This January, Aunty Jean Phillips, in partnership with Common Grace, invites Australian Churches to hold services of acknowledgement, lament and prayer as we approach January 26th – a day of mourning for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters.
The concept for these services was developed by Aunty Jean Phillips, one of our great Aboriginal Christian Leaders. Aunty Jean has been educating Australian Christians for many decades on the true history of this land we now call 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 this land, both the 60,000 plus years of custodianship and stewardship by over 300 nations of Aboriginal peoples, as well as, the true history since 1770 and 1788, a history that hasn’t been taught in our schools until the last couple of years, and includes the truth of theft, rape, massacres, and genocide, they are left with a sense of confusion and question where to turn to.
Aunty Jean will tell you that “the cross has all the answers”, and so Aunty Jean commenced a prayer service in Brisbane. The first service had about 30 people. The services have been gaining momentum and last year the Brisbane service had nearly 200 people attend. This year in 2017 Aunty Jean is holding three services in the Brisbane area.
Aunty Jean with the support of Common Grace saw that it was important that these services were held in other cities around Australia and we have aimed to have a service of acknowledgement, lament and prayer in every capital city in 2017 – symbolically showing that Aunty Jean and Common Grace are calling our nation to prayer.
These services are a way that non-Aboriginal people can come to learn and acknowledge the true history of our nation, to lament the present day disadvantages and injustices facing our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters and to pray to our great Creator Spirt, Lord God, Papa Jesus, for “a nation built on truth, justice, love and hope”.
This is also a way to acknowledge that regardless of the politics of “Australia Day”, that for non-Aboriginal Australians to acknowledge that Aboriginal peoples are hurting, grieving and mourning on this day, and as Christians we must love our neighbour as ourselves.