The Uniting Church in Australia and the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) are asking members to give generously to an appeal for a new church in Mapoon on Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula.
“The 14th Assembly committed to help build a new church in the former Presbyterian mission where local Aboriginal people were forcibly removed between 1963 and 1964”, said Uniting Church president, Stuart McMillan.
“Building a new church is an important act of reconciliation in the spirit of our covenanting relationship with the UAICC.
“Today in 2016 we have the opportunity to help heal a historic wrong and give witness to the sincerity of our commitment to reconciliation.
“I encourage Uniting Church members to get behind the Mapoon Church Appeal.”
Mapoon was established as a Presbyterian mission in 1891. The Queensland Government forced its closure in 1963, burning down the Mapoon people’s homes and demolishing their church. Former residents eventually resettled in the area and restored their link with the land. In 1990 former Uniting Church President Sir Ronald Wilson apologised to the Mapoon community for the UCA predecessor church’s failure to do more to stop such a flagrant human rights abuse.
Traditional owners and the Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council have identified a possible site for the new church.
Mapoon resident and Calvary Presbytery member, Marda Pitt, says a new church is a much-needed addition in her community.
“Church services in the community are currently held in the covered area of the Mapoon school. People in Old Mapoon need a proper place to worship.”
“We want a place our elders and our young people to feel the love of God to heal the hurt,” said Marda.
“The Mapoon community is making a space for Christ. It’s our job now to step up and help them do that,” adds UAICC National Chairperson Rev Dennis Corowa.
“As well as a centre for Christ’s healing ministry, a new church would also be a symbol of Christian commitment to healing and justice.”
Donations can be made at http://uaicc.org.au/mapoon