Wednesday, May 02, 2007

May 27 What it could mean? Letter to the AC editor

Dear Editor,
May 27 What it could mean?
Doug Nicholls,pastor and black activist,stood before a Sydney crowd(1) on April 29 1957, and announced the referendum campaign.
For the next ten years,Nicholls was in every street demonstration,deputation and public meeting,agitating,promoting and demanding a referendum on Aboriginal recognition and rights.
May 27 2007, marks the fortieth anniversary of that referendum(2).
I suspect that Nicholls preaching today in one of our churches,would still be angry with our feeble efforts to ensure the recognition and well being of Aboriginal communities.
Is it not possible on this day, for Churches of Christ to commit themselves, to renewed support and solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders?
Could we, for example, commit ourselves to:
*ensuring that the legacy and ministry of Doug Nicholls and white leaders such as Stan Davey,are recognised and remembered,
*providing targeted Indigenous employment and training opportunities in our aged care homes and services,
*encouraging congregations to ensure the effectiveness of the stolen wages campaigns(3),
*cooperating with Aboriginal communities in their celebrations, such as the Long Walk(4) in Victoria,
*standing with,and supporting the continuing struggle for land rights,
*funding the telling and publishing of the stories of Aboriginal women in our congregations,
*organising "faith and culture" young adult exchanges and placements in indigenous communities,such as the UCA's F.A.C.E. program,(5)
*encouraging partnerships between urban ethnic - both white and overseas born -congregations, and Aboriginal congregations and communities,
*providing a visible sign on our congregational and conference buildings that we recognise the land of their tribe and clan,
*allocating a proportion of congregational and conference departmental budgets, to the well being and support of Aboriginal congregations and communities,and finally,
*actively promoting and participating in the events and celebrations around the Day of Reconciliation(Sorry Day May 26);May 27-June 3 Reconciliation Week(6),and May 27 the fortieth anniversary of the 1967 Referendum.
Nicholls was also one of us.
Is it not possible for us to continue his ministry with a renewed commitment and passion?
Alan Matheson