National Conference looked to honour First Peoples as sovereign
Fifteen delegates from the Synod of NSW and the ACT including the Moderator Rev. Myung Hwa Park attended the UCA President’s National Ministers Conference in early July.
The four-day conference in Darwin challenged members and leaders of the Uniting Church on how we can actively honour First Peoples as sovereign and live up to the 1994 covenant made with the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC). You can read the covenant here.
The conference was opened with, James Parfitt of the Larrakia Nation, delivering a welcome to country and the Independent Member for Nhulunbuy in the NT Assembly, Yingiya Mark Guyula MLA sharing a powerful address.
Moderator Rev. Myung Hwa Park said that the conference was a show of commitment by the church and ministers to the concerns of the nation’s First Peoples.
“[The conference] makes us to reflect on who we are as Australians and who we are as a uniquely National Church today,” said Rev. Park.
Oatley Uniting Church minister, Rev Haloti T Kailahi also attended the conference and found learning the facts about the Doctrine of Discovery as a profound revelation for him.
“In order to understand the conversation about Treaty and Sovereignty, one must know the truth about how this land called Australia was stolen and invaded without invitation nor permission from the rightful owner the First Peoples,” he said.
Rev Kailahi hopes all church members and councils learn about the doctrine.
“The Uniting Church needs to honour those who were here first before colonisation, then together both First Peoples and Second Peoples can chart a new course with the right interpretation of the Good News of Jesus Christ for all,” said Rev Kailahi.
Along with discussions on sovereignty and treaty the conference also touched on climate, reconciliation and the theology of the land. The conference was an ongoing commitment to reconciliation with the nation’s First Peoples and was also an opening for the week-long celebrations of NAIDOC week.
You can view the photo gallery from the conference here.