What did Walking for Reconciliation mean for you in 2000?
In the year 2000, Charles and I, alongside our eight children were deeply engaged in ministry with the Presbyterian Church in Logan City. Logan was and still is a place of strong Aboriginal community and multicultural diversity. For Aunty Jean Phillips, Logan City has long been a significant place of family, community and ministry to many needy Aboriginal people. It was more than 40 years ago since Aunty Jean first called us to ‘come on the journey’, so we were blessed to call Logan home for 8 1/2 years. Aunty Jean‘s relatives, particularly the O’Chins, the Greens and the Nadens and their families partnered with us along the way at Logan PC. They won many hearts with their outreaching love and empathy for the poorest of the poor in our church family. It was a joy to walk with them. During this time as we journeyed together fLogan PC began to reflect the rich cultural diversity and heartbeat of Logan City: recently arrived refugee and poor migrant families alongside our Aboriginal brothers and sisters. There was a deep sense of being reconciled to one another and to Jesus through His precious blood shed for our forgiveness and healing.
What has changed in the last 20 years?
While I was not on the Bridge Walk in 2000, quite literally, Aunty Jean Phillips is like a bridge, imaging her Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. We have been blessed as a family to walk alongside Aunty, and many other First Nations People like her, past and present, mostly in Qld, WA, NSW, Victoria and NT. Tirelessly and fearlessly they act for justice, creating a bridge connecting our worlds. A bridge that refuses to budge to injustice and ignorance in our land.
What is your vision of Reconciliation for the next 20 years?"
It means prayerfully working together through the power of God’s Spirit to remove the barriers that Aboriginal people experience in the church and in every aspect of life so that First Nations People can take their rightful and unique place of leadership in this land. To see God’s Kingdom come and His will be done in and through our Nation and it’s unique First People.In 2000 my family moved from Tenterfield, NSW to Logan City, QLD. My husband and I with our six children settled there in ministry in a Presbyterian Church serving a very diverse community where we were in community with Aboriginal families, refugees and newly emigrated people from Cook Islands. Charles and I were so blessed to work in ministry with Aboriginal Christian Leader, Aunty Nellie O’Chin and her children, Faith and also Glenny Naden who cared for and taught my children in Sunday school.
I witnessed how the O’Chins and the Nadens reached out and loved the refugee families who fled war torn countries like the Sudan, and also those who moved here from the Cook Islands. These groups were very poor in spirit and had so very little to live on. The O’Chin and Naden families just loved them and I learned so much from them. It was during this year that I met Aunty Jean Phillips. One of my earliest memories was of her cradling my youngest child Rebecca. With Aunty Nellie O’ Chin, Aunty Jean Phillips, Aunty Glenny Naden, Reconciliation has meant walking together and ministering together.