, Rev. Garrawurra has urged all Church members to come together in solidarity to support the event.
“We are all one people living together in this land. We need to listen to each other and truly accept one another,” said Rev. Garrawurra.
“We need to work together in a spirit of cooperation, sharing together to witness to God’s work of reconciliation amongst us. If we continue as we are, separated from each other through racism and injustice, we will not be walking together on the path God intends for us.”
The week of prayer and fasting is the Uniting Church’s response to the pain expressed by its Aboriginal members as a result of the imposition and effect of federal policies such as the NT Intervention and the Stronger Futures on their communities.
More information is available at http://assembly.uca.org.au/adestinytogether