Abbey Sim reflects on engaging, listening deeply and continuing the conversation with Aboriginal Christian Leaders.
Along with many countries across this beautiful, God gifted world, we share a history of violence, greed and atrocities. Typically, humans have played the blame game and twisted truths with a warped new story to cover the shame. Confronted with this reality of deep injustice and trauma from generation to generation, I’m left with a sense of overwhelm. What can I do? How can I make a difference? Can I make a difference?
Berowra Baptist Church hosted our first #ChangeTheHeart prayer service in January 2019 after hearing Aunty Jean Philip, Senior Aboriginal Christian Leader, calling for Australia to come together in prayer before 26 January. We invited the local churches, the local politicians, the Berowra community with an editorial in the local paper, prepared a supper, put out the chairs, wondered if we put out too many chairs, hoped for some people show up and we waited. To our utter amazement 140 people attended and participated. It was such an honour to host and have Aunty Jean Phillips with us and lead us that night!
#ChangeTheHeart does just that. The service takes your heart on a journey. One where your heart aches with despair, with outrage, with sorrow, with grief.
The journey is painful, the journey is honest, the journey is real.
Aunty Jean Phillips doesn’t allow the journey to end there though. Her leadership and message always points your heart to the cross of Jesus, to our hope in Jesus. Jesus is the one who will #ChangeTheHeart of our nation, our leaders, our Churches, ourselves.
Participating in the #ChangeTheHeart services has been a rich experience for Berowra Baptist Church. Brooke Prentis calls for reconciliation to look like and be like friendship. For our community as we’ve engaged on this path of friendship with Aboriginal peoples we have also engaged on a path of friendship with all peoples. The opportunity to share these services with our other local churches and Christian leaders has brought a strength among us. We’ve put aside some of our denominational differences and joined together in our love for Jesus and our love for others.
Being willing to be led by Aboriginal Christian leaders and to listen deeply has blessed our community in more ways than we could have imagined.
We are all the richer for growing in friendship with those around us and keeping our eyes fixed and our hope planted in Jesus.
We hosted our first #ChangeTheHeart service wanting our community to be a part of making a difference to our nation in changing people’s hearts towards love and reconciliation with Aboriginal peoples. The unexpected blessing for our church has been the friendship and unity we have found with other communities in Berowra.
Will you hear the call and watch #ChangeTheHeart 2022?
Sign up and let Aunty Jean Phillips know you will be watching and joining in prayer on Tuesday 25 January 2022, 7:30pm AEDT here: www.commongrace.org.au/hearthecall
Further promotional resources and an Order of Service will be provided to help you participate and engage with #ChangeTheHeart 2022 once you have signed up.
Photos of Berowra Baptist Church hosting a #ChangeTheHeart prayer service in 2019, with Aunty Jean Phillips speaking.
Reverend Christine McPherson is the Senior Pastor of Berowra Baptist Church. Christine has a passion for sharing about the good news of Jesus, what God is revealing of Himself through the Bible, and taking action in partnering with God in bringing about restoration in our relationships with God, others and the land. Berowra Baptist Church is a Common Grace church partner.