Friday, 01 March 2019

Tributes flow for beloved Minister

The Uniting Church came together at Darwin's Casuarina Uniting Church on 21 Feb 2019 to give thanks for the life and witness of the late Rev. Jeffrey R Garrawurra.

Presidents, Moderators and General Secretaries past and present joined Rev. Garrawurra's family and former colleagues from the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress to share wonderful stories of his faithful service.

Current President Dr Deidre Palmer preached on Matthew 5:1-16 and Romans 8:35-39.

"In his hunger for justice, in his humililty, in his work for reconciliation, he reflected the light of Christ," said Dr Palmer.

"His light shone before others, giving glory to the God he loved and served." 

"Rev. Jeffrey Garrawurra was a teacher. He contributed to the development of Indigenous theology, for First Peoples and the whole Church. He encouraged our young people to grow in their discipleship.

"One of my fondest memories of him was of him sitting on a step at Nunyara chapel in Adelaide, sharing his story and wisdom with young Congress leaders at the National Gathering of Congress youth and young adults."

Three former Presidents attended the Service, Stuart McMillan, Rev. Prof. Andrew Dutney and Rev. Alistair Macrae.

Mr McMillan and former Northern Synod General Secretary Peter Jones spoke of Rev. Garrawurra's generosity.

"Many of us here today have been enriched through our friend's wise perception and deep faith," said Mr McMillan.

"We all can give thanks to God for the blessing of Rev Garrawurra’s life. Our hearts and minds are full with the rich Yolŋu wisdom and Christ-centred life he generously shared with us."

Mr Jones also commented on Rev. Garrawurra's passion 

"Our brother was passionate about educational opportunities for young people in communities," said Mr  Jones.

"He advocated tirelessly for this, particularly for truly bilingual education and for Indigenous teachers and teaching assistants in the classroom."

"Many times he challenged the Church to do more in this matter which he considered critical for the future of First Peoples."

Several speeches from the Service will be made available on the Assembly website in due course.