In 2022, we celebrate the 10th Anniversary of #ChangeTheHeart.
Change The Heart has become an important moment for us to gather together before January 26 each year.
Since a small gathering of people in 2012 were called together in prayer by Aboriginal Christian Leader Aunty Jean Phillips and Lea Maslen, this moment has grown to become an important time for our nation to come together in prayer as we approach January 26 — a day of mourning for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters.
From 2017 these services have been held in every state and territory with the support of Brooke Prentis and the Common Grace movement. In light of the challenges of navigating COVID-19 in 2021, these multiple prayer series turned into one national moment — a simulcast prayer service shared across ACCTV, web and radio bringing us together to pray in unison to #ChangeTheHeart of our nation.
Aunty Jean has been educating Australian Christians for decades on the true history of these lands now called Australia. Aunty Jean has said to many Australian Christians, “Your history is our history, our history is your history.”
When Australian Christians come to the realisation of the true history of Australia — the over 65,000 years of custodianship and stewardship by over 300 nations of Aboriginal peoples, and the true history since colonisation — hearts and minds are unsettled and the question arises "What do I do?".
As Aunty Jean will tell you “the cross has all the answers” and “prayer is just so important”. These services have been a rallying way that non-Indigenous peoples can come to learn and acknowledge the true history of our nation, to lament the injustices and present-day disadvantages facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters and to pray, for “a nation built on truth, justice, love and hope”.
The importance of acknowledging
When we acknowledge something, we accept its truth and existence and recognise that it is of importance or significance. Acknowledgment is an act of noticing something and honouring it with our attention.
Jesus regularly acknowledged others, turning his gaze towards them and giving them his full attention. He acknowledged the presence of those who his society deemed unworthy and those who lived in ways that made others feel awkward. He acknowledged when people acted with kindness and faith, even if these acts were outside the social norms. And in particular, he acknowledged those who had experienced pain and oppression, extending compassion and love.
Common Grace is determined to acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who are our First Nations Peoples. We commit to acknowledging them privately, in our prayers, and as we seek to grow in understanding, and publicly, by standing alongside them, remembering our past, and finding a way forward together.