Walking and talking respectfully together
Diane Torrens (Aunty Diane) Congress Chair NSW/ACT paid respects to the Ku-Ring-Gai people and shared greetings from Congress UAICC.
Aunty Diane said, “I’ve had the privilege to go on three of the Murray Darling Tour, we did a Bundjalung tour and I’ve had the honour to do a “Welcome to Country” so proudly on the Bundjalung tour with 52 people who came on the tour.”
Ray Minniecon, resource worker with Congress, spoke about the work and goals of Congress. First putting things in context he said, “This is 2017 it was 50 years ago you voted to allow Aboriginal people to be counted in the census. And to remove the words Aboriginal so the federal government could take control of indigenous affairs. So we are not very old. We’ve had to fast track ourselves in this thing we call Australia.”
“50 years ago our church sadly didn’t exist. Policies existed to exclude us from you and you from us only 51 years ago,” said Mr Minniecon.
He said there are wide gaps that the church needs to fill including more Aboriginal theologians to achieve the incredible challenges we face in the community as we seek to build communities.
Working with Rev. Ivan Roberts, his friendship, wisdom, love commitment and passion dealing with many complex issues was acknowledged.
In terms of the future for Congress “we have been able to developed the regional council into and executive council and make the decisions necessary for the future,” said Mr Minniecon.
What Congress is doing and plans to do, falls into three areas;
- planting churches alongside or within congregations
- grow our leaders and provide scholarship support for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Students in study of Theology and Christian Ministry
- encourage young people to take their rightful place in the church of God, to build culture and skills
“We ask you to come along side us to. Let’s talk together about the challenges we have,” said Mr Minniecon.