|Children in Katherine. © Mal MacCallum/ABM, 2014|
As I draw near to the completion of three years in the role of Reconciliation Coordinator with ABM I reflect on my journey through that time. It has been a privilege to have had the opportunity to grow in understanding about the issues we have as a country due to the colonisation and subsequent land dispossession and general destruction of most of what the First Peoples of Australia enjoyed prior to the invasion.
The Anglican Board of Mission and Church have been involved since the outset. Some good things emerged because of that involvement. Too much though was either passively ignored or worse still agreed to that cannot be left unaddressed by us those who currently make up these organisations.
As Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders emerge, people like Stan Grant, Noel Pearson and Rosemary Kunoth Monks the Anglican Church and its agencies will do well to listen very carefully and choose wisely and prayerfully as opportunities arise to partner, support and speak for the highlighted national issues.
I applaud the developments of Reconciliation Action Plans across increasing numbers of dioceses and parishes. I applaud the ongoing work of the Indigenous theological colleges at Nungalinya and Wontulp Bi Buya. I applaud the emergence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders in the Anglican Church and the ongoing work of Bible translation into Indigenous languages. I applaud increasing levels of awareness and support for Reconciliation matters.
But more, much more needs to be done. Please take time to find out who the First People descendants are in your parish and diocese and get alongside them to hear how they are doing. Take the time to communicate this to the people you have influence with and pray and support the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people you meet. Intergenerational trauma is definitely a fact in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities and the Anglican Church along with its agencies would do well to look more and more into the ongoing impact of this trauma. Finding ways to assist to address this trauma would be a concrete reconciliation partnership locally, across dioceses and nationally.