We were planning for the next 6 months of Sundays. Without our minister, a small group, responsible for allocating the service leading and preaching roster, filled the calendar and I scored the 19th January.

Little did I know that this Sunday, the Sunday before Australia day is Aboriginal Sunday. I did not know that Aboriginal leader William Cooper in 1940, requested Australian churches each year on that day, to call for citizenship rights for Aboriginal people.

Why did I not know of this day? Had the many churches I attended over my 60 years of Christian life not observed this day? Had I been asleep on that day every year? I do not know why but now that I have responsibility for leading this coming Sunday, Aboriginal Sunday 2020, I am certainly aware.

I am aware that individually and as a church we need to listen to the First Peoples and hear their stories of hurt, prejudices, dispossession and injustices experienced. To hear how their past traumas, is still affecting their present lives.

I am aware that individually and as a church we need to re-examine the truth of past stories about the First Peoples, told by Governments, the church and Second Peoples: and continue to be told today. We need to recognise, identify and name inner prejudices and lies arising from these stories.

I am aware that individually and as a Church, unless we confront these inner prejudices and lies, the behaviours and attitudes of our society will continue to perpetrate injustices on our First Peoples brothers and sisters.

I am aware that individually and as a Church we need to lament our past actions and inactions that have caused hurt and injustices to our First peoples. We need to mourn together. We need to pray together.

This coming Sunday, together with my church’s congregation, we will be listening, re-examining, confronting, lamenting and praying towards healing in our communities and our nation.

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Loraine Holley is married with 2 adult sons. She currently worships at the Engadine Uniting Church. Retired now, Loraine was a science academic in the field of medical physics/biomedical engineering.