Lead your church community to pursue justice for the flourishing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
Acknowledgement of Country in your services
For churches who have just started exploring Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander justice, introducing an 'Acknowledgement of Country' into your services can be a great way to start that journey with your congregation.
While a Welcome to Country can only be performed by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Traditional Owner of your local area, an Acknowledgement of Country which can be performed by anyone.
Acknowledgement of Country is a respectful and honouring practice that acknowledges the Aboriginal peoples who were placed by God as Traditional Custodians on the lands you are on.
Many people are used to hearing set wording, but we are reminded by our Aboriginal Christian Leaders that an Acknowledgement of Country is an important opportunity to speak to people's hearts, grounding ourselves in place and context and helping build genuine relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
To help you develop your own Acknowledgement to Country, our Aboriginal Christian Leaders have provided guiding questions and key steps to sit with and think about as you reflect on the history of these lands, what Aboriginal people have taught you, and what you know about your own Traditional Custodians of your local area. Our hope is that these guidelines will give you both inspiration and confidence to deliver an uplifting Acknowledgement of Country with honour and depth for your community event or gathering.
Your church in action
It is through Jesus’ church that tremendous change is possible. Your church can help justice roll down like a river. There are many ways throughout your church gatherings and throughout the year that you can listen deeply to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Christians, to learn about injustices facing First Nations people, and to take action as a faith community to pursue justice. Below is a list of the many ways Common Grace supports your church to be active in your faith:
Listen to the Heart
In 2023 Australia has a once in a generation opportunity to move forward on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander justice. Together, we face a significant moment as a country to vote YES on a referendum for a constitutionally enshrined Indigenous Voice to Parliament. Churches have a crucial role to play in supporting the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and advocating for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament and for justice. Pledge your commitment to join us now in speaking up for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Justice in 2023 at this crucial time for action.
The Common Grace movement encourages churches and faith communities to reclaim William Cooper’s Aboriginal Sunday each year on the Sunday before January 26. We provide a free Church Resource Toolkit, developed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Christian Leaders, to equip churches and faith communities to listen to the call of First Nations injustice and act in solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. These resources help inspire you to learn, engage, pray, and be equipped to take action as a community together leading up to January 26.
National Reconciliation Week
National Reconciliation Week runs from 27 May to 3 June every year. The 27 May date represents the anniversary of the 1967 Referendum that effectively gave Aboriginal peoples full citizenship rights by finally being counted in the national census. The 3 June date is the anniversary of the 1992 Mabo decision that effectively overturned the lie our country had lived of ‘Terra Nullius’ – ‘empty land’ or ‘land belonging to no one’. Common Grace provides churches and faith communities with resources during this time to help you learn about our shared histories and explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.
We invite your church to pray with us for the flourishing of all people and all creation. Specifically, we’d welcome your prayers for any of our current campaigns for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander justice
If you’d like to share a prayer or blessing from one of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Christian Leaders with your congregation, we invite you to do so, while acknowledging the writer. Here are some written prayers.
Click here for a list of theological resources - including papers, podcasts, or books - that your church may find helpful in exploring First Nations justice from a theological perspective.
Through partnership, Common Grace will help to inspire, equip and mobilise your church community to pursue justice and do good.
As a movement led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Christian Leaders, Common Grace is uniquely positioned to help the Australian Church be led and guided by the wisdom of First Nations Christian leaders in pursuing justice on these lands.
By upholding the voices, stories and cultural knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, your church can begin to pursue friendship and reconciliation.
Find out more about Church Partnership with Common Grace.