Justice for First Nationswalking together toward a better future
Later this year (2023) Australians will vote in a referendum “to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.”
We encourage Baptists churches to play a constructive role in the public discussion of this. This page includes links to resources that help churches and church leaders do this.
Explore the Uluru Statement from the Heart
Read the Uluru Statment from the Heart and the Australian Baptist Ministries National Council call to churches. Everything You Need to Know About the Uluru Statement from the Heart by Megan Davis & George Williams provides excellent background and context.
It can be accessed online, downloaded (PDF file), or purchased in print format. A leaders guide is also available. Published by the Anglican Board of Mission.
Some Important Dates
Change the Heart Prayer Service
Week leading up to Jan 26
Join Christian First Nations leaders in lament for the injustices experienced by First Nations and in petition for change in our hearts.
National Reconciliation Week
May 27-Jun 3
This is “a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.” (Reconciliation Australia). A great opportunity to incorporate this into your worship and to encourage congregation members to join in local events.
Week starting First Sunday in July
A week “to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples” (NAIDOC website). Another opportunity to incorporate this into your worship and to encourage congregation members to join in local events
Some Other Resources
Sharing Our Stories
A Four Part Small Group Program
A small group discussion tool that employs video, biblical reflection and discussion questions to help participants consider the impacts of history on First Nations people since colonisation. Provided by Australians Together.
The First Australians
A Seven Part Documentary
A 7-part documentary series by First Nations film-maker Rachel Perkins exploring the impacts of colonisation on Australia’s First Nations. Available through SBS On Demand.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are the most incarcerated people on earth. In this 1.5 hour documentary First Nations people, experts and academics tell the story. Available through SBS On Demand.
The Australian Wars
A Three Part Documentary
A 3-part documentary series by First Nations film-maker Rachel Perkins exploring the wars between British colonisers and the First Nations. Available through SBS On Demand.
Some Helpful Websites
From the Heart
“From the Heart is a campaign for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament that is enshrined in the Constitution. It is now time for The Australian people to come together through a referendum and make this fair and practical change.”
“The Uluru Dialogue is bound to the sentiment of the Uluru Statement from the Heart and its ambitions for a better Australia for everyone. We are committed to seeing a constitutionally recognised First Nations Voice and the establishment of a Makarrata Commission to oversee a process of agreement-making and truth-telling…The Uluru Dialogue is based at the Indigenous Law Centre, UNSW Sydney. “
“By listening to the voices of First Nations people, we help non-Indigenous people learn the true story of our shared history, understand how it’s still having an impact today and imagine new ways to live together more respectfully.”
“Common Grace is an online Australian Christian movement for justice. We exist to inspire and organise Australian Christians to think, speak and act like Jesus for a more just world.”
Change the Record
“We’re Australia’s only First Nations led coalition of legal, health and family violence experts. We campaign to end the incarceration of, and family violence against, aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”