Sydney Anglicans’ church parliament, the Synod, has apologised for “past failures in relationships with this nation’s First Peoples” and urges reconciliation through every church developing an Action Plan. These plans should “note the challenges provided” in “Australia – whose land? A call for recompense” a key sermon from 2009 by Peter Adam that calls for recognition that we carry out our ministry and live on stolen land.
“For, as Paul preached at Athens, ‘God…made from one ancestor all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and allotted the times of their existence, and boundaries of the places where they would live.’ Adam wrote.
“So all lands belongs to God, and he distributed them to many nations, setting the time and places where they would live. The land is God’s land. To respect and honour God is to know that he made Australia, and to treat the existing indigenous peoples who were here in 1788 with respect. The appalling theory of terra nullius treated people as if they had no significance. This was an insult to them, and an offence against God their maker.”
In purchasing property the Synod resolved that the Diocese should prioritise the needs of the Sydney Anglican Indigenous People’s Ministry Committee. That is, to buy properties that reflect the cultural needs of First Nations peoples for their use.
A second motion calls on each parish to research and recognise the Indigenous history of their location and the area’s indigenous community.
A new motion has been foreshadowed for the Synod from Larissa Minniecon of Scarred Tree Ministries. It “welcomes the conversation regarding the establishment a First Nations Voice in the Constitution,” recognising the conversation “to be an essential step in reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander peoples”. (reflects a minor change in Synod0.
It asks the Synod to encourage “church members to give generous consideration to the case to vote ‘Yes’ to the referendum question of whether the Consitution should establish a First Nations Voice, once the details have been made clear.”
UPDATE: The meeting welcomed Minniecon with warm applause. “God’s standard is justice,” she said in moving the motion.
“55 years ago I would not be able to stand before. 55 years ago I would not have been considered part of the Australian Population. This is the power of the 67 referendum.
“Today the Uluru Statement of the Heart is part of a powerful conversation. Today we are not protesting from the street. we have voices in Parliament. we have voices in the church.
“A quote from the Uluru Statement ‘We are the most incarcerated people on the planet … There ought to be hope for our people’ My people are in crisis.”
“I am asking the Synod if they are courageous enough to have this conversation with us. I believe truth telling should begin in the Church.”
David Clarke of Hoxton Park moved an amendment to replace Minniecon’s plea for generous consideration by asking the Sydney Anglican Indigenous People’s Ministry Commitee toand the Social Issues Committee to advise Synod members of what they should do in the new year.
Dean Sandy Grant pointed out that Sydney Anglicans have a history of political involvement – in response to Clarke’s statement that “we don’t tell people how to vote.”
Michael Duckett of MacArthur Indigenous Church said in terms of the Uluru statement he could not support something unless he is 100% for it.
“I stand with the 73 per cent of Australian aboriginal people who are Christians who belive tin Jesis christ our lord. this is about voice and trust. We hold the fate of our people in our hands. the church is the place that we need to have the conversation. not the Governmnet. I hope that this synod will be the one that leads the charge.”
The motion was carried unamended.