Brooke Prentis launches Reconciliation Week with a powerful video message on Rethinking Reconciliation, and offers us an invitation to friendship.
Safina Stewart’s Indigenous heritage comes from Wuthathi Country and Mabuiag Island and her non-Indigenous heritage comes from Scotland. She currently lives in Wonthaggi, Victoria. While she holds Bachelor of Education, Safina identifies as a contemporary Indigenous faith artist who uses her art to connect stories across cultures in ways that ask her audiences to consider the “Other”.
How does being a Christian and desiring Reconciliation go together for you?
I don’t think you can separate being a Christian and desiring Reconciliation. How can you separate the hand and its shadow? The reality of Reconciliation can impact every relationship and role we have – whether with other individuals, other groups or with creation itself. God’s desire has always been to heal broken relationships and make things right. He teaches us, in His wisdom, how that can be done and He gives us the ministry of administering his healing through Reconciliation.
What do you hope for our nation?
My hope for the nation is that we would be characterised and known for our generosity and hospitality. Able to welcome and hold hospitality with grace, forgiveness, justice, strength, integrity and power.
When have you seen the broader Australian Church at its best in embodying/living out Reconciliation? What would you like to see?
I remember at Grasstree we were invited to take teams to share our stories, faith and cultural wealth with 10 churches in Sydney. We went to so many different denominations. After everyone returned after we had sharing time about how those services went. What I was struck by was how welcomed all of our emerging and established Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Christian leaders were. They had been welcomed, given a platform to share and were listened to. The responses from each church was incredible. Each of the services were amazing and different, but they all were rich spaces of welcome, honour, humility, and with a heart and willingness to learn in their listening. Some of us were really nervous and uneasy about going to these churches too. But we came away encouraged and empowered. Some of those churches have continued to have contact with the Grasstree teams that visited them, supporting them in their ministries back in their communities. I want to see more of this relationship building and supporting of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Christians, leaders and community.
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Reflect, Pray, Think, Act
"For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Jesus, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross." - Colossians 1:19-20
God is working for the Reconciliation of all things. He has, at great cost to himself, acted to make peace. The future of full Reconciliation is assured - God will make it so. Assured of God’s passion for Reconciliation, pray for change in our nation.
Listen to Brooke Prentis and Rev Dr Geoff Broughton at Surrender 2017 on ‘Embodying Reconciliation: Jesus and the Great Australian Silence’. They discuss how following Jesus requires being a recipient, a receiver of grace, and that meeting Jesus is an invitation into a great reversal. We know that the only hope of salvation is to repent and change our position from privileged and powerful to open-handed receiver. In the same way, this transformed vision of ourselves and our position to Jesus and to this land is needed to energise a life of Reconciliation. If you don't have time to listen to the podcast you can read a summary here.
Safina Stewart’s Indigenous heritage comes from Wuthathi Country (in Far North Queensland) and Mabuiag Island (in the Torres Strait) and her non-Indigenous heritage comes from Scotland. She currently lives in Wonthaggi, Victoria. While she holds Bachelor of Education, Safina identifies as a contemporary Indigenous faith artist who uses her art to connect stories across cultures in ways that ask her audiences to consider the “Other”.
This post is the sixth in our Reconciliation as Friendship series celebrating Aboriginal Christian leaders from the Grasstree Gathering and sharing their perspectives on Reconciliation. Artwork by Jasmin Roberts, used with permission.